Transitioning From One Ministry to Another
Today is my final day in the study at the Lehman Avenue church building. My entire study (books) has already been relocated to my new study at Glendale Road. Tomorrow, the moving company will arrive to pack us up. On Sunday night, I’ll preach a farewell sermon at Lehman Avenue, and on Monday morning, the movers will return to load us up and take us to Murray. I find that the older I get, not that I’m old, the more I dislike change. I find great comfort in routine. This may be characteristic of my INTJ personality according to the Myers-Briggs spectrum.
While our new ministry is exciting, transitioning itself can be a bag of mixed emotions. We’re happy but also sad. We’re excited, but also anxious. You name it, we’ve run the gamut of paradoxical emotions only because we’re leaving a place that we dearly love to go to another location we dearly love. The one thing that I’ve endeavored to do when leaving Lehman, as I’ve tried to do at other places too, is to follow the advice my father gave me when I was a child. At least in principle, the advice makes sense for many situations. He always told me that if I used something of someone else’s that I ensure that I returned it better than it was given to me. For example, if I borrowed a neighbor’s lawn mower that had half a tank of gas, I should return it with a full tank of gas to demonstrate my gratitude.
Transitioning amounts to making sure that where you leave looks fondly upon you after you’ve left. Therefore, I’ve tied up all the loose ends that I could. Since the education department was my responsibility, I’ve made sure that the remainder of the teaching year has been worked out and that the deacon in charge has the information that he needs. Since I was responsible for coordinating Vacation Bible School, I’ve had two meetings and assigned people their roles while handing over what remained to our summer youth intern with instructions as to how to see it through. Because I know who will fill my role once I’ve gone, I’ve shared with the incoming minister what he needs for this position and made myself available should he have any questions once he’s arrived in July. Looking ahead, communicating clearly, and executing what needs to be is an excellent way to leave one ministry for another.
We ministers are servants. We’re stewards as well. Because we’ve been entrusted with a small portion of souls to care for, we ought always do endeavor to care for them in ways even such as this. Just because we leave one ministry for another doesn’t mean that we should become careless of the one over which we currently steward because we see something bright in the future. To do so does not glorify God. Rather, it demonstrates poor character, and Christianity is all about being like Christ.
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. (Luke 16:10)