Yesterday I began my fourth year at Our Savior’s. Not a big deal by most standards, but passing the three-year mark is kind of a big deal for me. I’ve been at two churches less than 3 years and leas than 3 1/2 years at four others. Only once have I stayed five years.
I will let you draw your own conclusions about my itinerant ministry and whether or not that is a good thing. I will tell you, however, that my wife and I sensed a very clear call by God to every place we have ministered over the past 30 years. On at least two occasions we second-guessed that call when the choice to leave was not ours. We have shared some exciting and memorable moments as servants of God in 5 states (MN, MO, MA, ID, WA). We have made some amazing friends, mentored and discipled some enthusiastic followers of Jesus, and provided pre-marital counseling for several couples. We have moved a lot and spent way too much money on moving supplies and home renovations, but we have become pretty savvy at buying and selling homes. We sold three homes by owner and bought two of those houses directly from the owners.
I have friends who have ministered in one place for 20 years. I have two colleagues at this church who have been here more than 10 years (one of them has been here 18 years!). On the one hand I regret that I will never hit the 20 year mark in one location. At the age of 53 the best I could do now is probably 10-12 years . On the other hand, if we had not been to all of these places we would not have met those friends from St Louis or Massachusetts. We wouldn’t have witnessed the spiritual growth of youth and young adults ( including our own daughter) in Minnesota or Spokane. It has truly been a rich adventure in watching God direct our steps and faithfully provide for us when the future looked pretty bleak.
What do you think?
As a second chair leader have you been able to establish a long-term ministry? What advice would you give other second chair leaders in establishing a long-term ministry?
Do you think it is easier or harder for first-chair leaders to stay around longer?