I distinctly remember the first day that I was “not a pastor anymore.” After 10 years in full-time ministry of some sort, this was an awkward realization. Now, let me assure you, I don’t believe that your calling is dependent on your staff position. If God calls, the call is always in place. I will always be a pastor. It just looks different in each season of life. The shepherd is always a shepherd, his flock may look different.
This was definitely uncharted territory. Any time I had made a job change, I knew where I was going. When I stepped into a ministry role, I always had a plan as to how I would begin my new ministry. Stepping into a corporate sales position, I had no idea what to do. Questions began to flood my head. What about my calling? How do I use my gifts and abilities in a corporate role? What am I doing?
Over the following weeks and months, the Lord reassured me of His plans and His purpose for my life. The staunchest realization came after we began attending a new church. The Lord made so clear that I needed to focus on pastoring my family. I had always struggled with juggling my family and ministry. To be honest, my family and my own well-being often took a back seat to “performing my pastoral duties.” That is very difficult to write, but for the first time, the Lord had made it impossible to put anything ahead of my family. They had to be first because there were no other ministry responsibilities. This continues to be the freshest part of this journey. The opportunity to step back from a pastoral “job” and focus on leading and pastoring my family.
At every turn since I stepped away from the pulpit, the Lord has reminded me of a verse in Romans 11. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29 ESV). Each time I’ve remembered this verse, I realize that God has given me the ability to pastor and shepherd my own personal life and my family. If I don’t do that well, it will directly affect any ministry I do. On that same note, as I’ve focused on my family, the Lord has allowed me to minister in different ways over the last 13 months. From preaching to discipleship and even in leading worship through music, God has blessed with incredible opportunities to continue ministering.
This sabbatical has allowed me to pray specifically about “where I fit” in a local body of believers and the ministry God wants me to do. He has reassured me of my love for teaching Scripture and solidified my desire to develop leaders in the local church. As I realized this, God opened a door at NEXT Worldwide. The things about which I am most passionate (leadership and missions) are the focal points of NEXT’s ministry. The next post will detail how I came to know about NEXT and participating in a short-term campaign with them in Costa Rica. Thanks for reading this far. I hope my journey will be an encouragement to you and a challenge to seek God’s plans for you!
grace and peace,