One Thursday in late 1995, as Minister of Students at FBC Bastrop, Louisiana, I was home on my day off when the phone rang. Picking up the phone, I was surprised to hear the sound of my pastor and boss' voice. He simply asked me to meet him in his office at the church the next morning. As I hung up the phone, I had no idea what was coming, but I was suddenly uneasy.
The next morning a train ran over me that I never saw coming. My pastor informed me that a group of parents wanted me to resign and quietly move on from FBC Bastrop. I remember asking, "What? Resign? Pastor, what's the deal, man?" Oh, the pastor has a list of trumped up charges and all of that, but I was being asked to resign just the same.
I left his office, asked my secretary not to disturb me, and locked myself in my office. There was nothing I knew to do except go to God. I literally fell down on my face and cried out to God. While praying I asked God for simply two things and two things only:
First - "Lord if all of this is from you, all I ask is that you give me another place to go."
Second - "But Lord, if this is not from you, all I ask is that you protect me."
And He did.
Two years and twenty-two contacts later from various churches, I was still at FBC Bastrop. God in fact did not open a door. I took that as a confirmation that He was not working in those circumstances with those parents who decided that they were God and could RUN my life and ministry without my input or permission. God honored me and I left that church on my own terms.
Through that occasion...God was indeed working.
Now, let me share this. Before, during, and after I had been asked to resign, the desire to preach had been growing. I know now that that wasn't a MISTAKE. Youth contacts from churches ceased and contacts from churches about the pastorate began. That wasn't a MISTAKE either.
I finally said 'yes' to God in June of 1997 and accepted the call as pastor to Springhill Baptist Church in Ringgold, Louisiana.
The confirmation that I have from the Lord today is that He ALLOWED all of that in my life to move me from the youth ministry to the pastorate. You see, the fact is I can be very single-minded and focused at times, and I was very loyal to my calling at that time, which was ministering to young people. I don't know if I would have ever made the choice to move to the pastorate on my own. God knew all of that, of course. So I'm not sure that I fully recognized God's desire to move me to another area of ministry. But it happened just the same.
Maybe God knew I needed some help...that I needed a little nudge. Maybe being asked to resign was that nudge. Though God protected me through that situation, a little part of my desire for youth ministry died that day. Kind of a 'beginning of the end,' I guess.
Well, all I know is that I am where I'm supposed to be today...even though I didn't plan it at first. So once again I hear those words..."For God causes all things to work together for good."
So thank you, Lord...for getting me to where you want me to be even when I'm not very responsive to your leading.