“I’ll never again be so short sighted to limit God’s use of me to one area.”
I used to wonder if I would ever be a Pastor again. I don’t wonder anymore.
I believe with all my heart and soul that I will never be a Pastor again. I believe this not out of bitterness from events in my life but after understanding that God’s call on my life just doesn’t mesh with he popular idea of Pastor.
I’ve been a Pastor. I was a church-planting pastor. A bi-vocational church planting pastor. The little church we planted grew from four families to over 100 regular attenders each week. The growth wasn’t because I am so great in the pulpit. It was simply God blessing the preaching of His word. That little church was split and destroyed by my best friend at the time. I wonder sometimes where that little church would be if he would not have split and destroyed us…
Following the death of that little church I was bitter, angry, and confused. I wasn’t just angry and bitter toward my onetime best friend. I was angry at God. Not only did I feel like I had failed God, but felt that in some way God had failed me. After realizing how disgusting the thought that God had failed me was, I repented and tried to heal
I wondered if I could ever be used by God ever again. It was a very difficult time for my family. I trusted no one, valued no one, and contemplated suicide more than once during that period. It has been a difficult process but a needful one. During the process I have had many ups and downs. I harbored desires to be a Pastor again – to preach regularly.
We lost out church six years ago this July. I’ve mostly healed from that experience though I still struggle sometimes. I had hoped to stay preaching and have had some opportunities to preach here and there. I did my best to remain authentic and transparent in the pulpit. That got me some interesting emails and comments, but I tried to remain true to the person God has called me to be. But now, simply filling a pulpit that doesn’t seem to be in my future either. I haven’t preached in about two years (July 2016) and doubt that will happen again. So what happened?
Far too often we think that serving God after Seminary includes some sort of Pastoral ministry, professor, or other similar type of position. But I have come to the conclusion that type of thinking is exactly wrong. I’m convinced that as I follow God, more and wildly different opportunities will be presented to me. I doubt many of these opportunities will look like the traditional things I expected when graduating seminary. You know, things like graduate, become an associate pastor, youth pastor, or other type of pastor. These positions eventually lead to a Senior (Lead, Teaching, etc.) Pastor, then continued ascent up the church ladder by getting bigger and bigger churches to Pastor. I’ve come to reject this model. God can (and does) work in that way. But I think far too often we expect hime to work that way for everyone. And that is where we can really handicap ourselves.
So what am I going to do? I don’t know. All I know is that I am willing to do anything in service to Him. Whether that means being a traditional pastor (I don’t think so!), a pulpit filler, or continuing to write books, teach seminars, or do something else, I am willing.
How about you? Are you willing to do anything for God’s glory or just some things?
I’ll never again limit my vision for what God has for me. Whatever that means for me and my family – wherever that takes us, we’ll go. I have no idea how this is going to play out, but I am convinced that it will play out to the glory of God. And I am pleased with that.
I’ll never again be so short sighted to limit God’s use of me to one area.