We’ve heard it said that the average pastor who leaves the ministry leaves due to the words and actions of eight people. Eight. People in ministry, like us, choose every day to get in the truck and leave their calling behind because they let an average of eight people steal their joy and steal their calling.
When we first moved, I immediately made a connection with a new friend. I mean the throw-my-baby-shower and have-lunch-at-my-house-once-a-week kind of friend. It was great. I was so thankful and relieved to have made a connection so quickly. Over the years, the church grew and changed. New people sat in the seats, and a new core started to emerge. For people who had been around a long time and deeply loved the church, it was difficult to see it morph into something they didn’t necessarily recognize.
One blistering hot July afternoon, I weeded through the stack of junk mail to find a letter. An actual personally written letter, can you imagine? The excitement was short-lived when I opened the envelope to find a letter from my friend. It was two pages of pain. Each line felt like a new punch to the stomach. Outlined in great detail were all the reasons they were leaving the church, most unfortunately based on untrue gossip. A copy of this letter had also been mailed to each of our elders’ homes. Seriously?!
My emotions ranged from raw woundedness to absolute fury, vacillating back and forth for days. I stewed. I cried. I rehearsed my response over and over in my head. And then one night while I was doing the dishes, I threw a handful of forks into the sink and said, “They can say what they’re going to say. But they cannot take our calling. And they cannot take the joy we have in it!”
Why? Because we are God commissioned. We grab onto of the joy that He holds out to us and will rest in the fact that if He has called us, He will equip us. The challenges and hardships of leadership will not drag us to the truck. We will choose joy. We will choose Jesus.
Before you get in the truck: God commissioned you. Say it out loud to yourself: I am God-commissioned! Burn that deep into your soul today.
Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead