Back to Work

Needless to say I’ve been working recently, just not my normal work.  My wife and I had the fun and excitement of packing the entire house.  After Christmas we had three weeks to get our new house ready to move into.  This meant commuting 35 miles from my mother-in-law’s house each day so I could paint, and tear up carpet, and clean.  Ok, my wife and other ladies did most of the cleaning.  But still everything was exhausting work, especially when you go home and you’re not sleeping in your own bed and you know that you get to get up and do the same thing over again the next day.

I started preaching at my new church on the first Sunday of January but it really didn’t feel the same since we weren’t moved in.  Last week was dedicated to unpacking which makes this the first week that I feel like I’m really “working.”  What I’ve discovered is that I actually kind of miss working.  I love preaching and in many ways it doesn’t even feel like work (except when I’m working hard to finish a sermon at the last minute.)  But this is my first week that I’ve had hospital visits and reports and other administrative stuff to do.  And strangely it feels pretty good.  Two weeks from now I might be ready to tear my hair out but for the moment this is alright.

When I interviewed for this position I was asked the question whether I felt that being a pastor was a job or a calling.  My response was one that I’ve heard from others but is true for me as well.  You should only be a pastor if you can’t find fulfillment doing anything else.  If you can be happy working in an office or on a construction site or elsewhere, that’s great.  Do that.  But if nothing else will bring you fulfillment like working in the ministry then that is a clear sign that God has called you to it.

This week I feel as if God has reaffirmed my calling.  Even the parts of ministry that I don’t particularly enjoy, I have missed because it is a part of what God has called me to do.  I’m thankful that God has me where He wants me and that I’m doing what He wants me to do.  I pray that He will continue to guide and direct me in the next step.

Moving on

After a lot of thought and prayer I made the decision to resign my position at church.  After a very difficult summer this decision was a very personal one for my wife and I as we decided it was best to search for a church closer to our families back home.  With the church beginning to make plans for 2011 I decided that it was in the church’s best interest if they knew to start making plans without me rather than throw those plans into disarray in a few months or whenever I find another job.

I have a couple of prospects but nothing definite at this point so it is really a leap of faith because right now I’m jobless and homeless at the end of the year.  I know that our families will take us in if need be but obviously that is the last resort that no one prefers.  So I would ask for everyone’s prayers in this regard and I’ll be certain to post an update when I know more about my future.

The reaction to my resignation was expected.  There was a lot of shock and sadness.  Unfortunately there is no good way or time to make such an announcement.  What I didn’t expect was some of the encouraging things that people said after the announcement.  Because my reasons for leaving are mainly personal I wasn’t leaving because of discouragement.  But some of that encouragement would have helped a lot over the past few months.

For those who didn’t know, October is Pastor Appreciation Month.  Every pastor gets discouraged about their job because there are always going to be weeks where attendance is down or they wonder if their sermon reached anyone.  Don’t wait until your pastor is beaten down and discouraged to offer support.  You may think that your pastor knows that he is appreciated but he really needs to hear it and from as many people as possible.  He needs to know that he is making an impact and not just wasting his time.