The past several months have been very formative for me and my wife. We feel like we’ve been in a holding pattern of listening to God for what He has next for us and, in some ways, we are still in that holding pattern, but I think we’re becoming more content with waiting.
As I blogged about in last Monday’s Time Out on Isaiah 40:31, waiting on God doesn’t mean we sit passively waiting for Him to do something, but rather it means waiting on God like someone waits on tables. A “waiter” is someone who serves. It’s active, not passive.
So here we are, 7 months after being fired from our youth ministry position, and while we’ve both worked through the forgiveness issues from our past experience, I have yet to accept a position at a church somewhere else.
Two weeks ago I came to the point where I really needed some clear direction and vision from God. Thankfully God has continued to financially provide for all our needs, but I didn’t want to be presumptuous that it would continue forever. The career and ministry options I was thinking in my head just weren’t adding up to how I feel God’s wired me.
Although I’m frequently contacted through my seminary’s placement office by churches who are hiring a youth pastor, they’re all typical churches searching for basically the same thing, something that doesn’t feel like it’s what God intends for me and His bride.
But I’m still completely passionate about youth ministry and I love volunteering with the youth ministry at our new church. If I could volunteer full-time, that’d be awesome… except my family and I like to eat. So what do I do? Go get a retail job or settle with a typical church ministry job I know I can do?
I decided to take a week to focus on
seeking begging God for direction, to pray, to fast, to hear wisdom from others I trust, to read His Word and several career books that help me understand how God’s shaped me for His kingdom work. While I didn’t get a 20-year plan from God about what’s next for me and my family, I feel like God did honor my request and gave me a couple “next steps” to follow obediently. As I do so, I trust He’ll make additional steps clearer.
In no particular order, those things are:
- For now, turn Life In Student Ministry and other web projects (like MinistryWebsites.biz, MinistryQuestions.com, vlogging, Youth Questions, speaking and consulting into my full-time job. I feel like the Lord gave me a pile of ideas during my prayer times to pursue with each of these projects that will easily consume full-time hours for a very long time, including an idea for a new site that I’ll be launching next week. The tension for me is that Life In Student Ministry has proven to be an unpredictable source of income that won’t support a family, but yet I plan to head that direction obediently anyway.
- I’ve had an idea for book in my head for a while and I feel like God wants me to sit down and crank it out. Honestly, I’m dragging my feet writing this book for some reason, but I need to do it in obedience because I think writing on this topic will force me to think through some things I need to have clear in my mind for whatever’s next.
- I think serving as a full-time youth pastor in a church context is somewhere in my future, but it won’t be in a traditional church with a typical set of values and expectations. Nor do I feel that this next church will connect with me through a traditional resume/interview/candidating approach because that search method alone communicates something about the church. I feel it will be more organic than that, probably through personal relationships and connections within the next 3 months to 3 years.
- In the meantime, I’m to volunteer as a youth leader, investing into teens and families and serving the youth pastor at our church the best I can.
Honestly, I’m a bit nervous about this because these are some faith steps for me that involve some risk. Why pour into projects that were formerly just hobbies and have a poor history of generating a sufficient income? Why write a book I’m not sure how to write? Can it even be credible? And what if I’m wrong about being a youth pastor again? What if my antennas are searching for the wrong signal?
I don’t mind risk, in fact it usually energizes me, except that these risks directly effect those closest to me: my wife and two children.
So please pray for me. Pray for our future. Pray that I clearly hear God’s leading and follow Him obediently in it. Pray that He continues to provide for us. Pray especially that He will ultimately be glorified in all our struggles and searching. And pray for us over the next several months (even years if you’re up to it)!
Please and thank you.
Posted on July 21, 2011