One of my greatest fears is that I won’t know when to leave, stop and quit.  When my husband retired 11 years ago, I had told him that I didn’t intend to “retire.”  Yet, on the other hand, I also don’t want to hang around after my time is up.  No matter whether it’s ministry or a treasured friendship or a time to stop any other activity, knowing when to step way is vital to the growth of a person and an organization, especially the church.

Of course, I remember Corrie Ten Boon’s greatest evangelistic meetings and world-wide travel didn’t begin until after she was 65 years old.  There is the reality of Winston Churchill who didn’t become Prime Minister of England until he was 66.  He became prime minister again at the age of 77 and served until he was 81.  But what about the person who has outlived his days of freshness and everyone knows he should walk away but he wants to continue to be the final authority, the boss.

In facing the years ahead, there are things I can do to prepare for the time the Lord nudges me away so that others can move forward.

  1. I can be determined to walk in humility.  Of course, this isn’t easy for anyone,  However, stepping back is especially for a person who sees herself as a “leader.”  For me, the easiest position I can take is being the one who oversees the action.
  2. Understand that the main job of a leader is to cast the vision for an organization.  When the ability to cast a vision is gone, it could be  time to step down from leadership.  The greatest clue is when you want to do things the way we’ve always done them.  Change becomes abhorrent.
  3. I can continue to learn how to be a better helper.  While I know that the spiritual gift God has placed on me is administration, I, also, realize that sometimes people who are the leaders needs other eyes and ears to help shape and implement their vision.
  4. I must keep in mind that God is able to cover all the parts when the need arises.  Most of the time when I’ve left one position, I find that it’s a lot like taking my hand out of a bucket of water.  The water remains and so does the bucket.

When it happens to us, change is almost never seen as a good thing.  We all like the status quo.  Yet, as a Christian, we know that God is never a static God.  Everything is in constant flux, regarding God’s world and the Church.

Part of the godly way is knowing when we are part of the Lord’s plan for change and walking into that change.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

–Corrie ten Boom

Ready or Not--Here I come

Ready or Not--Here I come

I love change and moving furniture and being involved in a dynamic organization like The Special Gathering that is constantly looking for ways to make things better and improve.  As a ministry within the developmentally disabled community, there are a myriad of things to learn and experience.  Each day must be a new beginning and adventure.  Though our mission remains focused on discipleship and evangelism, the way we do things is open to discussion and growth.  This brings me a lot of pleasure.

However, there is a down side to change.  That comes when you are asked to change at the last minute and you ain’t prepared.  That was the opportunity we had on Sunday and it turned into an exciting adventure.  First United Methodist Church of Melbourne, our gracious host church in South Brevard, was having a wonderful celebration with all the ministries of the church participating.  Because we must catch our buses to go home, it was decided that we would not have our choir sing or attend the worship service. 

Yet, during preparation for our worship service, we were approached by the pastor and he asked that our choir sing at the beginning of the joint worship service.  “Sing the song you were practicing a few minutes ago.  It sounded great,” the Senior Pastor, John Denmark, requested.  My concern was that the choir had only sung that song about five or six times.   I don’t mean that we had practiced it during six rehearsals.  I mean that we had only sung this song a total of five, maybe six, times.

Singing a new song after so few rehearsals would be a feat for any choir but our members are developmentally delayed.  It seemed impossible.  However, the choir was more than game. “They can’t sing.  They aren’t wearing their uniform,” was heard from several naysayers.  I admit that Stuart’s shorts weren’t appealing to me.  Yet, it was a celebration and this is Florida where semi-formal wear always means clean jeans. 

Leslie is a committed Christian who would be singing the solo for this song in the Christmas play where we intended to sing it for the first time.  Leslie’s smile is amazing and her willingness to cooperate is legendary.  But Leslie’s voice has such a narrow range that most people would call her a monotone.  I found that this song matched the few notes she is able to sing.  However, did I go so far as let her sing during the opening of a celebration with about 1,500 people?  My decision was yes.  And no one was disappointed, especially Leslie.  The tenderness and compassion displayed in her facial expression and especially in her eyes told the listening congregation that this young woman loves Jesus with all her heart. 

I was so proud of our choir but I was especially excited for Leslie.  Excellence is vital in a performance but love is much more important.  Leslie has a terminal disease and we could lose her any moment.  I’m so pleased that 1,500 people could see and witness her desire to please her savior. 

Ready or not–we came and we sang and I’m so happy we did.

Has there been a time that you stepped out when you didn’t feel prepared?  What were the results?

Photo by Volar