For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven … a time to be quiet and a time to speak. Eccl. 3:1,7
As you get older you should grow wiser. And you should realize that our lives are actually a series of seasons.
Earlier in life people are more active and involved. When someone becomes a parent, they enter in a very active season of life. They must care for and train up their children. They make decisions and establish parameter of behavior.
Before long, children become teenagers and parents change their parenting mode. Then teens become adults and parents. At that point, parents become advisors instead of dictators.
In a way, the same has been true in my ministry. At first, I was very involved, micro-managing. Then I realized that others were learning to minister. As they matured, they were given more and more freedom and responsibility. I realized that the work I began would be continued by others. And my season was changing.
A young lady volunteered to be our secretary. She grew in ministry, learning to minister in other ways and leadership.
She became the main aide to our praise and worship leader. Eventually, she took over praise and worship when needed.
She also became a mentor to young people in the church. That meant becoming a Bible teacher to young people. Soon she filled in the pulpit now and then.
A few years ago, health issues affected my ability to do full time ministry. I had near-fatal pancreatitis. About a year and a half ago I had a stroke one afternoon. While at the hospital a doctor told me I was suffering a second stroke just a couple hours after the first.
Following the strokes, I realized my mental condition was affected. I forgot too much too often. I could not remember names of people I had known. It was even difficult remembering Scripture.
Then, last year my cardiologist told me I needed a stress test. The doctor told me the results were inconclusive, but he had concerns and advised me to have a heart Cath done. He said that would indicate whether I needed a change of medication or open heart surgery.
After the heart Cath, I was told I needed quadruple heart bypass surgery. The same day I was sent to Lime Memorial Hospital.
After surgery, doctors had to put in a pacemaker because my heart rate was way too slow.
Then I was sent to Dorothy Love for three weeks of rehab. And I finally could go home and have physical, occupational and speech therapy.
It was obvious that my season of active ministry had passed. I did take the pulpit a few more times, but full time ministry was just a part of my history. I had entered a season when my ministry would be that of a ministry elder who advised when asked.
Founding Word of Life Ministries, has been the highlight of my ministry, it has become time for someone else to step into the pulpit full time. It was obvious who that would be – our one time secretary/youth minister/praise and worship leader, Ella Colborn.
And so I step out of the ministry I love but am unable to continue. The pain of leaving full time pastoring is more than offset by the joy of seeing the pulpit being filled by someone whose season has come to lead the ministry.
My ministry season is now an advisor and writing Christian articles and books.
Each season requires adjustments. As you embrace the change, it is easier to accept your new season.
The writer is the pastor of Word of Life Ministries, Sidney.