Pastor Sam Shick in his office at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Oviedo, FL. Behind him are sketches of the important churches in his life.

Today I spent a few minutes with Pastor Sam Shick to discuss his journey and what it’s like to be a pastor.  We’re interviewing some of our called staff in honor of the LCMS Set Apart to Serve initiative to recruit church workers. We ask our parents, grandparents, pastors, professional church workers, Sunday school teachers, and others in our congregation to help influence children to consider serving the church in these sacred and joyful vocations.

How did you find St Luke’s?  I found St. Luke’s through the roulette that is the vicarage placement process. St. Luke’s has been a vicarage congregation for 40 years now and I was vicar number 37. 

Where are you from? I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio. I moved to Oviedo after getting the call from St. Luke’s. I lived in Michigan for a little bit and St. Louis during school.

What are your God-given gifts, things you’re really good at? I think I’m a good speaker. But that wasn’t always the case. I remember my first few speeches I bombed pretty, pretty horribly. Around eighth and ninth grade is when I decided I really wanted to go into pastoral ministry. It was something that I worked at a lot. Along the way I started giving speeches about Jesus and things I really believed in. I think God gave me a gift of being a little bit more eloquent and a little bit better of a communicator than when I was giving speeches about Huckleberry Finn and stuff like that.

What’s the largest audience you’ve preached to and how many people on average do you preach to on Sunday?  I usually preach in front of 150 (Pastor Schick preaches at two services every Sunday:).  The most I’ve ever talked in front of was around 1000 at an LWML Conference in Michigan.

When it’s your first time speaking somewhere, how do you get through it? My prayer every Sunday is just that, that I wouldn’t speak to glorify myself, but I would speak to glorify God. I think that helps me to get out of the way, what God’s doing and recognize, even if I mess up and it’s a colossal failure, I think God will use it for His good. And that’s the comfort that I take in the middle of all of that – it doesn’t depend on me. God’s not waiting for me to do the work to save his people, God’s gonna save His people.

After all these years do you still get real nervous?  That’s a good question. I still get nervous when I’m talking in front of a new group.  The first time I preached at St. Luke’s in the Sanctuary I was very nervous. The first time I went to the Generations worship gathering, I was very nervous. Same with Fuel. Now that I’ve preached in all of the services and talked to all of the people, which that’s really the bigger thing for me, if I know the people, it makes it a little bit more comfortable.

What’s a day like in the life of a pastor?  The day in the life of a pastor is one of the most atypical days of any occupation. I usually start the day before I come here, with a short devotional time and a little bit of prayer. Then I’m driving Simon to daycare and sometimes my devotional time continues with him as I’m listening to scriptures or a podcast. At the office, I join staff devotions with the whole school staff. Afterwards, it’s usually a little bit of email time for me which is not my favorite part of being a pastor, but it’s necessary and good to be connected with people. I usually find a little bit of time throughout the day to do more devotions and intense study in the Scriptures. There’s a lot of meeting with people and meeting with people who have struggled with things, meeting with people who can’t come to church and bringing them communion. Ultimately, all of the people I meet with, it’s a really cool opportunity to either build the ministry and kingdom of God or just to bring it to be able to bring people the gospel and tell them about Jesus. It’s funny how that usually ends up informing my sermon at the end of the week, something I’ve learned from places that God has put me throughout the week.

The Shick Family. Pastor Shick’s wife, Alex, is a Deaconess & Director at Redeeming Life Outreach Ministries.

You mentioned intense study time in the Scriptures, what amount of time do you try to get in each day?  I like to have two hours every day. In the mornings, I try to do an hour and I find it harder now that our baby is here. I used to get an hour consistently. Sometimes it’s five or 10 minutes, and then he wakes up.  That’s usually what I shoot for 30 minutes.
Pastor Sam Shick, his wife Deaconess Alex Shick, who works at our sister organization Redeeming Life Outreach Ministries, and their baby boy.[/caption]

Have you started to incorporate your little guy into your devotion time?I do.  I like to start my devotional time with Hebrew or Greek and then move to English. Greek and Hebrew need more time to focus. That’s the one part.  I have a fairly long list of people that I pray for in the mornings. I don’t share that part with him because those are usually things people struggle with that they’ve shared with me.

What are your first memories of God?My very first memories of God, I was very little, probably four or five years old, and I was terrified.  It wasn’t anything that my pastors or parents did wrong, just the idea of somebody who was in control of anything and everything was scary to me; the reality of Heaven and Hell was scary to me. And the idea of faith; I remember when I was a kid struggling with the idea of how do I know that the God we’re worshiping is actually God, and it’s not Satan, who everybody says is evil?  There was never a time when I doubted that God was real, never a time that I doubted what Jesus did for me. I doubted if it was really for me. And it was at Confirmation when I began to learn more about who Jesus was and what he did.  When I began to unpack who this God, who’s in control of everything, actually is, and know his personality, those fears began to go away.  Then I started reading the Bible.  Reading the Bible made me want to be a pastor, because it’s an awesome story!  Everybody should know this. God isn’t a distant person who’s in control of everything, and has this heaven and hell to decide whether you’ve been good enough or not.  God is intimately involved in creation and loves us.  That’s what made me want to tell people about Him for the rest of my life.

Pastor Shick in the Youth Room at St. Luke’s, where he often spends his time with God & our High School Youth.

Did you go to church with your parents? I did.  It was a blessing for me to always be in a situation where, when I struggled internally, I was surrounded by people who wanted to tell me about a loving God.  To have assurance, and when I was ready to hear it, they were right there to tell it again.  I was raised in a private school and a Lutheran Church, and all of these kids are raised in a private school in a Lutheran church.  I felt the desire to rebel against that and go away. I want to help them realize the gift they have. I’ve focused my attention here on the gift of knowing Jesus is the center of everything we do; helping people, first of all to know Jesus, and secondly, to know our best life is with him at the center of it.

Is there a cause or problem that’s close to your heart that you’re helping with or that you want to help with?  Almost every problem I notice is very close to my heart, it’s hard for me to pick just one. The greatest one is imagining life without knowing God, that is what breaks my heart.  I know that everything I am, the reason I wake up in the morning, who I say that I am, all of these things really comes from knowing a God who loves me enough to die for me. And to me, that reality is so motivating. And so driving for everything that happens in my life.  When I see people who don’t have that, it’s heartbreaking, because there’s a lot of confusion.  When the Bible uses the analogy of darkness, it’s the best way to describe it. It’s darkness without God.  I want to bring Jesus to everyone.  I was raised in a private school and a Lutheran Church, and all of these kids are raised in a private school in a Lutheran church, and I felt the desire to rebel against that and go away. I want to help them realize the gift they have. I’ve focused my attention here on the gift of knowing Jesus is the center of everything we do; helping people, first of all to know Jesus, and secondly, to know our best life is with him at the center of it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?  I’d like to share the blessing that pastoral ministry is to me. I imagined once upon a time, that I would go into the lives of all of these people and influence them positively and tell them about Jesus.  I get to see people at their lowest, I get to see people at the big moments, the baptisms, weddings, and at the funerals. It’s been a blessing to walk with people through these stages of life.  It’s been a blessing to see what it looks like to be a faithful Christian in so many different ways. These circumstances have built me up in faith in incredible ways. So thank you, Nicole, for doing this. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about it.

Thank you Pastor Shick!  We’re grateful God sent your family to St. Luke’s.
Nicole Furniss
St. Luke’s Communications
Do you have a God sighting or testimony you’d like to share? We want to know,