I have been so grateful for friends that have called, texted and supported us in our move to Jacksonville. I am not kidding when I say, we have some incredible, kingdom-minded friends. Just yesterday alone, I woke up to a sweet text from a friend in Ocala praying for our services at Chets Creek. And then later in the afternoon, another friend wrote to say she was thinking of us and hoped we had a wonderful morning of worship!
Man, THIS is the kind of love that we (Christians) should be known for. Not self-seeking or self-gratifying, but just-because-I-care love with no other pretense.
I have to be honest, one of the hardest parts of transitioning in ministry is leaving one church for another and praying they truly get that it's about the mission and don't take it personally. These calls and texts from friends are exactly the encouragement I've been needing in this season. And I felt a strong sense that maybe there are some of you who are needing this encouragement as well. I hope you'll keep reading, and find some inspiration for your kingdom-work, my friend.
A little over a month ago, we packed up our home and said goodbye to one ministry to start another. I wouldn't say it's been an easy transition, because I'm not sure that "easy" and "transition" ever really go well together. But I do believe it's been a healthy one.
After so many years in student ministry, I remember my husband (Josh) saying multiple times that "a sign of a healthy transition is when you leave a ministry and it doesn't fall apart."
His reasoning, at the time, was to encourage leaders in the student ministry to invest in the lives of those students so that the ministry was not all about him. If he relied solely on his own (super awesome) personality and (incredibly gifted) teaching to transform the lives of students, then what would happen if he ever left? (adjectives in parentheses inserted by his super-fan wife 😉)
A question that can only be answered when someone ultimately does, leave.
I love hearing and seeing what God continues to do in the ministries we have been blessed to be a part of. There were some great things that happened under our leadership and some even greater things that have happened since we moved on! Not all the seeds we planted grew while we were there. But it's exciting to watch from afar and know that when growth does happen, someone else had the blessing of doing the watering.
Ultimately, it is God that grows that seed. And we could never take credit anyway.
I think it is a temptation for all of us, especially our media-saturated, status-driven generation, to become deceived and prideful about growth. It's easy to see why - a lot of people attending our ministry is an exciting thing! And should be celebrated, no doubt!
But pride will quickly shatter a kingdom-heart. Other ministries become competitions and other ministers become competitors. Jealousy and selfish ambition are signs of the last days - and unfortunately, the church is not an exception.
The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. This is the church, friends. Working together with the same purpose. It doesn't always have to look the same. In fact, it shouldn't always look the same. We are each called to play different roles in different lives at different times. Planting and watering. One is not more important than the other, but both are necessary. And ultimately, the growth - the glory, the awe, the wonder and beauty - is God's.
This is what it looks like to be workers for the Kingdom. And you know how people will know we are His? Not by tweeting our service numbers (although, I pray they are growing!) but by cheering each other on.