Engineering vs. Ministry – Part 2

In my engineering job, I focused on solving problems to create designs. People only complained to me when it was my machine that wasn’t working. I had to spend my time fixing my mistakes and improving the machines that I was designing.

In ministry, people complain to me about everything. The pastor typically knows about most of the problems and conflicts and disagreements and break-ups in the church. You get to see the not so pleasant side of church life. At times it can be overwhelming, but in those times, you have to focus on all the good things that God is doing. I also have to realize that I cannot solve everything. Everyone won’t always get along, feelings will get hurt and people will get mad. My job is to keep pointing people to Jesus, knowing that He is the one that can solve their problems.

Ministry is messy, more so than I expected. But when you see life transformation take place all around you, it makes all the mess worth it.


I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 28 years, and we have three adult children.

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3 Responses

  1. dsrowles says:

    I think you ment to say “I cannot solve everthing”, “knowing that He is the one that can solve their problems”,

    Good thoughts and yes we are a messy people.

    Doug R

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks for catching my typo. That one really changed the meaning. That’s what I get for posting after midnight.

  3. Gordon R. Vaughan says:

    Hi Mike, I ran across your Twitter looking for folks who are interested in homeschooling. I’ve started one on the subject at

    Let me know if I should add you.

    I’m an engineer, too, so science and faith is something that has long interested me. It’s no surprise ministry can get pretty messy.

    I guess you could say that the more uncertainty and the more “right” answers there can be, the messier things can get. Math is pretty clean – usually just one right answer -then science, engineering. By the time you get to business there’s already lots of unknowns and possible right answers. I guess even more so with ministry.

    It’s a different thought process, for sure. I think of the example of swimming in ocean waves vs. a still pool. It must be hard to tell how much progress you’re making a lot of times, and if you’ve REALLY solved a problem.

    It’s a tough job, but that just means it’s ever so important to have some of our best people on it!

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