St. Paul Lutheran Church in Botkins held a reception honoring the Rev. Bob Carter’s 35th year in ministry July 17 at the church.
However, despite all that time, Carter still feels there is a much longer way to go.
“I am still planning on doing it for quite a while yet,” Carter said. “I still think God has a purpose for me yet in the ministry.”
Of those 35 years, Carter has served the last 4 1/2 years at Botkins. After receiving the call to come to Botkins, he feels he has found a place to call home.
“I remember when I got the last call to come for an interview,” Carter said. “I told them, I just want to be your pastor. I really appreciate the people at St. Paul. They have a church council to take care of the other things.
“I’m just here as a teacher and they allow me to be God’s ambassador,” he said. “It has been a good fit.”
Carter and his wife, Susan, have three grown daughters that are married and another who graduated at Botkins High School this year.
Carter is originally from Clyde. He originally began his ministry 35 years ago at St. John Lutheran in Athol, Kansas. He then served 12 years each at Hopewell Lutheran in Mercer County and another church in East Jordan, Mich. He said one of the greatest appreciations he has for the Botkins church is it brought him back to his first job in Athol.
“They only had 2,000 people in that small town in Kansas but we still had a big congregation,” Carter said. “They gave me their unconditional love. I had not had that feeling again until I came to
In addition to receiving many cards, the church had a celebratory worship service and dinner to honor Carter.
Despite the long years of service, Carter did not come to the ministry right away. He originally was a pharmaceutical salesman after studying at the University Miami of Ohio.
“The best thing I liked about the job was meeting and working with all the people,” Carter said.
Carter had an undivided faith to go along with his love of being with people, so he talked to his wife about going into the ministry.
“Her immediate answer was, ‘Are you sure this time?’” Carter said. “I told her yes and we never looked back since. My Lord and savior has been with me every step of the way.”
Carter said he has seen a lot of good changes along the way in 35 years.
“I remember in 1987 when the three Lutheran churches met to form a new evangelical church,” Carter said. “I was there. It was great to see three brothers come together. Change is not always easy, but it is needed when it is for the building of the body of Christ.”
As a pastor, Carter also has personally baptized three of his daughters and helped in the ceremonies of two of his granddaughters.
Carter believes that a church is a shared ministry, and hopes that mindset will pour out to someone in his congregation.
“It is my dream that one of my members will someday go into the ministry,” Carter said. “It has not happened yet. We need more people to go into the full-time ministry.”
Carter said the biggest keys to his success in staying in the ministry were God, and his wife.
“I could not have ever done this without my wife,” Carter said. “And God has been with me every step of the way. He has helped me with everything along the way. About the only thing he hasn’t helped me with is my golf game. He says I am on my own with that one.”