In November 2009, I spent 10 days in Bangkok, Thailand doing work in local prisons and rehabilitative centers. I also worked with the BSC doing conversational English with local college and high school students. It was an incredible experience!
When I left for Bangkok, I had spent nearly 10 years in full-time ministry on church staffs. At that point, I was serving as a Lead Pastor role at a local church where I had the privilege to lead a dynamic community of believers. Before my Lead Pastor position, I had exclusively worked with middle school, high school and college students. In each of these staff positions, I found that my passion and greatest joy came from leadership development and missions, specifically taking people out into the world to see the Gospel at work in different cultures and getting them to see the impact of the Gospel in their own community.
I had been in Thailand a few days when I awoke in the middle of the night with a distinct unrest about my “job” back in the US. This feeling consumed me for about 2 days. Each day, I spoke with my wife about what the Lord could be doing and what He wanted us to do in obedience. Finally, on the third day, I felt a clear call to step away from the church I was pastoring. It made absolutely no sense, but for the first time in a while I had peace about the next step.
When I called my wife, the first words out of her mouth were, “I think we are done at the church.” I totally agreed and told her about my prayer time and confirmation that I felt. I suggested that we spend a concentrated time praying about the timing and when I should announce to the church that I would be leaving. We agreed that 30 days was a good length of time. So we spent the next 30 days praying about our next step.
At the end of that month, there was no clear direction about stepping into another church staff position, but I had a job offer from a local company and that step made sense. Ultimately, my family and I needed some time to heal and the ability to attend a local church without responsibilities. We didn’t want to loaf around but we wanted to step back and analyze how God could use our family in the context of the local church without my being on staff. So, on December 27, 2009, I tendered my resignation as a Lead Pastor and we stepped out on faith about where the Lord was leading me and our family.
What began in Thailand as a sense of unrest turned into the impetus for fully trusting the Lord for a job, guidance and wisdom as to how best to lead my family as my primary ministry. Throughout this entire journey, God has continually brought me back to that idea – my self and my family are my first priority in ministry. I’ll share more about that in the next post.
grace and peace,