The Irrational Decision In (my) Ministry Leadership
For those of us who have committed our lives to serve Christ, we are susceptible to the irrational decision. But, in a good way, right?
We know Christ’s calling and direction for us (or our churches) may not line up with what culture says is rational. And those decisions even among other Christians may be considered atypical. What may completely align with God’s direction for you personally or even the direction of your church may seem irrational to others.
We have a limited view, God does not. God can use all means of people or circumstances to bring about His purposes.
But even knowing that sometimes what we sense as God’s leading still feels irrational. We hope God does His “crazy work” in others people’s lives and not ours. But what happens when after prayer, counsel and scripture reading what you’re discerning still seems disconnected from typical behavior, a little bit crazy?
Resignation and Rationality
Recently, after a decision my wife and I made, even my six-year-old daughter was questioning my rationality. And she went further to let me know if I acted on my decision, I was on my own.
To set the stage and update some of my readers who do not know…I’ve resigned my Executive Pastor position at Brentwood Baptist Church. Just more than six years ago God gave us Brentwood Baptist to call home. A place to serve, and a place to be served. This is a fantastic church to serve and I’ve had an incredible position in which to serve. Thus, the (seemingly) irrational decision. And to make it feel more irrational, well, I resigned without my next place of service determined.
So, back to my youngest daughter. We had told our older kids about the decision a couple weeks earlier, and now we were telling my seven-year-old son and his six-year-old sister Blake. After telling them about the decision to resign, Blake quipped, “Well, you have another job, right?”
After I tried to manage a response to her questioning of why I’d leave a good job without another one to go to, I could still tell maybe they weren’t getting the gravity of the decision. So, I tried to explain that this decision could mean a move away “from here.” She looked at me in the eyes, and said, “Welp, we’ll miss you, Dad.”
So what happens when you or your church feel God’s leading toward a decision that for all rational and practical reasons, just doesn’t seem right?
Safety in the Status Quo?
I’m a status quo guy. I like to have a plan. In fact, I like to have contingency plans for my plans. I’m not afraid of the unknown, per se. But I am afraid of entering an unknown when I don’t have plans to deal with the unknowns (okay, I’ll admit, I’m leery of unknowns).
So, our decision to step away, well, I’m now in an uncomfortable place. A place that will require me to exercise some faith muscles I haven’t had to use in some time.
But I’ve been here before. Both in my own personal pursuit of God and even in my position of serving a church. Things that seemed scary, and too big, and were fraught with “what ifs” ended up being a clearly designed path by a God who sees it all from an eternal perspective.
So, this blog post doesn’t have any “practical takeaways for everyday church leadership.” I’m not far enough into this faith step to try to articulate what I’m learning (but, perhaps in a future blog). Yet, I do know that God’s ways are not our ways and in some cases, God will ask us to trust Him more than our human rationality He created in us.
I encourage all of us who have stewardship of people and churches to lead reasonably, to lead rationally. But in a way that leaves room for God’s prompting toward irrational steps of faith.
A p.s. for inquiring minds: in early July I made a decision to resign. There was nothing dramatic to it. But simply a decision that reflected months of discernment. Since then, I’ve had the privilege to serve in my role as we worked out a transition plan for my work. This plan is now close to me handing off my “executive pastor duties” to other capable people. After that I will continue to serve the church in other ways for a period of time. Some of you may care to know what’s next. The answer, we don’t know. We’re asking God to provide clarity, and in the meantime, courageous faith. I love serving God in ministry and I’m hopeful for what’s ahead.