Discerning Church Learning to discern the movement of God's Spirit

The Gift of Transition

We have experienced a few weeks without our Associate Pastor. I have to admit, my plate feels a bit full these days as the only paid staff person at the church. My inclination is hire someone soon. However, we must not react to the pressure of daily/weekly tasks. We must adequately assess what God is doing among us.

In the next several weeks, we will begin the discernment process once again. I think that this will be our sixth time going through the process at First Baptist Muncie. I always approach the process with some level of nervousness but a greater level of anticipation. I am nervous because I never know how it will turn out. I am excited because I know that God is going to show up.

Just yesterday, I was asked if we had a plan to replace our associate pastor. Most people consider a few weeks adequate time to begin a search process. There is an assumption that we will restore what we have lost. But I propose that transition periods are wonderful opportunities to stop/pause and ask God to direct our next steps.

Transitions are difficult, time consuming, energy draining. It is much easier to simply do what we have always done. Eddie Gibbs, in his book ChurchNext: Quantum Changes in How We Do Ministry, reminds us that we no longer have the luxury of life without transitions. He explains,

In a culture of chaos, experimentation and risk taking are the order of the day. p. 34

Periods of transition are often dreaded. We do not always enjoy navigating new waters. But transitions can also be seen as a gift. They give us a chance to reposition our resources, assess God’s leading and find new ways to accomplish God’s mission in our world. May we learn to understand the beauty of transition. May we welcome these periods as gifts from God.