More Than 50 Years of Pastoral Ministry

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

So, what do you want to be when you grow up? That’s a question we have all heard at one time or another, probably when we were young and still riding a tricycle or playing with our dolls. Teachers and counselors in high school ask about our dreams and plans for college and life after college, just to get a handle on how to lead us, as students, through the classes and courses that we would need in order to reach our goal. Sometimes, we know exactly what we want to be when we grow up. Sometimes, we need to sign that Document of Intent to get a tuition break for the ministry to be totally sure.

Pictured here, you will see a man who has been one of God’s faithful servants since before he rode a bicycle – and we won’t talk about the dolls. Bernard Ansorge attended St. John’s College in Winfield, KS, while it was still a 4-year academy, 2-year college for students interested in church work. After graduating from St. John’s, he went to Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne and then to the seminary in St. Louis. His first congregation was a mission field church that he planted in Jackson, MS, where he grew and experienced the life of the church in the early ’60s. In 1969, he was called to Ascension in Huntsville, AL, where he has been ministering to the people for the past 51 years.

Suffice it to say, he loves his calling. This past fall, he baptized his great-grandson, Alexander James. He has mentored four vicars in four years, all of whom have (or will) become excellent pastors in their own congregations.

And if you ask him, now, at the age of 82, what does he want to do when he grows even older? He wants to continue to serve until he’s 100. He’ll reconsider his options, then.