Being a pastor wasn’t Adam Weber’s idea.
“I was unsure if I could be a pastor because I’m not all calm and relaxed and I don’t sit beside still waters,” Adam said. “I’m not pastor-ish enough.”
But at 21, Adam clearly felt God’s call to be a pastor while filling the pulpit for a friend and mentor. At that time, he had plans to serve Jesus through business and generosity. However, he loved sharing the Gospel, and God called him to share the most important thing in his life with as many people as possible.
“Who doesn’t need to be saved from their worry, sin, their mistakes, their past and their brokenness?” Adam said. “Our world is crying out for a Savior. I don’t have to be in control because God is. I need someone who says, ‘Here’s the path, Adam. Stay close to me, and we’ll figure it out.’”
Today Adam pastors Embrace Church in Sioux Falls, S.D. In 2013, Outreach Magazine named it the 40th fastest growing U.S. church and the only United Methodist Church to be mentioned.
“The key to our growth is telling people about Jesus in a way that they can understand,” Adam said. “That’s it.”
When Adam first became the pastor of Embrace, the church met on Sunday nights and struggled to stay above 100. The district superintendent spoke the words, “Grow or you will have to be either moved or the church closed”.
“The first three years were the hardest years of my life,” Adam said. “But I saw God’s faithfulness through it all.”
By using unconventional methods, such as inviting donkeys into the churchyard at Easter and Christmas, Embrace tells people about Jesus in unique ways. Today, it has six campuses, five physical campuses and one online. The church also offers a variety of small groups and children and youth outreaches to engage all ages.
Prior to becoming a pastor, prayer had not been at the center of Adam’s life. Desperation and burn out drove him to his knees.
But Adam didn’t plan to write a book about it.
“It wasn’t my idea,” Adam said. “That’s the story of my life. I pastor a church that wasn’t my idea, and most of the things I’ve done have not been my idea. But my willingness to say ‘yes’ when I feel inadequate and scared, that’s the story of my life.”
For Adam prayer has become as easy as a conversation with a friend throughout the day.
“Something shifts when you stop thinking, how do I fit prayer into my day, to how do I make it through a day without it,” he said. “When it becomes not just another thing, but the most important thing.”
For example, now he prays throughout the day, “I’m struggling with words for the message, would you help me? I’m worried about my son at recess, would you help him find a friend?”
Adam’s book Talking With God: What to Say When You Don’t Know How to Pray explores how to pray when you’re broken, discouraged or in the midst of a storm. The book answers questions, such as what do I actually pray about, what do I say, do I talk out loud and where do I begin?
“I’ve always been insecure,” he said. “I didn’t realize how self-sufficient I am, and I didn’t think I would ever struggle with pride. I realized after experiencing burn out in five years that talking with God couldn’t be an add-on. I have so much to do that I have to talk with Him.”
Talking With God releases March 21 in stores everywhere.
Adam and his wife, Becky, have four children. Although he lives a fairly quiet life, he once made worldwide news when a turkey vulture fell out of the sky onto his back porch during an ice storm.
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