I made one of the most challenging decisions I have ever had to make
Reference: v.17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. (TNIV Bible)
Explore: At the last church I worked for I was part of planting a new congregation. We were living out in a growing suburb of Melbourne and, while there were many new residents, there were only a few churches.
Our church resourced and encouraged a new congregation to grow and develop in this new area.
Unfortunately, throughout the course of planting, I had a disagreement with the church’s leadership. I had made a personal decision that the leadership did not like and I felt that they then, in turn, started to make my working environment very difficult.
It is challenging to plant a new faith community under the best of circumstances let alone whilst in conflict. I also was uncomfortable with how this one conflict area was impacting the rest of the church and the different congregations.
Therefore, I made one of the most challenging decisions I have ever had to make and I stepped out of ministry.
In the last couple of years since making that decision I have been asked numerous times if I will ever go back into ministry. I always answer in a very vague way.
For one, I believe that you can be ministering to people no matter where you work. But two, I wasn’t sure what the future held for me as I didn’t feel that God had necessarily called me out of ministry.
As Christians, we often talk about feeling ‘called’ to something. This is a way of saying that, through different forms of communication, you think that God would really like you to do this particular thing.
For me, I felt that I stepped out of church ministry due to human decision, not due to God’s leading. I don’t believe that the leadership of the church made wise Godly decisions at the time, and I don’t believe that the end result was the best for God’s kingdom. However, it was due to human decision that I stepped out of ministry, not that God was ‘calling’ me somewhere else.
Application: This isn’t the only time that God’s ministry has been stunted due to human decision. Even in the bible, in Mark 5, we see a community push Jesus away due to immense fear. They pleaded with Jesus to leave.
While we all strive to do the best by God there are times when we miss the mark. Thankfully, God still loves us and approaches us with grace and forgiveness.
However, it is important that we learn from these experiences and strive not to make the same mistakes. There is enough that pulls people away from God, we don’t want our selfish decisions to stand in the way of people connecting to their Saviour.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we put our own desires before Your kingdom. Help us to view our challenges with Your wisdom, not our own. Amen.
When have you pushed God away?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.