Learning to answer the Spirit

Date: 31 Jul 2013 Comments: 0

On Sunday night, I made a very major decision that I would not have imagined I would ever make. I turned in a resignation for my position as the lead teacher for the 3 Year Old Class at my home church. I have been teaching in the Children’s Ministry for almost 5 years (subtracting a year from the time I served as Youth Pastor at Agape) and have loved it very much. I would get so thrilled at seeing the children learning about Jesus and singing songs to him and getting to simply watch them grow. I won’t lie and say that there have not been times that it was difficult but overall it has been a great time.

However, I have also been doing some major spiritual reflection recently. It started when I started reading “Altar Ego” by Craig Groeschel, the founder of LifeChurch. I also have been listening to sermons from churches around the area while my church searches for its new pastor. I have been listening to sermons from CrossPointe, a church in Norman where some of my friends attend. I have been listening to LifeChurch sermons, Southern Hills Baptist Church, and even Saddleback Church, home of Rick Warren and the largest church in the USA. In all of these items, one thing has become clear… I am becoming spiritually lazy in some areas of my life. Most of all, I keep leaning on my service in the Children’s Ministry as my success story as to why I am spiritually stronger than I used to be. The reality is that my dependence on this past success has caused me to do less bible study, less spiritual growth techniques, and so on. Simply put, God has greater things out there that he wants me to do but because I am so comfortable in what I am doing in the Children’s Ministry, I feel ‘safe’. That is why I decided I needed to step down from the children’s ministry. At this time, the Spirit has not convicted me about my teaching in the ESL classes on Wednesdays so I am going to keep that up but if He leads me there then I will follow.

I will not simply act as though I am happy that I no longer teach in the Children’s Ministry, though. Even thinking about the fact that I have to turn the reins of that over to another leader in our church pains me greatly. I have to remind myself that I am not giving up – I don’t feel like I have failed – I simply have to learn when to lead and when to follow. I will always remember the goofy songs I sing with the kids, doing crafts where I try to figure out how to glue glitter on to a paper towel roll without it dripping everywhere, helping new kids feel comfortable in the class by taking them around and introducing them to other kids, etc… These are very near and dear to my heart. However, I have begun to do the work in the children’s ministry as more of a chore that I must do because I owe it to my church and to God. But that is NOT the way it should be. That falls more along the lines of legalism than of faith and spiritual service. I wish I could point out the period in time when it ceased being a joyous event and became a chore but I simply can’t pinpoint it.

Those that are closest to me know that I have had a number of spiritual battles in the past year or so – one of which was losing my father and literally being in the hospital next to him when he took his last breath. With all of the negative things I have experienced in such a short time, it’s hard to say when my faith started dropping and my struggle rising. I am grateful for the three children God has brought me and after losing my own father, I have doubled my desire to spend every possible moment with them that I can and to give them the best of me. Unfortunately, I think that my constant exposure to children at my own church have somehow made me have less drive to focus on my own kids at home. This is an impasse that I simply can’t allow to continue. Furthermore, I need to be a spiritual leader to my children in a much more powerful way than I am currently. Sure, I speak the truths of the Bible to them and try to emulate the compassion and patience of my Heavenly father to them but I am only human and there are limitations to what I can do. My hope is that a deeper spiritual walk coupled with focusing more on my own children will allow me to improve upon some of my deficiencies.

For now, I take the first giant step of faith from where I used to be and begin to walk toward the places that God wants me to be. I hope that the families of the church understand my decision and will understand that my choice has nothing to do with their children or with them as parents. My struggle is with my own spiritual walk that needs some improvement. The journey this direction has just started but I am sure it will end up somewhere more amazing than before.

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