Their stoic faces glistened with tears as the shock began to take root in their minds. Most people never saw it coming, and several tried to convince themselves they were only having a bad dream.But this was not a cruel figment of one’s imagination- it was
But this was not a cruel figment of one’s imagination- it was reality, a reality that is experienced by churches around world, perhaps more regularly than it should.
There comes a time when every pastor leaves the church that he served at. This departure comes in the form of a job change, a health issue, a moral failure, retirement, death, etc.
If you think about it, every lay person eventually leaves his church for the exact same reasons. It just feels different depending on the level of leadership a person has in a local body of believers.
Most of the time, these departures are not scheduled. Sometimes they are, but not usually. Interestingly enough, one of the questions I have received most since coming to Lighthouse Baptist is as follows, “How long will you be there?”
The simple, direct answer: I have no idea. I have no plans to leave anytime soon.
I did not come to Lighthouse planning to leave after one or two or three years. Personally, because of how God has led in my life, I do not believe that would have been a right attitude to bring with me. I came to do ministry, not to build a resumé.
At the same time, I don’t plan on staying here until I die. Pastor Bjokne asked me to come on staff knowing that I still believe God is leading me into full-time church planting. In fact, he’s giving me opportunities right now to keep training for church planting.
So I gave you the simple answer. Now for the expounded version.
Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Based on that passage, my purpose is to equip believers to do the work of ministry so that we grow together into Christlikeness as a body. Lighthouse asked me to join them to fill some needs they had. I plan to stay here until those needs are filled.
Some companies make disposable products; they stay in business by selling you something that you will need to buy again and again. Some companies excel at making products that you will never have to buy again, and we appreciate their attention to quality and durability.
At Lighthouse Baptist Church, my goal is not to keep them dependent on me. My goal is to help them get to the point where they will no longer need me. When that time comes, I will be ready to leave, and they will hopefully be ready to let me go, realizing that they don’t need me anymore and have no reason to keep paying me a salary 🙂
Right now I play piano, but I’m trying to train children and teens to take my place. On Sunday morning I teach junior church, but I’m equipping others to replace me. Since coming last year I have redesigned the website, but I want to teach at least a couple others how to update it. We started handbell and handchime ensembles this spring, but already I’ve been teaching kids how to conduct. The list goes on…
Before moving to Minnesota, I did almost all of these things in my other churches in a volunteer role, so I know firsthand that churches can fulfill these responsibilities without paying someone to do them.
For right now, this is my job, and I love it! But someday, my vision is to see a host of other people doing these things without my help…perhaps even much better than I’m doing them now!
When that time comes, I will follow God’s leading to my next ministry. But for clarification, I don’t think it will happen within just a few years. God never seems to be in a hurry, so we need to practice patience with him.
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