Transition and change in life are never easy. Some people handle it with incredible grace and poise and even seem to relish the opportunity for change. But truth be told, I’ve never been one of those people. I’ve always seen transition as something that is difficult and sometimes even painful. That’s why this season of life for me has been difficult at best and painful it worse. But there’s always been a statement that I’ve shared with churches I’ve been a part of that seems extremely important at this juncture as well. I’ve always told churches that I have three jobs; my first job is a husband, my second job is a father and my third job is a pastor. And if ever that third job begins to interfere with either of the first two jobs, then perhaps it’s time to do something else.
It’s always been a little more complicated than that of course, because of a little thing known as a calling. More than seventeen years ago I sensed God calling me to ministry, specifically ministry alongside teens. And for fifteen years or so, with the exception of a small stent as a senior pastor, this is the way in which I’ve served the church. Has it always been sunshine and rainbows…? Of course not. There has been loss and hurt, but there’s also been joy and laughter. I’ve been a part of mission trips from Guatemala to Flint and many places in between. I’ve been a participant and speaker at camps from Florida to Tennessee and even California. We’ve been a part of countless retreats, a couple of Nazarene Youth Conferences, numerous all-nighters, graduation parties, a few sock wars, Bible studies, small groups and now there are even weddings to attend and officiate. That this has been mine and my family’s life for this season goes without saying. But just assuredly as the seasons change in nature so too they often change in our lives.
A few years ago I needed to make a change while in Texas to help support the mission of the local church that we helped to lead. Luckily, I have an undergraduate degree in Science and so I entered into the adventurous state of being a teacher and a bi-vocational pastor. And even many times while being in full-time youth ministry I would look at teachers with a touch of envy because of the avenues of influence that they had in the lives of my students. I’ve always even said that if I found myself in a position where I couldn’t be a youth pastor anymore then I would probably look to be a teacher. So as I step into the role of being a full time Science teacher for middle school students this fall, it only seems natural. And although my stepping out of full time ministry with students may seem mistimed, I can walk away in this promise from Paul for both the teens we have served alongside of and for my family, “We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 Is this transition immediately a good thing for all those involved…? Not necessarily. But eventually, we will see God work the good in the lives of all of those He loves for the sake of working out his redemptive purpose in all our stories. Remember you are always loved.
Grace and Peace