Many of you know by now that this is my last year doing ministry on campus with SCF. In fact, I’m now in my last month of doing full-time vocational ministry and will be transitioning into my new job starting sometime in May. This may come as a surprise and a shock to many of you, so I want to provide you with a little bit of a back story and then end by looking toward the future.
The Back Story
In August of 2013 I was presented with an opportunity to be part of a church plant to midtown Detroit and head up the campus ministry at Wayne State University. After thinking, praying, and talking about this with many people for a month, my wife and I felt like this wasn’t the right opportunity for us. But what it did was set me on course for the next year and a half of praying and seeking the Lord for what was next.
Throughout that time, I thought about and considered many things: future campus ministry, seminary, pastoral ministry, and even opportunities outside of ministry. I was asking questions and praying through issues like: Where could I best serve the Lord, my family, and the church? How could I best use my gifts in service to the Lord’s kingdom? My desire was to lay my life down before the Lord and say, “your will be done.”
One morning in December, after spending extended time praying about my future, I received a call from one of my supporters asking if I’d be interested in interviewing for a job. At the time I wasn’t sure, but I had just been praying about my future so I thought I had better at least look into this opportunity. After the interview I was surprised by how excited I was about the company and the position, which would allow me to pursue my interest in renewable energy (a major reason why I had studied Biosystems Engineering at MSU).
After that came more praying, more conversations, and a lot of waiting. Throughout that process I had peace and excitement to move forward if I was given an offer. In March I officially received the offer, and after discussing the situation again with friends and family, I officially accepted it.
Leaving full-time vocational ministry is bittersweet. It’s bitter because I will miss my colleagues that I’ve labored with on campus for the last five years; I’ll miss the students that I’ve discipled and spent hours and hours with studying the Bible, praying, and hanging out; and I’ll miss the up-front view I’ve had to see the Lord change lives in drastic ways on campus.
But it’s also sweet. It’s sweet because I’m leaving on good terms and with a good taste in my mouth. I still love my church (which I’ll still be attending and serving), I still love my colleagues, I still love the students, and I still love doing ministry. It’s not that I got burned out or disillusioned. No, but in many ways I love Jesus more, appreciate his church more, and am thankful for the gospel even more.
It’s also sweet because this change is not from ministry to not-ministry. It’s rather a shift in ministry, and it’s exciting to trust the Lord for how he will lead my family and me and use us in this next phase of our lives.
We know from Scripture that we don’t direct our own steps or lean on our own understanding or always understand our way, yet we do make plans, we do take steps, and we do it all while acknowledging God and trusting in him (cf Prov. 3:5-8, 16:1, 16:3, 16:9, 19:21, 20:24, Psalm 37:23, Jer. 10:23). It is God who establishes our steps and plans, who gives purpose, who provides answers, and who makes straight our paths. This year-and-a-half long journey has been a walk of faith to try to humbly walk with God while seeking wisdom for the future.
As I look forward to this new phase of life, my prayer is that I would be faithful to live the life that God has assigned to me and called me to (1 Cor. 7:17), that I would be diligent to use my gifts to serve his church (1 Pet. 4:10, Rom. 12:6), and that as I go I would be obedient to the call on my life as a believer in Jesus Christ to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20).
To God be the glory!