How To Move Through The Unexpected

It was a little bit of a shocker.  Yesterday, Arch Bishop O’Brien (Arch Bishop of Baltimore) announced Pope Benedict XVI had appointed him Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.  That means he’ll be leaving Baltimore, a place he thought he would finish out his days.  In a press conference he mentioned how much Baltimore had become his home and how difficult it is to say good bye.  And though he is sad, you could tell that he’s embraced this appointment. (watch press conference here)

Some of us may never face being asked by our pastor to take a new position; however, we will be asked by God to do something that we may not feel ready to endure.  When an authority gives us a new role the right thing to do is accept (unless it’s unjust), but that’s a lot easier said than done.  To embrace the new role you will have to:

  • Identify Your Emotions: You may feel angry, excited, anxious or all of the above.  If you don’t name your emotions you may end up ignoring the true trigger.  Identify the feeling, you’ll identify the obstacles that stand in your way of embracing the situation.
  • Listen:  A lot of noise comes with big change.  Not only will you need to deal with your emotions, but those of others.  People will react to your announcement with approval and disgust.  Let the noise run it’s course and then listen for God’s voice in the silence.  Seek His counsel first.
  • Create The Path: While seeking God’s counsel look to laying out the steps that will lead you from one role to the next.  Embracing the situation means fleshing out a plan. 
  • Honor Authority: You may not agree, but you need to trust your pastor that he has wisdom in the decision.  You’ll honor him, by embracing the role with integrity.  On top of your pastor, give glory to God, because it’s a part of His plan.  It might not be clear, but remember it will lead to something bigger.

5 years ago I was asked to move from middle school ministry to oversee all of student ministry.  Sounds like a transition that most of us would welcome, but for me it was a challenge.  I was set on middle school youth ministry, thought I would do it for life.  When asked to make the transition I sought counsel and reflected on what was going on in my mind and heart.  Change is hard because it can be a reminder that we aren’t in control.  But, that’s okay, you aren’t supposed to be.
Has your pastor ever asked you to make a role change?  How did you deal with the transition?