I have felt for a number of years that I ‘part fit’ local church ministry. Some aspect of ministry works really well for me whilst other aspects are a huge stretch. I also feel that I have more to bring to my vocation than I am able to bring to local church ministry.
I am passionate about teaching, leading and working with young people, but I do not feel that I need to be a church leader in order to use my passions and make a difference for others.
It became clear to me during life coaching sessions on sabbatical that I am on a journey from being ‘in power’ to being ‘empowered’.
Like lots of churches we at Grace Church have been experiencing a challenging season. A sense of distance, pressures and reflection has given us all time to think and make changes. As a leadership we were looking at how we grow team and adapt our style to the current context.
However, on return from sabbatical it was becoming clear that our church was changing significantly. I believe the nature of the church we are becoming requires a different kind of style and ministry than that which I can offer.
I was encouraged by a church member to consider the following verse: ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing.’ Isaiah 43 v 18-19.
Another member believed God was saying: ‘I do a new thing in your life. For a long time you have waited to be released. Now is the time. I am releasing you to a new thing. To a new calling. Something that will rejoice your heart. People will say ‘I cannot believe it has come about in this way’ but I am the Lord, and I do a new thing.’
A third shared ‘you have been a faithful and courageous pastor for many years but I am not sure it is a weight that you should not be carrying anymore. I felt today I was suppose to give you permission and to say that it really is ok to stop!’ As Chloe and I reflected and shared with those close to us, the message seemed clear.
Mick and I will continue to lead Grace Church from now until April. From that point my leadership will taper right down and I will be released to prepare for and pursue future employment opportunities. I am currently looking at different ways into education.
Chloe and I are members of Grace Church and intend to remain so. For us, church is family so we are in until we are called out! We are very open handed about this in the future and ready to do whatever is helpful to the future leadership.
I appreciate that this is a difficult time for many of us. It has been a tough time for us as a family. However, as always, the best we can do is take the steps of faith that we believe we are invited to take by Him. For us this feels like a big step but one that we are confident is the right path for us all.
Loads of love,