Finding New Places of Service -- By: Ray B. Pollard

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 10:2 (Spring 1993)
Article: Finding New Places of Service
Author: Ray B. Pollard


Finding New Places of Service

Ray B. Pollard

Director, Division of Church and Minister Support
Virginia Baptist General Board

Introduction

One of the first parts of the weekly edition of the state Baptist paper we all read is the listing of “changes in the churches,” or some similar title. It lists who has moved where.

Sometimes we read it to see where friends have gone, or who familiar churches have called. And sometimes we read it longingly, wondering why no search committees have come our way in recent months or years.

What we see is that moves in ministry, or lack of them, affect our lives more than we may realize. Our self-esteem, our sense of fulfillment in life, and our excitement in our vocation, are all affected to a degree by the experiences we have surrounding moves in our callings and careers.

Most of us have learned through the years to think of the Christian life as a pilgrimage, a journey of faith which moves in a ceaseless flow of change through the varying circumstances of life. As pilgrimage, life is filled with transitions as the man or woman of faith seeks to discover that place where service and obedience are most meaningfully expressed.

For those engaged in ministry, these transitions involve the move from congregation to congregation, from one institution to another, as we live out our faith and mission. Transitions of career and locale need not be disordered and chaotic. Seldom are they clear moves along a predictable “career track,” but they need not be ventures into an abyss.

The purpose of this paper is to offer insights on how one goes about making a move as a minister which respects both the authority of God and the needs of the church, and the minister and family.

These insights have been gained through more than thirty years of personal experience as a pastor, and five years of experience in working with hundreds of ministers and churches in their periods of transition through my work as director of Church-Minister Relations on a state convention staff.

How to Know When It’s Time to Move

A very wise minister once advised young pastors, “Never make a decision to move when you are weary, or on Monday morning!” What he was saying was that there are many factors which tempt a person to move that are not worthy motives.

It sounds great to say that when it is time to move, God will tell us. But few ministers of my acquaintance can easily sort out less noble feelings from the leading of God without considerable soul searching and testing. Given the human realities of our changing mo...

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