I've always thought that I would be in full time paid ministry at a church somewhere. That was my idea of being successful. I grew up in church, volunteered in every type of ministry imaginable, and even worked hard to get my ministerial credentials and eventually my ordination. But after a few attempts at full time ministry it seems that God has closed that door for the time being.
But that doesn't mean that He hasn't opened another door. I may have just been blind because I was looking in one direction and God was beckoning in a completely different direction. When I moved back to Ada, OK after being let go from my full time position as a youth pastor in south Texas, I wasn't sure where I was going to end up. I knew that I just needed a place to land and heal from the hurt. I got a job as the manager of a Radioshack franchise here, and to be truthful it was only to put food on the table and take care of my family.
Now though it seems that God has lined all this up for a reason (Isn't that always the case?). Over the last 3 years that I've been the manager at Radioshack I have learned more about business, finances, personnel, hiring, teamwork, and leadership than I thought possible. God is opening my eyes to the idea that how I lead and run a small business is a ministry and mission in and of itself. The kind of leader that I am in my business has a lot to do with my personal spiritual values and beliefs.
I still volunteer and lead at my local church, but am not a full time paid staff member. I'm learning what church ministry looks like for the other 99% of the church who are not staff members. It is quite a bit more to deal with when you have to balance family, business, church, and your personal life. To be truthful it's a challenge. I had never thought about things from this point of view. I'm a very dominant and go-getting type of personality and had often judged others by my own motivation and work ethic. I had often wondered why people wouldn't just put in the extra time to volunteer for ministry in the local church and get things done. But now that I'm in their shoes I am seeing things from a whole other perspective. Those of us who are not paid staff have a lot of things on our plate that we have to balance even when we really want to help out in our local church context. There are a lot of things that I would like to do with our local church that I just don't have the time for between a full time job, family and what I already do at my church.
Sometimes, God closes a door because He wants us to wait right where we are to learn something. That is what I'm finding out right now. I'm taking the time that I have right now to become the best leader that I can, because I need to be the best I can be. Whether God ever decides to put me back in full time ministry or allows me to grow and expand where I am, that is completely up to Him. What is up to me is what I do with the time and resources I have. I will do the best that I can with what I have, asking God to bless the work of my hands and reaping the harvest that He provides, but I have to put in the work.
God has great things in store for me and you! That is a promise. The future may not look exactly like we would like it to look. That's true. If you just sit there wallowing in self pity and mourning the loss of your dream, you will never find out what God's dream for your life is. That's a guarantee!