It is not easy to do something differently from the way one has always done it. Change takes courage, but most often reaps great rewards!
At times, simply changing the method can be mistaken for changing the task.
I will soon be making a major methodological change in my life and ministry. Many have mistaken that for changing the task.
This is a change that is bathed in much prayer and consideration. It is undertaken with excitement, hope, and a sincere desire to continue to faithfully serve God. At the end of it all, I have always believed this simple promise from the book of Ecclesiastes "... it is God's gift to humanity that every one should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil" (Eccl 3:13).
There has been a great sense of excitement about the new prospects and anticipated opportunities, but of course there is also some sense of sadness at what is to be left behind. I find comfort in the thought that I am not leaving the task, but merely changing the method.
I have lived my adult life seeking to obediently respond to God's call regardless of the cost. At first I naively believed that the call of God and the expectation of God's church were one and the same. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes God's call is to cast one's net on the other side of the boat.
I love the Church, and I will be sad to move out of the mainstream of her life (as local Church minister that is). Whilst I will still be working parallel to the Church, I will miss the joy of obedience that comes from submitting to her authority, yet I will revel in the freedom of knowing that Christian ministry is intended for the world.
It is into largely uncharted waters that I go... Still to fish, but in a different location, still to cast a net, but perhaps with a different technique. I approach the task with the passion, commitment and intent. I pray that those who don't understand will come to see what I see, and that I will have the grace to continue to love those who will never understand.
John 21:5-6 Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.
PS. My Doctorate is done
! I handed it in on the 12th of April! Thanks be to God!!