I have moved around 30 times in my life. As a pastor’s kid and then a pastor, it’s part of the deal you sign up for. Some of you that are reading this blog are presently considering a move to another ministry assignment. Please consider the following five things as you make that decision:
1. Not every call is from God, no matter how spiritual the other person sounds.
Sometimes it’s a call from God, sometimes people just want to fill a hole. That’s the truth. I have a friend who is a great pastor/speaker/leader. He told me he gets several calls every year. All of them said they have prayed about it. All of them said he is THE right one for the job. Remember this. It’s seldom about you. It’s about what you can provide and the need the organization has.
2. Be mindful of the history.
I have seen some pastors be called to places that are well known/popular/in and have followed a highly skilled and sometimes personality driven ministry. That usually does not end well for the one who immediately follows the very effective pastor that has left. One, you are not them. Second, you will encounter resistance to change because the church is successful with the model they are presently using. So, unless you are willing to become a clone, be careful. Make it about making God famous, not stroking your ego.
3. Beware of the traps.
There are many reasons to move. These are some traps to avoid:
* “I hate this place”. Present conflict should not determine future decision.
* “It’s a bigger church”. That green grass can turn out to be Astroturf.
* “This will show them”. Doing ministry with a chip on your shoulder only causes splinter injuries.
4. Opportunity for growth.
This principle is not universal, but I have seen it work in the pastors that are healthy and enjoy growth where they are: The older you get in ministry, you should consider assignments that are clearly aligned with your skill/gift set. When I started in ministry I was a youth pastor, but my skill set is not very strong in youth. The moment I had an opportunity to plant (which I enjoy tremendously) I did that. We grow more when we are in our wheelhouse.
5. Ask God to close doors.
When a call came, I always did three things:
- Season of fasting and prayer.
- Consulted with my WHOLE family.
- Consulted with trusted friends.
- Asked God, that if this was not my call, to close doors. Sometimes he did. Sometimes he said “come on in”.
6. Respect the no’s.
This is a bonus principle. If the person on the other line pressures you, makes you feel that you are the ONLY one that could do this, makes you feel guilty and does not respect your no’s I would highly question whether that call is from God.
If you are considering a call, and would like prayer, please let me know. I will pray for you and with you.