I have been in full-time church based ministry for seven years now. I began working as one of two full-time pastors at a church in Stockton, California three months after my December graduation from North Park University. This past weekend I took some time to think about the past seven years and there were two passages that kept resonating like songs in my soul. They are:
2 Corinthians 3:18
And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
Jacob worked for Rachel for seven years, but it seemed like a few days because he loved her.
I’ve learned over the past seven years that God has never seen his task with me as fixing one problem after another but rather moving me from one degree of glory to another. Understanding how God sees you and what he says about you is pivotal in negotiating the tormenting waves of success and failure while you’re choosing to live out that which you feel you’re being called to.
I have also learned there is no substitute for genuine love. Too many times I’ve fooled myself by calling my cynical opinions and views “apostolic” or “prophetic” words for the bride of Christ. While these flowery and “authoritative” words seem to hold a lot of weight, they truly slowed my days, and ministry, to a crawl. The times when the days turn into weeks which quickly have turned into years is when my love for the calling God has laid upon me is consumed with a genuine love for the one who has called.
As I reflect on the past seven years I can’t help but ask; is the Church in better shape since I started seven years ago? Are the communities I’ve been privileged to serve in stronger because of my time with them? Maybe. Maybe not. Will I still be working within the youth ministry world in another seven years? Will my calling to serve in full-time church based ministry continue over the next seven years? Maybe. Maybe not. Will God continue to transform me from one degree of glory to another through what he has planned? Will my love for him continue to make the next seven years seem like mere days? Absolutely. While Christina and I have no plans for any big moves or changes I will fervently grasp to the present while dreaming of the future with great excitement!