As you have likely heard, at the end of this year, I will be transitioning off Summit Church staff to join Real Life Church as the Clermont Campus Pastor. This has been one of the toughest decisions my wife and I have had to make—tougher than leaving a great career in banking to join Summit staff, tougher than choosing our kids’ names, tougher than spicy or regular chicken at Chick-fil-A.
It’s been tough because we felt God calling us to leave a church that we love greatly. A church that, for the last seven and a half years (five of them on staff), has loved our family so well. We knew that saying yes to God was going to cost us something.
As the news of our transition has spread, the most common question I’ve been asked has been some version of, “how did you know God was calling/leading you to stay or go?” To which I reply, “how much time do you have?” I totally get why it’s the most common question because, while Carolina and I were walking through this process, we also asked that question while meeting with anyone else that had recently been through a big transition. I believe it’s the most common question because we all want to know God’s will/calling for our lives—yet it often seems so mysterious and unknown. We want a detailed roadmap so that we can take steps with certainty that we are making the right decisions. We want God to give confirmation before we take our next step—but it often doesn’t work that way. However, while we didn’t have a roadmap, there were some things that were helpful for Carolina and me in discerning where God was calling us.
Are we being faithful in the place God has us right now?
Often we can get so caught up in focusing on what God has for us next, that we neglect where God has called us to now. Whether or not he was calling us out of Summit, as long as he had us here we wanted to be faithful with all he had entrusted us. In the Scriptures we often see how faithfulness now honors God and produces something in us that allows us to be trusted with more later. Are you being faithful where God has you right now?
Are we seeking God?
As we were considering this transition, I met with a pastor that has been a mentor to me and asked him what he thought I should do. I remember him responding to me with, “you’re going to have to get that answer from God.” It was a reminder of how quickly we go to others for their opinions without earnestly seeking God in prayer and his word. The psalmist writes in Psalm 63:1“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” I began to ask myself what it would look like to seek God that way for whatever comes next. This led me to a time of prayer, fasting, and looking at ways that God had called others in Scripture. What would it look like for you to earnestly seek God?
How do we trust God in this process?
This was a tough one for us because trusting God will always move us from comfort to discomfort, from self-sufficiency to dependency, and from safety to adventure. Carolina and I needed to trust that if God was calling us somewhere else, he would be with us every step of the way. I was reminded of how scary it must have been for Abraham and Sarah when God told them to leave their homeland and the courage it must have taken to trust God when they didn’t know all the details. Something that was helpful for me was praying Joshua 1:9 “be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This was a reminder that regardless of our decision, he would be with us. What does it look like for you to trust God?
Andy Stanley once said, “Saying yes to God will always cost you something, but saying no will cost you more.” I don’t know what it is that God may be calling you to say yes to, but I do know he’s worthy of your trusting him in it. I do know prayerfully seeking him will give you a peace beyond understanding. I do know that wherever he has you now is worth your attention and your faithfulness. I pray for your willingness to say yes to God and to see what he does next in and through you.
As mine and Carolina’s yes takes us somewhere new, we know that there is so much we are going to miss about Summit and are so grateful for all that God has done over the last five years. But, as we embark on this new adventure, we do so trusting and believing that because God is leading, the best is yet to come!