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Making The Connection

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Making The Connection

By Adam Miller

Making the Connection

As I crossed the finish line, I was thinking about what I learned in terms of racing and ministry. Any ministry is an endurance race, but this is especially true of bivocational pastors.

First, when you are participating in a long endurance race, physical or spiritual, preparation is paramount.

Second, endurance is fueled by the encouragement of a team. You can probably endure the race by yourself, but it makes a huge difference to have people to encourage, inspire and motivate you along the way. In ministry, this is absolutely essential.

Third, I can’t overemphasize the importance of a healthy nutritional plan. This race is long so the proper intake of fuel (food/drink) is essential to reaching the finish line. Spiritually speaking there’s a great correlation. You’re not going to have the strength to do what God has called you to do if you don’t have the right nutrition.

I also learned that you don’t run endurance races on feelings, you have to keep going whether you feel great or not. If you wait until you feel good to prepare for the race you will only train about one day a week. While I endured a long race, 14-plus hours, bivocational pastors experience long days every day. For them it’s early mornings and late nights. It’s not about how you feel; it’s about what you’re called to. I’m sure there are days many bivocational pastors are tired and just want to throw in the towel, but their calling and commitment inspires them through the day to keep running the Gospel race until they cross the finish line.

What a privilege to have run in their honor! And it’s an even greater honor to serve alongside them as we penetrate lostness in North America!

–Tim Dowdy

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — It took pastor Tim Dowdy more than a year of training before he looked out over the Gulf of Mexico ready to brave it for a swim.

Members of his church, Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga., had joined him on the beach to cheer him on.

The waves were choppier and the water colder than he’d expected, and he was about to swim further than he ever had.

By day’s end, Nov. 3, 2012, a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon run would put Dowdy’s mind and body to the test for almost 15 hours.

It would be a meaningful feat, no matter his reason for doing it.

But Dowdy wasn’t staring at the expanse of water just to prove he could finish the 140-mile Ironman Florida triathlon. The 51-year-old pastor and his 25-year-old son, Micah, were in Panama City sending a message to Southern Baptist bivocational pastors.

“The water’s a little chilly today, but it’s warm outside so hopefully they’ll balance each other out,” said Dowdy, as the crowd of competitors gathered at the start gate. “Bivocational pastors, this is for you. I hope you’re praying for me. I’m going to float on the prayers of people today. Thanks for all that you’re doing.”

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