As I look back at my first week as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Redeemer Fellowship, I have learned a few valuable lessons. They all surround the word "change". 1. Change is not as scary as we suppose it to be About 2 weeks before the actual church vote to bring me on staff I got ... spooked. Up until then it was all theoretical, full of "whens" and "ifs". The more real it got the more afraid I got. I got spooked so bad, I emailed the other elders of Redeemer to make sure we were making the right decision. I had basic questions that I couldn't answer and I realized that fear, specifically the fear of failure, was the thing that was spooking me.
I don't think I'm naive enough to think that I am not going to make a mistake. But I needed to be reassured that if this "job" was going to have to end, that it wouldn't end badly. I sat down with Joe Thorn (Lead Pastor of Redeemer and good friend) who reassured me, if this job was too much for me, or too taxing to my family I could transition out and it wouldn't be a big deal.
The fear I was feeling was fear of the unknown. I didn't (and still don't) know how this is going to work out on a day-to-day basis. I was questioning whether my supremely sovereign God was making a mistake, or if the leadership of Redeemer was being disobedient to Him by putting me in this position. Instead of resting in His hand, I tried to figure it out myself. I had to be brought back to the place where God is truly in control and I rest there. Once I got there, I realized I had nothing to fear. If this was not His plan, it wouldn't have worked out. It's that simple.
2. Change is necessary Change is necessary for several reasons, here are a few that became apparent to me through this transition.
Change is necessary for Growth and Maturity 1st Corinthians 3:6-9 discuss that no matter who plants and who waters that God provides the growth. I've had many mentors in my life that have done their jobs of both watering and planting in me to prepare me for this task (and I am extremely thankful for their influence in my life).
This was the next logical step in my development. Yes, I could have continued on with the way things were, but that would have stunted my growth as well as the growth of the ministries I am involved in. To be honest, a few weeks ago I would have preferred that. It was safe and comfortable. For the good of both me and those ministries, something needed to change.
Change requires work Anything worth doing is worth working at. We can't really expect things to get better if we aren't willing to work at them. The work that is required, in my case at least, is work. More time doing, thinking through, dreaming, and making all that a reality. The simple fact is that I needed to spend more time doing what I was already doing.
Part of that work is what Paul describes in Philippians 2:12 & 13, " ... work out your salvation with fear and trembling ...". I'm not trying to suggest, in any way, that my salvation is tied directly with my work for Him. What I am getting at is that part of working on my salvation is figuring out exactly and to what extent I am to be serving my God and Savior. Not all are called to vocational ministry, but all are called to serve.
Change builds Strength 1st Corinthians 3:2-3 and Hebrews 5:11-14 talk about moving on from the infancy of faith (need for milk), and growing to maturity (solid food or meat). All of us know from growing up that with solid food comes strength, the strength we need to do the things that need to get done.
The strength we need is found in Him and His Gospel. It requires His strength to become something new, something complete (2nd Corinthians 5:17). That kind of power is only found in His Gospel as we turn away from sin (in my case unbelief and fear) and towards Him. The problem is our sin, the answer is the Gospel. We need to rely on Him be our strength as we go out and proclaim His Word in the contexts we are in.
Change is not something to be feared, but embraced. Everything changes, some for good reasons some for bad, but to stay the same means no growth. No growth can only lead one way, to a slow eventual death. Change is good. Change in necessary. Desire it!
(To those of you who actually read this = thanks for your prayers and support, they are very appreciated.)