Church Leaders: Why Growth Requires Struggle
This post is directed toward those who may be sensing God calling them to something different, but they want to stay where they are comfortable; those who can’t make the decision to move or who tend to stay within their comfort zones. I totally get it - for whatever reason, the thought of leaving what you know is feels too dangerous or uncomfortable. So you don't risk it, and the decision is left unmade.
Here at Vanderbloemen, we interact with ministry candidates daily who have these same fears. And sometimes it's not the candidates, but their spouse or family who have their doubts when it comes to making a big move or taking a new job.
This topic is very near and dear to my heart, because I may be in the running for the most overly-cautious person ever created, but last year, I took the plunge, gave up all that was known to me and took a chance, accepting a new job and moving to a new city.
Here are some takeaways from my journey from comfort to growth.
1. Greater growth requires greater struggle.
When I want to get physically stronger I must lift weights, work hard, and become sore. God created our body to take that physical struggle and transform it into physical growth. The same principles apply to our spiritual growth. God can use any place in life to grow us, but we often grow most when we are out of our comfort zone. For me, moving out of my comfort zone meant moving from the middle of nowhere Virginia to Houston, Texas. And I grew in multiple areas, as the move forced me to examine what kind of church to look for, how I needed to steward my time and finances better, and how to value the quality relationships I would be leaving behind, just to name a few.
2. The unknown gets a bad rap.
Henry Ford once said that if he had listened to customer feedback, they would have wanted him to make a faster horse. But Ford embraced the idea that what we didn’t know could be possible about transportation was not a bad thing. He set out to explore the unknown. Was failure an option? Yes. However, the possibility of failure was outweighed by the opportunity for growth and discovery. The same rings true about your impact for the kingdom when it comes to taking that step of faith into the unknown. Faith is stepping out when we don’t know what could happen; how are we to grow when we stick to what we already know?
3. If you think you have arrived, it might be time to move.
I recently had to chance to listen to a pastor talk about why he was deciding to move on in his ministry after being a pastor at one church for over 25 years. He said he understood that it was time for someone with a new perspective to move into leading the church. This pastor had set the table for the next leader to come in and take the church to the next level, while he moved on to help the kingdom in other ways. He knew that his capacity had been reached, and God was calling him on to another ministry season.
If you're having a difficult time making decisions related to a church job transition, don't wait for a burning bush to tell you what to do. God calls us to deeper waters, and He promises that in those waters we will grow. When we move into the unknown, more becomes known; And when we learn to struggle, we learn to grow.
How has God helped propel you out of your comfort zones on your path? What advice do you have for people considering a transition?
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