Yesterday morning, for the first time in almost 10 years, I woke up without sheep to lead.
God called me to lead the Charisma Media Group and, by necessity, I had to resign my pastorate. As I told the church, I never anticipated leaving the pulpit. I never wanted to leave the church even one day during my time with them.
I'm thankful for the leading of the Holy Spirit and thankful to be assigned to Charisma Media for the remaining years of my career.
I'm also thankful for a Spirit-led transition at our church.
Man often gets in the way of transitions. Issues, preferences and opinions muddy up clear waters. When God called a wonderful couple to be the new leaders of our church, God showed me they would lead even before He showed them. I knew in my spirit who God would set in place for the next season of our church.
The amoeba cell of transition is to know that God will sustain His work. The work was never mine. It was kingdom work, and God always provided. There was never lack.
When people began to talk about church matters in future tense, I naturally began to shake a bit. It wasn't easy to hear about changes that would be made and new buildings and new energy for growth. The flesh hurt. But in my spirit, I couldn't have been more excited to know that our people saw that the work would continue and all would be well.
Many of you have led transitions, many times. This was my first. I'm not sure I led the transition as much as I just stayed out of the way and let the Holy Spirit lead all of us. But I offer a few take-aways from the experience:
1. I needed the voice of God more than ever. My personal time with Him prepared me for what was to come. Leaders of transition must pray fervently for peace to prevail.
2. Journal. I wrote often about what I was feeling. In my prayer and writing time, God was clearly present and comforting.
3. Don't bring the transition into the pulpit. We did the best we could to invite the presence of the Lord into every service. I remained mindful that our people attended church to worship and experience the presence of the Lord. Man shouldn't hinder worship with table matters.
4. Hold relationships close. The keys to the kingdom begin with relationships. Many of us spoke very clearly about what we meant to each other. We spoke about how life had changed when Jesus came into our lives. We only spoke words of life. During the entire transition, we protected each other with our words.
5. Let go. Thankfully, I was given a great couple to continue the work of the church. The best gift I could give them was to love them, encourage them and stay out of their way. I have complete confidence in their call and their potential as spiritual leaders. They have made it easy for me to let go.
Someone told me along the way that if it didn't hurt to leave, I probably wasn't much of a pastor. I don't know if that is the metric that matters most, but it rings true in my heart.
I notice now that my prayers still include many people from my church. I hope I never transition away from remembering always to pray for those I have loved so dearly.
Paul gave us a great example for continuing to pray for churches he established.
To God be the glory, great things He has done and will do.
"I thank my God for every reminder of you. In every prayer of mine for you all, I have always made requests with joy, due to your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. ... For God is my witness, how I long after you all with the affection of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:3-6, 8).
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.
NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.
The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.