This coming Sunday, I will be announced as the new high school pastor at Calvary Fellowship. It’s a step in the direction I’ve felt as a calling for some time – that is, being a pastor. Yes, I still want to be a writer, but I’ve also felt the desire to preach, counsel, and essentially pastor fellow followers of Christ. I’ve known for a long time that it’s a difficult task and it requires a lot of time and energy. And now I’m about to be tested to see if I can handle it.
A question came to mind a couple weeks ago, though, that was somewhat challenging. Our former high school pastor has just moved to California where his wife obtained a job working in a dental office. There was an immediate need for his pastoral role to be filled, which made me wonder if I chose to take over because of obligation or because of my heart to lead people in the Lord?
It’s a tough question that has, from time to time, made me a little uneasy – especially with this next Sunday coming up. And with as much as I’ve been working, I haven’t really had much time to seriously consider the task and whether or not I’m up for it. Strangely, though, God has still been giving me answers.
Test and see for yourself…
As my friend told me last week, we’re never going to know what we’re capable of or who we’re meant to be until we “get out there and try,” as she said. Peter didn’t know if he was able to walk on water or not until he stepped off the boat. But back to my question: Is it obligation or God calling me? Am I simply taking care of an unmet need in the church or am I responding to the inner movement of God’s Spirit?
The answer is both.
I talked about him a while back, but my friend Peter (an Episcopalian priest) once told me to live out the questions rather than ask them. I honestly believe it’s a mindset far too overlooked in our Christian society. We’re expecting God to appear to us like He did to Saul on the road to Damascus and tell us what we’re supposed to be doing. Or as Peter told me, we’re expecting an email from God. And the longer we wait for that to happen, the more of our lives we waste.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” – Hebrews 11:1
This is one of the only definitions of faith from Scripture. Almost all the other times faith is talked about or described it’s either in a parable or in a story, like Abraham believing God’s promise. And like Abraham believing God’s word to him, we’re asked to believe God even though there aren’t any clear sign posts leading the way. We’re asked to drive through the fog patch even though we can barely see two feet in front of us. God says, though, that in following Christ, we only need to see His footsteps.
Churches are led by leaders of various ministries. Many bigger churches have multiple ministries while a lot of the smaller ones have much fewer ministries. But no matter what, there are needs within the ministries that need to be met in order for the church body to move forward in the Lord. I’ve used this metaphor before, but a church is like a ship crew sailing on the high seas. Every person has a job to do – either by obligation or passion – to keep the ship afloat and sailing. And oftentimes, it’s going to be hard work.
Obligation tells me that my position on the ship of Calvary Fellowship is the high school pastor – because that is what is needed. It just so happens, though, that I’ve had this calling – this inward conviction of something unseen or at least unclear – that beckons me towards leadership roles in the church. God has grabbed my heart and led me to a point where obligation and calling are intertwined. And based off of previous experience with changes in my walk with the Lord, the ship is about to be rocked and the work is likely to be difficult. Storms will rage and tear at our will to move forward, but Jesus will still be walking on water.
**P.S. Calvary Fellowship’s Ministry Fair is a week from this Sunday (October 2nd) and everyone is invited to come check things out. We have a lot of ministries doing work and we would love for people to get involved.