IVP - Online Pulpit - "Oh, Buzzard Skeet!"

April 1, 2009

"Oh, Buzzard Skeet!"

I had expected disappointment and sadness when I announced my resignation, but as the parishioners processed the news and reacted in their own unique ways, my heart quaked. “Buzzard Skeet!” was as close to profanity as one gentle soul could come when expressing her dismay at the news that I was leaving. “You are breaking my heart, you know” were the words of one of my octogenarians. I had been her pastor and friend for nine years. I was breaking her heart, and it was hard to do. But it was time for me to leave.

I came to the church when they were a small group of lonely and hurting people. The church had been declining for many years, and they knew that unless God did a miracle, they would have to close their doors.

God gave me the gift of ministering to this dear church family for nine years. Those years brought healing to them as I loved them and reminded them that God had not forgotten them. The church began to grow and once again become a viable part of the life of that small rural community. I started a youth group with the five teens in the church. When I left, the youth group had grown to an average attendance of 65-70 teens every week. Scores of teens came to Christ through that ministry.

“How can you leave?” I was asked. Good question. How do we know when it’s time to move on? Many times, the motive and reason is clear: a problem of one kind or another precipitates the move. But how do you know it is time to leave a successful ministry?

Kingdom Heart

As pastors, we need to cultivate “kingdom hearts.” A pastor with a kingdom mentality knows that God’s heart is for every church to grow and to be a light to their communities. With that as our number one priority, we make decisions that are best for the church universal and the local church we have been given charge of.

A kingdom pastor asks God for his vision for a particular church. God allows pastors to tap into the heart and breath of his body, the church. A pastor asks, What is the calling of this church? And, What is its potential in this community? The answers to those questions give pastors a sense of the path the church should take.

Kingdom pastor: Do you have the calling to lead your church in that path? Do you have the gifts the church needs to carry it to its full potential?

Two Keys

As I pastored my church, God stretched me. I did more than I ever thought I could. But I also knew my limitations. I knew that the church was at a place that required different gifts than what I could give them. I made the decision to leave based on the best interests of the church.

I also made the decision based on what was best for me. That is the next key in knowing when to leave: Know yourself. What are your gifts? What are your dreams? Does your current pastorate fit those things?

We all have times of discontent. The proverbial “greener grass on the other side of the fence” pulls at all of us at times. God is, however, at the inside of your longings and dreams. He is more interested in making you all that you can be than in keeping you in your comfortable pastorate with no challenges and vision.

Don’t be afraid to let God speak to you concerning a move. Being a pastor takes great faith at any time. Being willing to set out on an unknown adventure sometimes takes more faith than staying on familiar ground.

Posted by Joan Tyvoll at April 1, 2009 10:20 AM Bookmark and Share

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