This week, a 20 year colleague of mine, a fellow Senior Vice President of the EFCA took a huge risk. He resigned from a safe paycheck and solid ministry to move to a tiny ministry that requires him to raise his support and take a major income cut.
At 56! After 22 years at the EFCA!
Steve did what most of us are not willing to do at his age - leave the comfortable and the secure for the scary and unknown.
In explaining his decision, Steve put his finger on several issues that all of us who are secure in our positions ought to consider.
First, he did not want to do what he had seen so many people do - coast into retirement and not stay on top of their game. It is easy for us to become comfortable and start to coast in our ministries or employment. Whenever we get too comfortable we lose our edge and we either need to redesign our job so we stay 100% engaged or consider something else.
Steve had reinvented his job many times in 22 years but now felt that he needed to step out into something new that would more fully engage his heart.
Second, Steve had consistently worked himself out of jobs and found himself in a place where while extremely competent, he was not in the center of his sweet spot. He understands that it is only when we are in the center of how God made us that we will be most effective.
Third, his heart was restless. And had been for several years. When our hearts grow restless we need to pay attention because it is often God trying to get our attention! If we experience the restlessness and do nothing about it, we run a risk that our restlessness will become complacency leading to a loss of ministry passion and a coasting to the end.
For all of us in our 50's there is a great temptation to become comfortable and settled after the hard work that has brought us to where we are. This is a danger zone. To finish well we must press on with the same passion and missional commitment that got us to where we are.
It is sad to see people start with passion and end with complacency. But our comfort often keeps us from "getting out of the boat" and taking the risk. We know that our comfortable salaries and benefits will be at risk. We are less willing to move from the comfortable to the scary.
I honor Steve for taking the risk. I ask myself if I would be willing to take the risk. Would you be willing to take that risk? Would God be asking any of us to take that risk
Peter was when he got out of the boat to walk on water to Christ. Steve is as he gets out of his boat to follow Christ to a new, uncharted and scary place. May we be as sensitive to God's call and our engagement!