Sometimes God redirects you…
As a Pastor for the past 20+ years, I’ve often bemoaned the statistics that are regularly released about the number of men who leave the pastorate. It’s hard enough to find a good man, the right man for your pastoral need… so it’s tough to see them leaving church ministry altogether.
Many years ago I received a very clear call from the LORD into pastoral ministry. Over the years, and a lot of trial and error, I figured out that God had assigned me to smaller churches specifically. I assumed, out of my own limited view of things, that a call like that would be for the rest of my life – or until I couldn’t work anymore.
It’s funny to think about that mindset – because changes come, and they have come to me.
Now, just as certainly as I sensed God’s call into church ministry, I’m sensing His call out of it.
Just last week I sent out a letter to my church family, informing them of my decision to leave pastoral ministry. My wife and I have been walking through the process of making this decision with the help of my Elder team for months.
I can see from this side of the issue that the LORD is indeed sovereign, over calls and over situations. He’s used a variety of means, both joyful and painful, to redirect me, to show me that my time in pastoral ministry is coming to a close.
I still love the local church, though I am rethinking a lot of how we actually “do” church, in light of my experiences. I still love the people in the church. But the LORD has removed my zeal to serve as its shepherd.
I guess I’ll be one of those misconstrued statistics that people bemoan… but I believe this is a good thing.
A right thing.
An act of my sovereign LORD for both my good and the good of His church.
In weeks to come I’ll be writing some “lessons learned” from 20+ years of pastoral ministry, for the sake of those who are in the ministry and for the sake of those who are part of the flock. I believe I see some things clearly now that I was unable to see when in the thick of things. I hope you’ll stay tuned, and interact.
Much like Abraham, I don’t have a solid plan. I just know the LORD has told me to go. I do believe that He’s leading me to develop my other ministry to a point it can support me full-time, but I know that could take a while. So, I’ll be figuring out how to support the family, in whatever ways the LORD provides, while I work toward that end.