I am connected to pastors across the country and around the world through this blog and through Facebook groups. Many of them are in the process of moving. Some of them by choice, and others by force. There is always a sense of expectation as to what is ahead, while the pain of leaving special people behind is always difficult.
As I have been keeping up with my friend Pastor Randy’s blog, The Kingdom Pastor, I began to reminisce about ministry transitions. Those early transitions were big adventures in my mind. I was going to somewhere a little bit bigger and take on a little bit more responsibility. For most of my ministry, it meant larger and more involved music ministries.
My first difficult transition was leaving a ministry where I was serving in an interim capacity. My heart’s desire was to stay, but I knew in the end it would not have worked well. The difficult part was leaving so many people who loved me and followed my leadership when I had more zeal than I had knowledge. I learned what it meant to love a church and pour myself into their lives.
My second difficult transition was leaving music ministry to take my first pastorate. I was excited to lead a congregation and preach my heart out, but leaving behind a place where God did some great things in a little over 3 years was tough. These people also loved me and knew I loved them. We had developed friendships that were very special. I had a gut feeling that I would be back in the same area at least within the next 10 years, but it was actually a year later. This time, I was separated, jobless, and clueless about what the future held. It would be these special people who would love me through that difficult time.
I am still just a few miles away from many of these folks. I see some when I shop or am around town. They will always hold a special place in my heart. Many know that God has done a new work in my heart and rejoice with me.
These seasons of change can often be unbearable. As I think about how hot it is here in South Carolina and that it will only get hotter, I press on toward the Fall. I’m trying to balance the art of looking for lessons in this season while being a visionary and seeing the future that God is laying out before me.
I know it is difficult to patiently await a season’s end, but seasons give birth to new seasons. There are waves of change and beautiful things that spring forth. May you too strive to find the balance of embracing your current season while looking ahead. As someone told me when I thought Ministry was over, “If God were done with you, you would be dead.” Don’t sit around and wait! God is up to something great!