Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart –
The discipline of leading all our people with their struggles into the gentle and humble heart of God is the discipline of prayer as well as the discipline of ministry. As long as ministry only means that we worry a lot about people and their problems; as long as it means an endless number of activities which we can hardly coordinate, we are still very much dependent on our anxious and narrow heart. But when our worries are led to the heart of God and there become prayer, then ministry and prayer become two manifestations of the same all-embracing love of God.
Well, today is the last day of tenure as a pastor at Community Fellowship Church in West Chicago. It’s been a full eight years filled with lots of laughs, tears, sweat, frustrations, and joy. I am grateful to God for the sanctifying influence that my church has had on me as a pastor, disciple, father, and husband. Since we made the decision to move back to Maryland, the last few months have been filled with lots of conversations, meetings, notes, action steps, more conversations, dealing with misunderstandings, forgiveness, some more conversations, and finally closure. I remember having one conversation with a friend who told me to make sure I leave well. I wasn’t sure what that meant so I asked him to clarify. He explained that leaving well is to edify the church, give glory to God, and to set up the church for success. It was a wise and God-supplied conversation. As I finish out this last day of employment at CF, I thought it might be helpful to list a few of the things I experienced as part of the leaving process. In essence, here’s my thoughts on how to transition out of a church well and what to expect. Continue reading
I know that I’ve been silent lately on my blog (and that you have so missed hearing these echoes, right?). I promise to start writing some more thoughts about the recent transition that I’ve been experiencing in life and ministry. It’s been an emotional time, a time filled with much grace, gratitude, and reflection. I sense all around me the faithfulness of God in spite of my faithfulness. Indeed, the Lord is good and his steadfast love endures forever. Stay tuned for some more personal thoughts, but until then, enjoy this thoughtful video about John Piper’s succession at Bethlehem Baptist Church.