When Don Lowery took over as pastor of Calvary Apostolic Church in St. James in 1981, there were no cellphones, no Internet.
Life as a pastor was simple in contrast to today's fast-paced culture.
Lowery, who is retiring from the church after more than 30 years, can honestly look back and say he has no regrets.
"Pastoring a church has good times and tough times," he said. "The people around St. James as far as I'm concerned have good people around here. I appreciate very much St. James and the city workers that treated us very kindly."
For this veteran pastor, it's all about the connection, and that connection has made it relatively easy for him to suit up and show up every day since he began his career as a minister.
"We've had great fellowship through the years," he said. "Over the years, there have been some great times. I appreciate the people."
Lowery said his decision to become a pastor began early in life. As a foster child, who in turn adopted a number of foster children throughout the years, his path in life was always fairly obvious.
"I feel like God had the biggest hand in it, and it's what He wanted for my life. I am not giving up being a minister; I am just leaving the pastorate of St. James," he said. "I am sure we will be asked to speak in other places. I felt that's the thing God wanted us to do and to be. I still have a lot to learn concerning being a preacher."
Brad Dimock, who is slated to succeed Lowery at the church, said Lowery has been an inspiration to an entire community.
"We have known him for 10 or 12 years," Dimock said. "He shows so much love for people – connection. Just in the way that he reaches out for people, especially people who are in need, and he really cares for what they are going through ... He is a giver."
Born in Rolla, Lowery holds a bachelor's degree in theology and a master's degree in Christian education.