Discerning Your Next Ministry Move

Discerning Your Next Ministry Move
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Some of you may be worried that I am writing this post to you or about you. Yes, I definitely am.

We all have a call to follow and want to hear clearly from God. This time of year in particular is flush with requests for resumes and recommendations. Perhaps it is because we are fast approaching the end of our school and church calendar year.

It is normal to wonder if you are ready to move on to the next ministry assignment. Nobody wants to stay too long or leave too early, so we end up playing resume roulette by dropping hints and resumes. It is impossible to always resist the occasional ministry wanderlust. The next time you find yourself daydreaming about a better church in a better location, keep this in mind:

  • Sometimes finding God’s will is easy, but usually it is not.
  • Sometimes our current ministries are fulfilling, but sometimes they are naturally frustrating.
  • Sometimes search committees are awesome, but most are awkward, if not downright awful.

If you have recently pulled up to the proverbial traffic light to ask God for discernment about your next ministry move, you are wise to proceed with caution. You are understandably asking the Lord to give you a green light to GO, or a bright red light to STAY. What are you going to do when Jesus gives you an unbearably boring yellow light to WAIT?

The next time you pull up to a ministry yellow light, consider these options.

Accelerate before the light changes

You can ignore everybody and just put your pedal to the metal. Some ministers get so frustrated and exhausted by their ministries that they do not want to wait for the light to change colors. If that describes you, I implore you to resist the temptation to play resume roulette. Instead, forge some time this summer to deepen your walk with Jesus. Rest in him until your soul is restored. Make sure your identity is tied more to the Groom than his Bride. If you expect a church to fill a void in your life that God has already filled, you are are in for more disappointment.

Honk mercilessly at the other cars

Yellow lights are important, but temporary. As you wait on God’s direction, guard your heart and tongue from burning bridges with those around you. Discerning God’s will is a tough spiritual discipline. I assure you it won’t help to rush or push others as you wait on the light to change.

A foolish heart publicizes stupidity. Proverbs 12:23 CSB

Turn around and go home

Finding God’s will is rarely fast or fun, so some just react by quitting. That may bring you short term relief, but you will certainly regret a hasty exit later.

I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with my eye on you, I will give counsel. (Psalms 32:8 CSB)

I recently spent a season of prayer and fasting about a tempting ministry opportunity, which I ended up passing on. I do not enjoy fasting—at all—but it works! Fasting with prayer is God’s proven cure for spiritual attention deficit, as well as spiritual immaturity.

Slow down and wait for the light to change

Your ministry yellow light this summer might just be God calling you to himself afresh. My season of prayer ended with a flood of peace that I will never forget. I came to a much greater appreciation for God’s gifts and calling on my life. I pray that you will find that same peace as you try to discern your next ministry move.

You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you. (Isaiah 26:3 CSB)

This article originally appeared here. 

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Mark Dance
Mark Dance serves as associate vice president for pastoral leadership at LifeWay Christian Resources. A native Texan, Mark pastored churches in Texas, Tennessee, and Arkansas before joining LifeWay. He has been married to Janet Kendrick since 1988, and they have two children: Holly and Brad.

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