15 year anniversary

Today is my 15 year anniversary with Norwest / Wells Fargo. I thought my readers would find it interesting as to how I arrived at this point.

I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a double major in economics and finance in 1971. Immediately I applied to graduate school to get my MBA. I was accepted into graduate school with a full scholarship. Instead of going this route I became a campus minister with Campus Crusade for Christ.

I served on the University of Buffalo campus for the 1971-72 school year. Looking back I was so green as a Christian (having been saved in 1969) that from my perspective today I was way too young and inexperienced to serve in that capacity.

My Pastor back at Westwood Baptist Church (Cheviot OH) was encouraging me to go to Seminary. I left CCC after 1 year and worked at the church for the summer and then went to Tennessee Temple (Chattanooga TN).

I gave up after 1 semester. The culture shock of being at a fundamentalist seminary in the South was too much for me. I don't blame Tennessee Temple but I was not a good fit.

In January 1973 I began looking for a job (a career job). I worked at Chattanooga public schools during the day and then would type up resume letters at night. I had borrowed a typewriter from the school and each night would work well past midnight typing letters and then mailing them at the post office at 2 or 3 in the morning. I desperately wanted to move back to Cincinnati and so applied at companies like P&G, etc. I had no takers. Along they way I applied to IBM (I think I mailed my resume to Armonk NY). The Chattanooga office called me up for an interview. I literally only had one tattered suit but I guess I did OK. Next the Tampa office flew me down and interviewed me. I was hired in February 1973 as a computer salesman trainee.

IBM was good for me, I made very good money plus met my lovely wife who was an Engineer with IBM.

In the Fall of 1976 we moved to Pittsburgh. I took a job with Digital Equipment Corporation and Kathee took a job with Mellon Bank. I was a large systems salesmen. Kathee programmed the Mellon ATM transaction system in Assembler language.

Shortly after arriving in Pittsburgh we became very active in Bible Baptist Church of Plum Boro, PA. One evening I told Kathee that I wanted to be a Baptist minister. We were not in agreement about that idea (we had just purchased a home) and so we resolved to pray about that idea for a long time. That summer Kathee became as convinced as I was. We took a summer vacation to look at Grace Seminary in Winona Lake IN and Grand Rapids Baptist in Michigan. We decided that Grand Rapids would be the favorable route for us.

We worked for another full year preparing ourselves financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Kathee and I both took correspondence courses via Moody Bible Institute.

In the Summer of 1978 we sold our home in Pittsburgh and moved to Grand Rapids. Kathee was rehired by IBM as an Engineer and IBM provided our moving expenses.

For 2 years I went to Seminary full time and Kathee worked full time. It was an EZ life. Nearing graduation I had 2 job (ministry) offers. One was to be the youth Pastor of Good News Baptist in Grand Rapids, the other was to be the discipleship Pastor in Haddon Heights New Jersey. We felt blessed by the Lord to have two options when many of my seminary buddies had none.

We moved to Haddon Heights New Jersey in August of 1980. We lived in a parsonage for a couple of months and then purchased a home in Cherry Hill, NJ. We were at Haddon Heights Baptist for 3 years.

Our next church was Moorestown Bible Church (New Jersey). I served as the Pastor for three years there.

In April of 1987 we moved across country to South Holly Baptist Church in Littleton Colorado were I served as the Senior Pastor for 9 years.

Shortly after arriving in Colorado I broke my neck in a trampoline accident. This was very serious and left me paralyzed from the neck down. I had one of those (I hesitate to call it miraculous for theological reasons) unusual God blessed recoveries. I am in the 95th percentile of recovery from a spinal injury of my nature. This means that only approximately 5% had a recovery with a better outcome than my own. Of all the C-4/C-5 injured people I only know personally one whose recovery was better than my own.

I stayed at South Holly for 8 1/2 years after my accident. The pay was sporadic. In 1989, Kathee went back to work as a programmer for Rocky Mountain Motor Tariff Bureau. In 1991 Kathee moved over to Norwest (which had just acquired United Bank of Colorado).

In the Spring of 1993 finances at the church were even more tight than before. As I recollect, I worked that summer without any pay or very low pay. I worried all summer about the church's finances and meeting our (the church's obligations). In September 1993 I took a job with International Multifoods as a computer programmer trainee for their VSA branch in Colorado. I really think I got the job because I was handicapped. I know at the very least that being handicapped got my foot in the door. I was interviewed by HR and then my second interview was with a Christian technology manager.

My church was understanding and even accepting of this arrangement. I continued to preach the AM, the Wednesday night and teach Sunday school. Another ordained man in the church preached Sunday evenings. We both served as bi-vocational pastors.

I served in this role for 2 years. It was hectic. I prepared sermons and lessons at night. I produced the church bulletin every Saturday morning. Dan, my associate, and I did church visitation. The church stabilized financially and we were able to pay all the bills and continue missionary support.

About a week after commencing with VSA (International Multifoods), I was told that I would need to work 60 hours a week. Because I was non-exempt I made some good overtime. My work schedule was to drive to the bus stop, take the bus downtown, eat breakfast the McDonalds and arrive at work at 6 a.m.

After 6 months this schedule was becoming too much and change was needed.

In 1994 Kathee became aware of a job opening at Norwest. I interviewed for this position and was hired in February and started the first Monday of March 1994.

My hiring manager, Jeff Williams, is a super guy. He has since moved to Minneapolis and I see him frequently. My first job at Norwest was as a DASD (Direct Access Storage Device) manager. Our team managed mainframe storage. I learned JCL, IBM mainframe utility programs, the MVS operating system and file systems, REXX, PL1, COBOL, CICS, DB2, and some MVS assembler language. My tutorial on MVS utilities is found at www.jrpeet.com.

In 1996, we felt led of the Lord to move to Minneapolis and I left the church that I had pastored for 9 1/2 years.

Many have asked me over the years about how I feel about "leaving the ministry". I actually don't feel I left the ministry. I am still in the service of the Lord I just don't earn a living in the service of the Lord. In some ways this has been a blessing to both the church and to me personally. I have had some very expensive medical procedures associated with my spinal injury. For example I probably have had 10 M.R.I.s Additionally since my initial injury I have had spinal surgery twice. These are expensive and a poor pastor with no medical insurance would not have been able to pay for them. In that way, leaving the vocational ministry has unburdened the church. Leaving the vocational ministry has also enabled Kathee and I to save for retirement. We have a long way to go in this regard as we got a very late start at it, but Lord willing when I am unable to work, I should be able to provide for myself and my spouse.

I started out with mainframe computing, then I moved to open source BCP (Business Continuity Planning). I learned Suse Linux, Red Hat Linux. I also have picked up quite a bit of HTML, Javascript, and CSS. 12 years ago I became the web master (it seemed like a big deal at the time) for one of the first internal Intranet sites. Along the way I picked up Cold Fusion. Knowing Linux, web tools, and Cold Fusion launched another career for me as the Desktop Release Manager at my company. This week our managed LAN reaches the milestone of 100,000 workstations. We expect with merger activity to double this LAN. It is pretty cool stuff and generally is interesting, and challenging.

Today I reached the milestone of 15 years. Lord willing, I would like to work 6 1/2 more years and then do something different. Perhaps pastor a small church that cannot afford to pay a pastor or be an associate Pastor of a church. The Lord knows and I commit my way to Him.


  1. That was interesting, thanks for writing it up. Not knowing you personally, I've often wondered when you refer to your past experiences. I had no idea you had been a pastor for that long.

  2. Thank you, Tobin, for your kind words.

    When I "left the ministry" I felt like a complete failure and felt some shame. God used the experience of subsequent years to mature and settle me. I trust His providence. My life did not go in the direction I had expected, but He has been good to me and I am not one to doubt His hand in my life!

    God bless!

  3. Thanks, JP. Thanks for sharing your story.

    I always thought tobin was a son-in-law or something........Shows what I know.

  4. Jim, Very interesting; I always thought that you went to Flordia right after school. I remember when you were thinking about buying a car, and I believe you picked up the car in Flordia, because they didn't have sales taxes. I don't remember any of your Tennessee experiences. I do remember when you met your wife, and were married. I guess I lost touch most of the years when you were a minister.Your mother called me when you had your accident, and I called and talked to you when you were still in the hospital. Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog, and am always interested in hearing about your life. Your old friend, Eric E

  5. Why doesn't your story include anything about children?


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