Thursday, May 07, 2015

It's all good (and stuff)

I can remember there being several years when I felt like I was right in the center of God's will for my life (or however you want to say that). Life was good. I felt like I was MADE to be a small church pastor. I believed I was right where God wanted me to be. The fact that things didn't work out - or didn't end so well - does not diminish that truth (at least in my opinion).

I have taken a boatload of personality profiles, leadership tests, and whatnot... and I always seem to fall pretty close to center, or even, or in that smallest of small minorities that can't really be described by test results. Even when it comes to being an introvert or extrovert... it's hard to distinguish which way I lean. The several times I've taken the APEST test, I have very little variance between the five. I've always attributed part of this to being ambidextrous, even though I have no idea if it's true or not, but that is also what I believe made me such a perfect fit as a small church pastor. I wasn't really good at any one thing, but I was "okay" in a lot of areas. Lately I've been thinking about "fit" quite differently though.

Occasionally I will have someone ask me if I'm "ready to get back into ministry." I know what they mean. They want to know if I'm ready to be a pastor in a church again. It's kind of strange, but I honestly don't even think in those terms anymore. In fact, I don't really think I've ever STOPPED doing ministry. Yes, my occupation has changed; my context has changed; but I don't believe my relational approach to other people has changed all that much. I don't think *I* have changed all that much in that regard either.

It's like the deal with being missional. Tom and I have been talking about this for years. Some people believe "being missional" requires participation in a mission community, or that you have to have a project, or be 'doing something,' or all these other quantifier/qualifiers. I agree with Tom in that missional is simply how we live out our faith and participate in the reconciliation of all things with God - IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES: in our families, at work, in our activities and whatnot. It's not something SEPARATE that we do; it is A PART OF us and what we naturally do.

So when I think about the prospect of coaching people - whether I'm coaching a church pastor or an atheist - I approach them from the same mindset of helping them find their inner self; their true calling; their God-given nature, if you will. And, while my skill-set used to lend itself more to doing that in a small-church context, I believe I can adapt to any and all contexts I find myself in in the Kingdom of God. The point is seeing life as kingdom-centric rather than church-centric. The context is different (kingdom instead of church) but none of the rules change - at least in my mind.

Eh... I'm not putting this into words very good. But I have felt myself moving towards this for a long time. I believe I was doing exactly what I was made to do for several years while I was pastoring a small church. That time has come and gone. I knew for several years I was being "called elsewhere," so to speak. I just didn't have the guts to follow God's leading. I believe I am still serving in full-time ministry, albeit without the occupational title. In fact, I could possibly be even more full-time than I used to - I no longer have the stress of trying to turn "on" and "off."

Well, the longer this gets, the cloudier I seem to be making it. I should probably just stop. One of these days maybe I'll try to explain it to myself again. For now... I'm good. I have lots of regrets and many things can and do make me sad... but, really, I'm good. It's all good.