I want to remember this day for a long time.
It was a day where I was reunited with old friends and partners in ministry. It was a day where it seemed like, in many ways, we picked up right where we left off. It was a day where we reminisced about the past, caught up on the present, and talked about our dreams for the future. What a fulfilling time!
It was also a day where I found out that this couple not only found a new church home, but how one of them had also got hired on at this church to serve on their staff! What great news! There are few things that give me joy like seeing people I love living out the unique purpose for which they were created. I am so happy for them!
But if I'm being honest, this is also a hard day. It's a day where I realize that one chapter in my relationship with this couple has come to an end and another is beginning. It's a day where I accept the fact that my role in this couple's life has changed. They have new pastors now. They have a new community of faith in which they are going to invest their lives. They have a new calling that they are going to commit themselves to. They have a new team with which they are going to make memories.
A hard, happy day.
But as I reflect on this day, there is one more thing that comes to mind.
If I am going to be in pastoral ministry for a significant length of time, this is the type of day I am going to have to get used to. If I am doing ministry right, I should experience "gospel goodbyes" more often than not. As a pastor, I have not been primarily called to "corral a community to gather," I have been called to "equip a community to GO!"
If "reach, renew, release" is our ministry strategy (which it is), I better start getting comfortable with "releasing" people to do what God is calling them to do! Because that is exactly what this couple is doing...God's will.
A hard, happy day.
But it is also a day that, oddly enough, for the sake of the expansion of the Kingdom of God...
I hope to experience again soon.