This post is part of my adventure series…click here to make sure you catch the whole series.
To borrow the immortal words of William Shakespeare…..”now is the winter of my discontent.”
Six weeks ago I stepped down from a role that I loved doing. Even though, humanly speaking, I didn’t want to…I decided to step out of my role as a worship director at my church after three and a half years for four reasons:
- to preserve unity in the church;
- to submit to my leaders;
- to be obedient to God; and
- to focus on my family – my primary ministry.
This has been one of the single most difficult and painful decisions of my life. I am the kind of person who loves to serve, I like to be active and to be doing something. It is difficult for me to not be serving in what I perceive to be an active way. But over the past couple of months God has been telling me through a variety of ways that it’s time for me to rest. To take a sabbatical. And I’m not going to lie to you. It’s a struggle. Of the 25 years I have been at my church, I have been a part of the music team for 20 years. And God has told me to REST. I am the kind of person who takes a week to unwind when we go on family holidays…and even then I have “stuff” to do.
To be honest, I guess at one level I got a lot of affirmation from being up front, and you certainly find out who your friends are when you stop attending church regularly and its for a reason other than you’re leaving town. Not one person has called or emailed (without wanting something else)…I have been at the church for 25 years. And yes, it hurts. I feel like an utter failure. It’s a lonely path. I have followed God and done as I felt I was directed, but I am feeling alone in a human sense. And I think that God is probably stripping things away that could be taken by my human brain to be attributed to my activity. I have to come to a place where anything that happens can only be through the power of God in my life.
But God is good. Slowly but surely over time He has been showing me that He wants to take me on a journey. I have a chronic case of Mad Church Disease and the next phase of my life is dedicated to healing. I am taking a complete sabbatical from the institutional church to do two things…the first is to go though a phase of restoration, and the second is to go through a phase of reaffirming my foundations. Both of these things are consistent with the biblical concept of the sabbatical, and I’ll be sharing my journey with you as I work though stuff.
When I say complete sabbatical, let me be very clear. I will not be participating in any regular scheduled church service activity. I will not be involved in music ministry, and I won’t be signing up for any other activity. I will be seeking a broader Kingdom view of the Church (sorry for the jargon, I will be blogging more about this in the year ahead) by exploring other arms of the body of Christ. I will not give up meeting with believers. I strongly believe in the value of the Church, but there needs to be a time of separation in order to gain perspective.
My next two posts will cover what I think will be involved in the restoration and reaffirming phases of my sabbatical. I also REALLY want to share with you what God is showing me about Biblical rest. I’ve been a follower of Jesus for 30 years and this is the first I am hearing of this?? Wow!
Now…where does the winter thing come into it? God has been speaking into my life through the guys at Swerve …they posted a series of articles a little while ago about the seasons of ministry. I am in the midst of a period of Winter. There might not be a whole lot going on above the surface – the branches are barren and the ground is covered in smothering snow, but beneath the snowy ground the roots are straining and growing and forming a solid foundation for the explosion of growth when God decides it’s time for the Spring to come and the harvest to start.
I am currently so discontent with the status quo. I want to know what God has for me…what is there in my life that is just church tradition that has been passed down and absorbed, and what does God really want for me? I MUST know.
This is the winter of my discontent…I am going to find the answers to my questions. I am tired of being so busy doing church that I can’t be the Church. Will you pray for me on my journey? Will you step out and join me on my journey? Do you have any questions about why you believe the stuff you believe about God and the church?
If you want to see all of the posts about my adventure click here.