Forward to the Future
God is working a new thing.
Isaiah 43:18-19 – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
A couple of months ago I started interviewing for a position as a pastor at a local church. Ever since graduating seminary I have desired to follow the call to pastor. I’ve applied a couple different places since graduating, but pretty much all of them said I was either too old to lead the next generation or that I don’t have enough ministry experience.
Then, a couple months ago, Friendship Community Baptist Church (fcbc.church) reached out to me to interview for their Associate Pastor position.
I went in for the first interview. Afterward my wife asked how it went. I told her that I wasn’t sure, but it is in God’s hands.
Imagine my shock when they called me back for another interview!
During that interview they asked me to elaborate on a few things that I brought up in the questionnaire that I filled out. One of those things, my views on women in ministry, was a point of question.
Throughout the next couple of interviews, that was something that was foremost in the questioning.
Suffice to say, we agreed that we aren’t too far off with regard to our theological views of women in ministry and, where we are in our individual and corporate views, we are able to still work together because, at the end of the day, this is one of those items that isn’t of significant eternal value. Many in the room had differing views, but what we learned throughout the process is that while we have differing views in certain small things, we are able to come together to impact the important things, such as bringing Jesus to Anne Arundel and Calvert counties in Maryland.
After these rounds of interviews I told my wife that everything is in God’s hands and we’ll have to see if this is a case of Paul trying to go into Asia or if this was going to continue to move forward.
The next interview involved both my wife and I meeting the senior pastor and his wife. It was a great meeting and I asked my wife to be brutally honest when asked questions. I am happy to say that she was.
Again, afterward I said that everything is in God’s hands and we waited.
Then there were more interviews and they started preparing me for the congregational interview. Also during this time the position changed and I needed to determine if my ego would kick in or if I would simply desire to be where God was going to place me.
You see, the position changed to a non-ordained role. Everything else is the same, but the ordination wasn’t going to be immediate. It is a Director of Ministries role that will hopefully, God-willing, lead into the ordination later.
1 Timothy 5:22 – Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone as an elder, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
I remember when I graduated seminary I desired so much to become an ordained pastor. It actually drove me so much that it must have internalized as an idol.
When this position changed, I struggled for a little while. I needed to go to my mentors and accountability and ask how I get past my idolatry.
It wasn’t until I remembered something that God had said to me a while back that I was able to see this as it is, a blessing.
God said to me, “If I were to have a HUGE revival and an awakening happen in your area, would you be as excited about supporting it if I didn’t choose you to lead it?”
That was painful to hear.
But it took one of my mentors to say to me to not focus on the word “you” in that question. Focus on the phrase “revival and awakening in your area.” See the blessing in the fact that God is about to have a revival in Southern Maryland!
2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
When my mind started focusing on the blessings rather than myself, I was able to see this role as a tool in God’s shed. The rod in Moses’ hand. The Thaddeus of the disciples instead of the Peter.
When the church offered me the role pending the congregational vote, I was excited! God may not need me to be the next Platt or Greear or even Pastor Pat (my pastor the last 16 years) or Pastor Robert (my new pastor beginning today), but God needs me to be in the role that He is putting me in.
I got the word on Sunday afternoon that I was voted in.
I start Wednesday!!!
I can’t even tell you how excited I am to know that God is doing a new thing in my life! I had become so comfortable in the church I have been in for the past 16 years that I was not growing as much anymore. If we aren’t growing, then we are not becoming more like Christ.
It is time to take the leap. To realize that discomfort is a tool of awakening.
It won’t be easy. Satan will attack me and my family.
My God is much bigger than Satan. My God is much bigger than my fears. My God is much bigger than any position I can ever hold in any church anywhere.
My God is the end all and be all of my faith – a faith that continues to grow as I lean on Him to provide for my every need, personal, family, and professional.
Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Next week I will talk about one of my fears that I have as I move into this role of Director of Ministries.