Stepping back in
After a 7 year hiatus, I’ve stepped back into the role of senior pastor. My wife and I planted a church in 1988, and I pastored it for 20 years. Like all church plants and pastoral tenures, we experienced ups and downs, setbacks and celebrations.
We weathered the strains of that work, and with much prayer and thought I stepped out of that pastorate to pursue other ministry expressions.
The next several years witnessed unfulfilled dreams, failures and a general crisis of faith. I tasted plenty of confusion, shame, self-doubt and God-doubt.
But I also experienced loads of grace.
Interesting how the two often coincide.
Over the last year-and-a-half, a growing conviction began developing in my heart of hearts. I’m wired for pastoral work. I’ve always known it, but for a variety of reasons struggled to own it.
With a host of self-doubts still whispering in the far corners of my soul, I decided to lean into faith and own my calling. Graciously, I was extended the call to pastor the church my family has been involved in throughout my journey of the last seven years.
Yesterday was my first day back in the saddle of preaching/teaching on a regular basis.
On the way to church, my wife asked me how I was doing.
“Why?” she asked.
I paused, then decided to name my anxiety.
“I hope they like me.”
I’m sure that, somewhere, behind that anxiety is the anxiety of having the audacity to trust the grace of God.
I’m determined to do so.
I’m stepping back in.