I miss the fruit...
I have been in the ministry for over twenty years now. I have been senior pastor now for the last 12. During that time I have endured some extreme conflict issues within the different churches I have served. I do not wish to dwell on the specifics too much here. I feel as if I weathered them adequately. However, I feel as if I have allowed this aspect of the pastorate to rob me of the joy I once had in the ministry when I didn't have the senior pastor title.
What bothers me the most, and has me questioning my specific calling, is the fact that I seemed to have a more effective ministry when I served in associate or youth ministry positions. I didn't have to deal with all the politics and committee pleasing that I have to as senior pastor. I just "ministered" and more lives seemed to be effected for the better as a result.
Now I am happy just getting through another week of meetings without incident. Now, it seems as if I spend most of my time putting out fires. It isn't necessarily conflict geared toward me that I am referring too. It is just having to referee the conflict between others and having to navigate through the many social systems set up within each church. It makes genuine minsitry almost impossible. I don't feel as if I am doing anything that much different than I did in those early years that brought me such joy, so much as it is the differences that come with the title. I still love preaching and teaching and writing. But I do know I miss the fruit I once saw.
I'm turning 40 next week and wonder if I should go back to that earlier type of ministry position. Also, I am not sure if I even can, even if I feel like it is right? Would a church call me for that type of position after I have served as senior pastor for so long? Have I gone too far to start over in some new area? Would I still be effective as I once was after all I have been through? Would I regret this change later on? How would this change effect my wife and four kids? These are all the questions I am struggling with right now. Please pray that God will give me clear direction soon and that I will not mess up.
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