I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Northwestern, and I was fully engaged in my classes. However, on Sundays I always went to church and was involved as much as possible. For about the first couple of years in college, I attended a small community church in Golden Valley, Minnesota, about ten miles from college. I was going there before I started college, so there was no reason to make a change. The pastor wasn’t that good at preaching, but he was quite friendly and I liked him. The thing I liked most about him was his commitment to prayer. I remember going to the men’s prayer meeting, which was attended mostly by the church elders and deacons—and me. As you can imagine, going to that group made me feel important, and they really made me feel welcome.
The pastor, Pastor McDonald, was eager to help me fulfill my internship requirements for college. When I told him that I was interested in evangelism, he set me loose canvasing the neighborhood. That was kind of fun, and I think I remember getting into some spiritual conversations, as well as distributing material for the church. Also, as part of my internship, I preached two or three sermons. I was excited about it; but truthfully, I’m not sure I was that true to the Scriptures. I would get better. And I did. Each time was a little better than the last.
Also, totally separate from Golden Valley Community church, Northwestern gave me the chance to preach at a few very small churches. It was kind of scary, but also invigorating and a faith building experience. Most of those churches were way out in the sticks and it took me a couple hours to get there. None of them had more than 30 people in attendance, and they were always very welcoming and glad to see a real preacher come—me! To tell you the truth, they were so eager to get a preacher, I could have said almost anything, true or not, and they would have accepted it.
During my last year or so of college I started going to another church. I can’t remember why I changed, but anyway, it was a lot different. Oh, one reason I decided to go there was because I didn’t have to drive. There was a church bus that brought a group of us there and back. The church, then Edina Baptist, was huge. It had a very good pastor and his preaching was excellent. I immediately got involved in the singles group, and I also joined the choir—great fun! Those were the days. God was giving me some great spiritual teaching. What I wasn’t getting at Northwestern College, I was getting at that church. My feet were being firmly planted, and I was also enjoying it.
One thing that was lacking in my life at that time was establishing any close relationships. I don’t know why, but that was something that I just didn’t catch on to, or that I wasn’t taught. I seemed to be so involved with my studies that relationships with people was sort of forgotten. Sadly, that is still true of me today. I have always been a loner. I can be friendly with people, but establishing close connections is something else.
Because I was around the opposite sex so much at Northwestern, I became more and more interested in, or thinking about marriage. So, I awkwardly attempted to make some female connections. I had a few dates with Sally that went nowhere. I mean, she was a real hottie (as they say); but I could tell, she wasn’t that interested in me. Linda, on the other hand was quite interested in me, but I didn’t find her attractive.
Then there was Elise. I was on and off dating her for a long time. I really liked her, and I felt a real love for her. In fact, we were even engaged for a time, but I felt I had to break it off, because I just knew she wasn’t fully committed to me, she wasn’t being honest with me all the time. In a way it was a strange and stressful relationship. So that’s my sad story.
That’s all I will write about during my time at Northwestern. In my next blog I will write a little about my time at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary.