I haven’t written in a while, and a lot has happened in my time away from posting. The biggest change has been a move from being the youth pastor at our church to being the executive pastor. Ok, so I realize you’re probably thinking “Dude, you’re still a pastor at the same church, what’s the big deal?!” Honestly, you’re right, it’s not a big deal to anyone except me. Here’s how it has affected me.
I’ve worked with middle school and high school students for 20 years. I love students and families, and watching God work in their hearts is unbelievable. That doesn’t change, regardless of what my job title is. Over the past year, I’ve been serving in some other roles at our church, and watched God generously bless those opportunities in ways that were way beyond anything I could ever deserve. It caught me off guard. As I spent several months praying and looking for what He was doing, it became clear that if I wanted to move sideways into a new role, God was good with that, and He opened all of the doors for me in that process. I hate to say that I was “called” to this other role, but I do feel that God made it very available in me, and raised the passion in my heart for working with a wider range of people in the church. So, I worked through the process of hiring a new youth pastor, and moving over.
It has been exciting and it has been tough. It’s hard to let go of something that is so much a part of you. As much as I tried to keep my identity from being wrapped around my ministry, it still did to a certain level. Letting go of that identity, and then giving that very identity to someone I didn’t know very well was incredibly emotional, and frightening. What was waiting for me on the other side? What if I failed at it all? What if I didn’t find any joy or happiness after the initial move? Over and over people have asked me if I was excited, or congratulating me on my promotion. It didn’t feel that way, and of all the emotions I’ve felt, excitement hasn’t been at the top of the list. Have you ever been there? Have you ever had to step out in some area of your life, trust God with something that is intensely personal, and not be sure where you’d land? Yeah…
Here’s what I’m finding; the key is to chase faithfulness, not happiness. If I constantly chase happiness, I’ll never arrive. It will always be two steps in front of me, and disappear as soon as I grasp it. But faithfulness…faithfulness sits down with us right where we are, and holds our hand as we take each tenative step. Faithfulness is found right here, today, sometimes as we wait, sometimes as we obey and move forward. As I chase faithfulness, I don’t need to worry. God tells me when I’m faithful, He will go past happiness and give me peace, joy, and hope. I don’t create it or earn it. He just gives it. Faithfulness is the pathway that leads to where those three are available.
So, today, I sit in a new office, with a different computer, writing from a different chair. I have a new title, with a different to do list, and someone else is covering all of my old to do’s from my old office. Am I excited by all of that? I honestly don’t know. Sometimes. Am I excited about what God will show me if I’m faithful. That one I know. Yes, I am VERY excited about that one.
Be faithful. Not to earn anything. Just be faithful because it’s the best option. It’s worth it.
(By the way, the new youth pastor is TJ Knowland. He is a HUGE blessing from God for me, for our students, and for our church. I am so incredibly impressed with him, and honored that God cares so much about us to bring TJ and his wife Hannah to us. Wow, God is so good! Pray for TJ and Hannah in their new role and home here at SCC.)