Monday, December 18, 2006

The End of a Season

It's official: I'm in my last week here at Bethel. I've spent more than a year at this church in ministry, 8 months of that in an internship, and 6 as the children's pastor. Just now am I beginning to feel like I'm fitting in. Funny how now is also the time that I'm being called elsewhere.

There has been many things that I've learned along the way, but the first is that you should never, ever burn bridges. I have had many people tell me in the past that it doesn't matter what happened, what was said -- never use those last days to burn what may be left... instead use them to reinforce them! While there's no danger of me wanting to burn bridges here, I can't support that statement enough. When you leave, always go for allies, rather than leaving enemies.

The second is that it is better to focus on a few things and do them well than to try to do everyone and do none of it well. I had many ideas of what I wanted to do over the past six months, but God always kept the priority in focus: the River. That children's church was one of the main reasons I was hired to stay on, and I was given the opportunity to see it cemented and moored in for the long-haul. As I was talking with one of my leaders yesterday, she said how encouraging it has been for her to see the maturity begin to grow in these kids. I couldn't agree more! We have kids that are authentically interacting with their faith, and the fruits are beginning to show.

The last thing I'll write about is that ministry is never easy. There are many unexpected challenges and attacks that come your way. Things you never would have expected are thrown at you almost daily. The important thing is that you remember who you're doing it for, and why you got into it in the first place. Changing lives is more important than your pride. It's more important than being right. It's more important than looking good. Changing lives is paramount, and there will be knocks along the way that will make you want to turn from the course... but hold steady, God will give you the tail winds to drive you through.

14 months, and it's been an excellent experience. Tough times, good times all sum up into a worthwhile experience that gives me a better perspective moving forward into my own independant ministry. Now I look forward to Fiji!

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