I am not sure that I've felt so inadequate as the Sunday I stood before this congregation of wounded and hurting people to deliver a message to them.
I am not sure that I've felt so inadequate as the Sunday I stood before this congregation of wounded and hurting people to deliver a message to them. The hurt in their eyes was immense and the weight of the future of the church weighed heavily upon their hearts. They were walking wounded.
The fact that I was unexpectedly serving as THE Pastor to this group as well as the fact they had been hurt made me feel the weight of all that I bear as leader all the more.
This past Sunday was my last Sunday in this Interim position. Though I've been involved in full time ministry for 18+ years now, I can say that my six months as Pastor taught me some brand new lessons.
1. Ministry involves intimacy. To stand before a group of people (whether they be kids, teens, or adults) and proclaim the Inspired Word of God brings the relationship between pastor and people to a whole new, personal level. I've had the privilege of experiencing this first hand when ministering to kids week after week. When you look into the same eyes every week and you see and sense hurt or pain, it moves you as a leader. This experience reminded me how deeply intimate it is to be involved in the spiritual lives of those to whom we minister.
2. Ministry responsibility is heavy. To rightly divide the Word each week requires a great amount of time and study. I believe that I had allowed myself to get lazy in this area before. When standing before a group of kids, it's easy to brush over the same Bible stories a million times without giving much background or exegesis. This experience reminded me that as one who proclaims the Word, I have a huge responsibility to divide it with all of the knowledge possible on my part.
3. When God calls us, He equips us. I know it sounds like a trite, Christian saying. I've never experienced this more than these past six months. Each week I was in awe as the Lord faithfully met me on the platform in the sanctuary. Each week as I felt unqualified and unsure of myself, I left shaking my head in disbelief that He'd been there, yet again...doing His work. It wasn't about me. Because of this I know that I will be fit to do whatever it is He chooses to reveal to me in the future. This experience grew and stretched me like never before and I loved it.
As I left the church this past Sunday for the next assignment to which the Lord has called me, I left knowing that I did so a completely different pastor than the one who first entered those same doors. As I move into this next phase of ministry, I believe the Lord has begun a new work in me. I am unsure of what His plans are for my future but I will be found faithful.
There's nothing like being in the center of His will.
How about you? What sorts of things have you learned about ministry or God's call when you were place into an unexpected situation?