I am starting something new. After 11 years at a parachurch organization, I am re-entering the front lines of youth ministry in the local church. I’m in a new region of the country, in a new role with new people to serve. If you have been in your element for a long time, or like me you are beginning a new chapter, we can all learn from a fresh start. Here are 4 things I am learning or telling myself RIGHT NOW!
#1 Find your own voice.
After I gave my official resignation I began receiving lots of views on how to tackle my first six months at the new gig. I received a wide range of advice depending on people’s personality, past experiences, and other agendas they may have had. Most of it came from good intentions, but how was I supposed to reconcile one view with the next when they seemed so opposite? I didn’t even know the names of all the people I would be working with yet.
“Sit back and do nothing for 6 months. Just listen and love people”, said one. That sounded great to me. I can do that. Sounds freeing actually.
Another nugget of wisdom was, “You have to set the tone in the first six months man or it’s too late!” Wow! I guess there is some truth in that right? You don’t want to wake up in six months and kick it into gear only to scare everybody. I can’t do both of these plans at the same time can I?
My suggestion: Go with your gut. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us and goes before us (John 14:16). Don’t ignore the wisdom of others who have gone before you in life, but you will have your own experiences that are completely new. What worked once in another place may not be the best posturing of your heart. Be willing to let go of your pre-conceived game plan when your boots hit the ground. Listen to the Holy SPIRIT that is in you. Our Lord knows the situations we are walking into and he will guide us if we are in a place to hear him, which brings me to my next thought . . .
Yes, go without food as you start new things (Mark 2:20). If it means something to you, it will mean something to God. This will put you in a place to hear God like nothing else. Our lives are full of rabble that gets in the way of hearing God. Nobody else is commissioned by God to pray for your family like YOU are.
#3 Proverbs 22:28
That boundary stone might have been put there for a VERY IMPORTANT REASON!
#4 This new place isn’t home, but neither was the last place.
Moving is tough. The last job or church wasn’t home. We are not truly home yet at all. Phillipians 3:20 says our citizenship is in Heaven. The greatest lesson in every transition might be the uncomfortable feelings we are forced to face as we refocus our treasure and hope on the things of God’s Kingdom.
Johnny Scott served for 11 years at Christ In Youth in Joplin Missouri and now serves at Harvest Bible Chapel of Orlando Florida.