First of all, let me preface this blog post by saying this: I’m not moving. I just read a devotion this morning that made me think of all the moves I have done in my life in the ministry. So, I felt compelled to share my story with you all. It’s a little long, but I just wanted to share my own personal story.
Anyone that works in the ministry of any kind whether you are a pastor, children’s minister, youth minister, music minister, etc, knows that when God calls, you go. And when God calls, it’s usually at a time when you don’t want to go. Everything is going really well in your ministry. You absolutely love what you are doing and can’t imagine yourself anywhere else. Your church is so awesome. The people really support you and your ministry. The staff you work with is amazing and you all work well together. You just really love your church. So, why does that always seem to be when God takes us elsewhere?
In the devotion I read today, it shared the story of the calling of the disciples. Here were 12 men who totally had to give up everything to follow Jesus. They had to leave behind their “normal” everyday lives and spend time with Jesus, sharing the love of God, watching and learning from Jesus and all that He did. Can you imagine what that must have felt like? We think we know what it’s like to give up everything to follow him, but do we really? These disciples left their jobs, their families, their homes, and traveled with Jesus. EVERYTHING. What an amazing leap of faith for all of them.
In my 13 years in the ministry, I have had 4 jobs, only 1 of which I wanted to leave (that was my first job as a Retreat Ministries Coordinator at a camp. I was single, in the middle of nowhere, and was very lonely. I quickly realized full-time camping ministry was not for me).
The other 2 times that I moved, I was pretty happy and content where I was. At my job as a Youth Minister in Charlotte, I absolutely LOVED that church. Great teenagers, wonderful parents, great staff. But, I fell in love (with someone from my home state of GA). I knew once we started dating that I was going back to GA. It was very, very hard to leave all of those youth behind. I had only been there a year and I didn’t want to leave. I had invested myself into the lives of those kids and was so sad to leave them. Very hard decision to make, but I was ready to start my life with the man I loved. 10 years and 2 kids later, we are still very much in love! 🙂
My 3rd job was a Youth Minister in Smyrna. Great church and I loved the teens and their parents. I have to say that this was the hardest job of my career, though. I think the hardest part was the birth of my 2 girls and learning how to juggle being a full-time Youth Minister and a full-time mother. I made some choices that probably weren’t the best. I just wanted to be a great mom and a great Youth Minister. Having 2 little babies, being gone a lot on retreats, and investing into the lives of the youth, was extremely hard. Some people didn’t like the choices I made and I had to learn to deal with criticisms. This is where I learned to grow some thick skin. I realized I messed up some and I realized that I can’t please everyone. Even though it was hard, I still LOVED this church and all the youth that came through our youth program in the 7 years I was there. Wonderful people at this church!
I wasn’t even thinking about moving when the job at my current church became available. But when I saw it advertised, I knew this was my new job. I had been wanting to work with children for a couple of years. Mostly because I was missing out on things my own kids were doing in our children’s ministry. Every time there was an event for youth, there was an event for kids. I couldn’t be with my own kids at church because I had a job to do. I missed being a part of their church activities. I was happy and content at my job, but I knew that this is where God was calling me.
The move to this church was probably the hardest because I wasn’t just moving myself. I was moving a husband and 2 children (one of which was starting Kindergarten). I was afraid. There was so much that had to happen so that we could financially make this move. Do you think that all those things happened? Why, of course they did! When God calls you somewhere, he is going to take care of every single detail. We sold our house in 2 months (something that was hard to do in 2010). We were able to live in a cabin in Dahlonega until our house sold (only having to pay utilities). Even though we lost money in the sale, God provided an AWESOME home for us to buy here. Everything worked out perfectly. People were so welcoming when we arrived. It just really felt like home and I knew that we were going to love it.
Another thing I know is that if you are married, and you feel God is calling you to another place, he doesn’t just call you. He calls your spouse and your kids, too. At first, Andrew didn’t want to move to Dahlonega. He was content where he was. But after a run one day, he said let’s move. Total change of heart, which can only be contributed to God. My girls were small so they didn’t care. Just know that you aren’t in this alone. God calls your whole family, too.
Moving stinks, especially when you are content and happy. But at the same time, it’s exciting to see the new plans God has for your life. If you are in the ministry, you know that a move will more than likely take place a few times in your lifetime. Every job you have and every experience you go through (whether good or bad) prepares you for the next thing that God wants you to do.
So, how do you know when God calls you? Well, I’ll make it really easy to understand … you just know. There is no doubt, no fear, but just total peace. It’s like this calm that comes over you and you know that you are doing the thing God wants you to do. Is it scary? Well, of course!! But, you know that without a shadow of a doubt, that God’s got it all under control.
Are you feeling a nudge, a new call? Don’t ignore it. Pray, read Scripture, and pray a lot more. Then just do it. Get out of that boat and walk toward Jesus. He won’t let you down. Just trust in Him. It’s hard, but don’t let your doubt sink you. Let go of the grip you have on that boat and get out! Keep your feet on the water and your eyes focused on Him. He won’t let you go. “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”