I really don't know where all this retraining will ultimately lead in terms of work and ministry, but I'm trying to develop a fairly wide portfolio approach to it all. Whether I'll achieve it all, I don't know, but the plan is simple: Do something useful with my life!
Now I'm not suggesting that ministry was anything less than useful, and as I keep saying I'm not done with ministry as far as I know. That of course, is in God's hands not mine. I've never assumed that it has ever been mine to take up and lay down as I please. Heb.7:17 has always been a significant verse for me:
For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
Now I know the context, but at a time when I was asking many questions about ministry this came home to me in my daily reading. God spoke quite deeply and profoundly into my life that day as I realised that it was not about how I felt as much as it was about his call. The passage goes on the reinforce this when it says that God has made up his mind and that's the end of it!
So, the point is this, just because things have been painful and difficult these last two years doesn't in any change the core of my sense of call. But it's God's call on my life not my own self-determination. Then again, I'm not some sort of automaton that responds passively to a word of command. I am involved in the daily working out of the impact of this call on how I do what I do when I do it.
I believe that changing direction, training to become a Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist and Nutritional Advisor is part of that process. That's why I've also signed up to do a certificate in Personal Training. Hopefully it will create an income for me, but hopefully it will be an integral part of the shape of my ministry and life.
Here's the thing. you don't have to be in "full-time" ministry to be called by God. In fact, sometimes it gets in the way of working out the adventure of being called. You get scared about leaving the security of knowing what you're supposed to be doing and losing your identity and maybe even your authority (not something I've ever really had to be honest). Too many leaders are afraid that if the delegate authority they will lose identity and value. I think that keeps the church from growing and becoming something other than an institution.
Here's a thought: If churches can't work without full-time staff, are they churches at all? It will always be a privilege to serve as a minister, but there is sometimes a hidden cost to the health of the church when we do.
And all I was going to blog about was signing up to become a personal trainer. Ah well, there will always be a vision pushing its way to the surface somewhere.