More struggle than what it’s worth

In following other blogs, I feel like I have to post every day of the week. Given my work schedule, I don’t always have the energy to do this. And after my last two speaking engagements(one at a nursing home and one doing pulpit supply at a church outside of Coffeeville, MS. this past Sunday, I feel like I need to re-evaluate my purpose in blogging. The message I shared from Ephesians 4:11-16 is important:  God gives certain roles like evangelist, pastor, etc, to some Christians so that all God’s people can be prepared for works of service–the result being unity in the local church and preponderance of sound doctrine and love. However, I almost did not have a chance to preach due to some miscommunication with a member of the pulpit committee at this church. It has been a struggle for me to get into the ministry after answering God’s call some 20-25 years ago, walking away from it, and trying to get back in His good grace. I even feel hypocritical that Pat and I have not moved our church membership to a local body of Christ since moving to Columbus in February. Part of it is because some churches, as well-meaning as they are, stress belonging to small groups that meet at times we can’t always commit to because of our ever changing schedules at our job. They also seem to be unsupportive of the struggles I have to follow God’s leading. I once read that the call to ministry is both inward and outward; the former coming from God Himself–cultivated through my former churches, Baptist Student Union groups, and employment/ministry at a denomination conference center in the summer of 1992. But there is also the outward call, that my home church in San Antonio recognized when I was licensed to preach in 1996. Such outward call has been missing from both a church in Starkville we attended from the Fall of 2010 until we moved away last summer(and one that emphasizes small group membership–where the members of the group try to tell you where to serve and what group to belong to–without giving me an opportunity to pray about it). 

Another struggle I have deals with circumstances in both my life and Pat’s. Before she met me, she was married for a while in the mid ’90s. However that relationship ended in the “D” word when her ex-husband became abusive. Six months after we got married, I shared my call to the ministry with a staff member of the church we were attending. I think he knew that Pat was divorced, so he brought that up and tried to dissuade me by saying I could not minister anywhere in the Southern Baptist Convention due to something that is entirely out of my hands. I have also struggled with another area of concern for any minister, and to a larger extent any Christian. Because Pat was unemployed for over a year after she quit her last “real” social work job and had problems going back to work due to a near-fatal blood clot, I was the only spouse working. And because I could not find a better-paying job(something I still struggle with despite my recent promotion), I made some decisions that I regret making–ones that caused some outcomes I am not proud of. This will probably keep me from serving as a pastor or attending a seminary of my denominational background. However, I still feel like God has a special purpose for my life, and I want you to pray for us in finding that purpose–along with a body of Believers we can affiliate with here in Columbus. And I want you to pray about a tangible way you can support my ministry. I am considering The Things Above becoming a 501c3 ministry. Part of this involves having a board of trustees. While we may not meet that often face-to-face, I would like you to pray about helping me with this. I would like to have a seven-member board simply because that is a number God views with special favor throughout Scripture.

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