It has been so long since I last posted I had to see what I had written. And it may be my greatest understatement of all time when I say that a lot has transpired since I last wrote.
For the first time in my adult life I am no longer starting or leading a church. There is no big story to report; this has been brewing for a long time. I just couldn't come to grips with what my heart was telling me. Now, the time has come to follow through on my commitment to Christ in a different venue. I am working in the secular work place.
Once upon a time . . .
Early on, as a church planter, I spent most of my time around un-churched people. God's gift to me was the ability to build relationships with people from a world so different from life inside the institution of the church. During that time, those in the churches I led knew that they possessed the gifts to minister to each other, and so they never felt like my absence from them was a case of neglect. Focusing on those not yet spiritually accounted for seemed like the right thing for their pastor to be radically committed to.
Over the years, however, I found that I was giving less and less time (actually no time) to building a bridge to those whom Christ came to redeem. To use biblical metaphor--the ninety-nine in the fold became my priority, and the one outside the fold was talked about, but never pursued. Can I be blunt? There are many witnesses who could stand and testify that I really suck at staying in the fold. They are absolutely correct, and I don't believe they would be trying to be unkind in saying so. Although I dare not speak for every pastor, for me personally, I don't believe staying with the herd or flock is where my gifts would be best invested.
I am sure that Jesus didn't (I know. I am not Jesus).
It is a tough transition, but not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. However, there is a lot to be said about the security, identity, and familiarity that leading a faith community on daily basis provides. Those who know me best, know that I struggle with insecurity and the need to be needed and accepted.
But all is well. . .
My friends within the church are still my friends.
We still talk--there is goodwill.
We still love and respect each other.
We still want to see the same end result--the advancement of Christ's Kingdom.
My brothers and sisters release me with their full blessing.
It is agreed. . . Bill will best enjoy the adventure and employ the gifts God gave him out on the edges.