Getting Back on the Horse

I’ve been out of the ministry scene for nearly a year now. Its been an interesting time, changing work routines, juggling finances and (I’ll admit) the relief of not ‘running a church’ anymore.

What have I learned during that time? Here’s a few thoughts…
Leading from your strengths is critical
I used to go to the leadership conferences, listen to the Hybels, the Maxwells, Stanleys or whoever was the flavour of the month. I’d come out inspired and ready to be just like them – and that was the problem. I wasn’t!
These guys came to ministry with a certain mix of giftings, personality, and talents. I came to ministry with a different mix. When I tried to swap mine for theirs I fell over and felt miserable in the process. When I led from my mix, things generally went better and I had a lot less stress.

I can’t do it all – get over it!
The expectations game can run pretty strongly in churches. I’ve read some pastoral job descriptions that make me think the Church is looking for the next Hybels, or Maxwell etc. The problem is that every statistic I have ever read tells me that blokes like this are thin on the ground.
Some things I do well, some things I manage OK, and some I just plain suck at. I’ve done the ‘square plug in the round hole’ thing; it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I’m all for growing and learning in a role, and I learned a lot in this one. But God created me as me, that’s who He wants to use in ministry, not someone else. I have learned to listen to the alarm bells whenever I get to far away from who I am.

I miss the friendships
I miss the fellowship of pastoral ministry. I miss hearing the stories, some joyful, others painful. I miss sharing experiences about what works and what doesn’t. I miss the people I met in ministry who encouraged and strengthened me along the way. I haven’t quite encountered that anywhere else. Those times are still precious to me.

My family matters
My wife is a good foil for me in ministry, filling in the ‘gaps’ where I am lacking; lending perspective and pulling me up when I need it. She has suffered in ministry – perhaps more than me. When she suffers, I suffer. The term ‘happy wife, happy life’ is really apt when it comes to pastoring. She needs to process and recover in this – and that takes time. I cannot do ministry without her. I won’t do ministry without her.
The same with my kids, I can’t just get up and move when I want to. There are schools, networks and friendships to consider.

More recently I’ve felt the urging to get back into ministry, I still feel the call, I still believe in the Church. I still want to use what I have and make it count. I don’t want this to be the end of it and I hope one day to ‘get on the horse’ again. In the meantime I’m learning lots about who God is and who I am; and I can dream about ministry and what it might look like in the future.

About andy63

Auditorium/Facilities Manager at Kennedy Baptist College. Family man, Dockers Supporter, NFL and NBA tragic who loves the Red Bull Air Race and a good meal. A Christian who is grateful for grace and forgiveness and the fact that Jesus is alive.

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