In the moment I gave up, God began to move. I had worked for many months within our church to spread the truth of God’s Word. I had been trumpeting the standards of leadership and the need for accountability per scripture. Each time I spoke of these things, wrote these things or taught these things; I was harshly criticized for being young and naive. The discouragement in this was not the personal criticism, it was the unrelenting disregard for God’s Word. It was painful to see “wise” people rationalize a way around God’s standards. I did not doubt myself or my age. I was not speaking from personal knowledge and experience, but from the truth of God’s Word. When we stand on God’s Word we have a solid and string foundation. Many people trip over that foundation because they are not watching their steps. This was the case in our church.
In a congregational meeting in the late Fall, the people made a call to elect me as the Lead Pastor. In that meeting the leadership that existed would not hear of such. They were convinced, based mostly on age and my fervent holding to God’s leadership standards, I was not going to be the pastor. They never allowed the motion to move forward. This spun a web of discord, lies, hatred, sadness, anger and confusion. It literally tore the church apart for many weeks to come. It was from this very event that the people who were standing in opposition to God’s Word began to work to discredit my leadership. The personal attacks were deep and painful. But, my pain came from seeing our people hurt. Their church, their safe-haven, had become a war zone. We were destroying God’s church. It was bad.
That is when I truly collapsed. I decided that maybe this was not God’s plan or timing. In a Board Meeting, that followed the explosive congregational meeting, a few weeks later the discord was more evident. The people voiced their desire for my leadership, the leadership voiced their opposition to that; and they all were in great turmoil. I simply spoke to the people in that meeting and said the following:
“I will lead if it is your will. God has called me to be a pastor. But, I will not be the catalyst for discord and anger. If my presence brings these results, I need to move on. I want to be a catalyst for life change, peace and healing. If that can be the case, then I will lead. I am here to serve and I am here to lead.”
At the close of the meeting the small handful of those in opposition of my leadership stepped down from their positions of leadership. Not only did they relinquish their position, but they also stepped out of our congregation. We lost some wonderful people that night. But, God opened the door for God-centered, scriptural leadership. It was night of break-through. God made it possible to move forward.
This is not a fairy tale by any means. There have been plenty of struggles since that night. And, there will be plenty more to come. But since that night peace and harmony have been restored to our church. We have begun to grow. Since that night in late November, we have seen a 40% growth in our congregation. God is amazing. I gave up and got out of the way, and then God could move. I chose to sacrifice the position and opportunity, and God used that to work.
Just last month the transition was completed for me. I went from a youth/interim pastor to the Lead Pastor of our church. I am humbled and completely amazed by God. I never would have written this chapter in my life a year ago. I would never have imagined that God would fulfill His call in my life to pastor so soon. But that is why I am such a believer in Ephesians 3:20
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, (ESV)
This is not a story about me. It is a story about God and His faithfulness. I have gained nothing from this entire journey except a deeper knowledge and understanding of how much God loves us. I have learned that having faith in the promises of God’s Word will take you farther than you can imagine. I have learned that He is faithful even when we are not! I have learned that God has bigger plans for us, much more than we have for ourselves. I have learned that when we sacrifice our desires at the alter of faith, He provides the sacrificial ram. He is faithful to us today, just as he was to Abraham. We simply need to give up, get out of the way, and let Him work! He is God! He deserves ALL the glory. AMEN!
Click to Read Part 1 & Part 2