Friday, March 3, 2017

I Thank My God . . .

These past few weeks have been different in many ways. Recently I blogged about Take Me to the Edge and how our church is going through a campaign to challenge us to Take Us to the Edge. I shared an illustration about bungee jumping (stepping) and trust, faith and obedience.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, I walked into a meeting knowing that it was a big step in some things that God has been stirring in Sondra and me. Since last summer, we have known that God was doing some things to prepare us for something different than what I was currently doing in ministry. I have talked to a couple of churches over that time and have known that while they were good ministry positions, they were not positions that I was to step into. I also knew that the current position that I was in at LifeWay was probably one that I would not remain in for an extended period of time.

I had hoped to be able to make many more phone calls; have more personal conversations; share a coffee or a workout and be able to tell many more people personally, but time does not really permit me to convey this to each of you personally. On Feb. 2 I was told that my position at LifeWay was being deleted effective Feb. 16 that actually was extended graciously until Feb. 28. The only thing that surprised me was the timing, but not the decision. And . . . if I were in the position to make the call on deleting the position that I was in for the health and viability of the ministry, I would have made the exact same call. It reflects good stewardship and the commitment that LifeWay has to serve the church well. The meeting was incredibly affirming, sad, and God-honoring. It was a little ironic that I walked out of a meeting having lost my job, but feeling so affirmed, valued and loved by a ministry that has been incredible to serve through for 24 plus years.

You might imagine that I have had quite a few different emotions and you would be correct. Most of all I am grateful and sad. To have worked at LifeWay so long has afforded me so many ministry opportunities and to work with and learn from so many great men and women who love Jesus is such a huge blessing! Men and women who have allowed me to learn, make mistakes, walk with them and serve the church alongside. It is because of these people that I am also sad. I am going to miss serving alongside some of the greatest people in the world. People who are not perfect, but people who have a high sense of calling to honor Christ.

I have not experienced feelings of bitterness or a sense of entitlement thinking "How could LifeWay do this to me after I have served there so long?". LifeWay has been incredibly good to me over these last 24 plus years. I had a couple of rough patches along the way that God used to mold and shape me more into the image of Christ.  I will never be one to criticize my experience at LifeWay. Some leaders have been better than others and from all of them, I have learned and grown. I have no regrets. I have been privileged to serve the church through publishing, training and events all produced and sponsored by LifeWay. I have traveled the world; I have been treated way better than I or anyone deserves; and I have been honored to serve the Church and to point people to Christ on a scale that I never dreamed or imagined as a boy growing up in that little Missouri town population 256.

Sondra and I do not know specifically what my role will be moving forward, but we know that it will be good. We are not anxious, scared, hopeless, defeated or despaired. We are waiting and trusting God to show us what is next.

We ask that you pray that we will never let a seed of bitterness into our lives. We ask that you pray that God will help us discern what He most desires for me to do vocationally. We are grateful for each of you and thank you for praying as we only want to follow what God has in store for us. If you are aware of ministry positions that you think I might be a good fit, please feel free to contact me.

The best way to reach me is pturner63@bellsouth.net and 615.403.3138.


4 comments:

Unknown said...

Definitely will be praying Paul! Can't see what God's next steps are for you guys. Blessings as you watch and wait.

deb said...

Paul, you have encouraged my heart so much through this post! Thank you! Your humility and strength are a powerful example.

Ivey Harrington Beckman said...

Paul, I have walked this road. It takes a while to get your footing, and you have to develop new muscles as you navigate it. However, after you crest the hill, the view is amazing. See yourself as God sees you---a seasoned iron man full of wisdom and boundless energy for the next great adventure.

Ivey

Michael Cooper said...

Praying for you, brother. The Father must have something special for you and Sondra in the days ahead. Keep me posted on how best to pray, and let me know if there is anything we can do for you.