My ninth year as Director of Premarital Ministry was my best year ever. Our ministry grew like crazy. We were having a impact in both our church and in the community.
Then came my tenth year in ministry.
Our leadership team gave me the opportunity to increase my leadership capacity. The downside would be leaving the job I loved in the marriage ministry. After much prayer and consideration, I accepted the offer.
Seven months after taking on the new role, I moved back to marriage ministry. Outside looking in, it might have appeared as though I failed. But these job transitions have been among the best things that have ever happened to me. In the process, I learned a few things about myself:
1. I’m a better soldier than a general
In other words, I am better at executing a plan than directing and crafting the plan. Give me a direction and Ill execute the heck out of it, but Im more wired for others to direct the course. In my moments of insecurity, I somehow believe the general is more valuable in God’s eyes than the soldier.
While the world and the church may more highly esteem the general, God values each one. He loves us all the same and doesn’t value one ministry role more than the other. Looking for evidence? See the cross. Romans 5:8 says: But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. There is no distinction: equal need for a Savior, equal recipients of His love.
2. I learned how I’m wired
I like going deep in one area of ministry (marriage) rather than going wide and less deep. Rather than leading a large slice of the pie, I do better with one narrow (yet highly significant) sliver of the pie.
I’d rather lead one area up close than many areas from a distance. No one grows up wanting to be a marriage pastor, but I am so thankful this is the area I get to serve and use my gifts.
3. I gained a better respect for those different than me
I learned to respect the skill set required for senior pastors, campus pastors, or ministry directors who lead multiple, large teams. I relearned that God gives different gifts to different people for different purposes, but all for His glory and for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
I was reminded that God chooses for some to be an ear, some to be a foot, and some to be the colon! All are necessary for the body to function in the way He desires and designs.
4. I learned this all could change in the future
I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point down the road, I move to another role, either as a campus pastor or maybe even another job at another church. I sure hope not, but it wouldnt surprise me. And, I hope Im not the same person in five years that I am right now. I pray God will continue to grow and sanctify me in whatever way He wishes.
Ask Yourself These Questions
Shifting gears to you: How are you wired? What are your gifts? Are you in your sweet spot in leadership? Ask yourself some honest questions:
- Do you think some gifts are more valuable than others?
- Do you covet a role higher in the org chart? If so, is it for the right reasons (because it fits your gifts and skills) or for the wrong reasons (more money, more power, more worldly esteem)?
- Are you being faithful where you are right now or are you waiting for the next opportunity to come your way?
Ask others you work with if they think youre in the right spot. Ask your boss for his or her thoughts on your ministry sweet spot. Ask how you can grow, and when they respond, be teachable, humble and dont be defensive. If you’re married, ask your spouse the same questions you asked your boss. Again, don’t be defensive!
In retrospect, I don’t think I should have changed roles. I don’t like change, and the last year has been a year with a fair amount of transition. But, I have learned much in the process and I have gained a much greater perspective on how the Lord has fearfully and wonderfully made and designed me.