It's an interesting situation that I find myself in. The picture to the left is of the original staff that I came with in 2005. I'm the only one left in that group. I guess you could call me the Survivor.
These 5 years have been some of the highest and some of the lowest in my 23 years of ministry. I didn't expect to go through so much change (organizationally and structurally) and so much emotion that goes along with change. But as I look back on all my years of ministry it seems that the Lord calls me to situations that are "in transition" and I'm graced to be there to lend some stability. At least that is what I see.
What have I learned in 5 years? I've learned:
1) Pacing is important--you can't do it all in the first year/18 months. You have to save some back for the long haul.
2) Pick your battles---some things that look like good things to battle end up being the ones that yield the least opportunity and benefit. Choose wisely
3) Find a way to decompress--the wonderful discovery of being involved with The Ritz Theater came at a time that I needed a way to release my creativity in other realms and to meet others outside of the church.
4) Getting a hold of your health is the best things you can do. Regular exercise benefited me in this last transition as it gave me time to think and be free of "the things that weigh me down"
5) It's all about people--regardless whether they like you are not. I'm called to minister to the entire body --even those who have expressed a dislike for me, my ministry and such.
6) Going another 5 years will require a new me... I'm in the process of evaluating "me" and what that means in the coming years. I can't do years 1-5 again. It has to be a new experience beginning tomorrow.
7) Change is going to come. People will come and go in the church. It's funny to be one of the older (in terms of time here) ones here and I've seen people come and go in my time here. It's just the nature of our world-people come and go. I need to cherish the time I have with people.
8) Err on the side of family---especially in these later years my kids will be winding up their school years. I won't have them back ever again. So--they will be my priority in the coming years.
9) Invest in my marriage. We hit 20 years this year. That's a landmark--but we want to go the distance. I need to do the things that make our marriage better. I don't need to bring home to Diane seconds or thirds after ministry. She deserves better.
10) God is faithful. I look back at my panic moments in these 5 years and realize that the sun rose and set each day and God was faithful. We never lacked or found ourselves wanting.. he was faithful to provide and protect. For this, I am grateful.