Transitions Within The Ministry Webinar
So, thank you for all of you who joined us. Greetings and welcome tonight. As I said before, the tropic is Transitions within the Ministry, which can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. And, we thought the best approach to this is to have some discussion with a couple of brothers who have gone through transitions.
Not because they think they’ve done it right and everyone needs to follow their pattern, but because it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to learn from each other and just to walk through this together in the spirit of learning and growth. And so, as I said, Brother Steve Baner and Brother Mike Grimm have joined us and I’m gonna ask each of you to give just a couple minute introduction as to where you’re at now and where you’ve come from. And then Matt will lead us through the content tonight. One quick note, there is a chat feature. If you have questions that emerge throughout the evening, feel free to chat in those questions. We hope to leave some time at the end to get into those questions and answers.
So, Brother Steve, why don’t you go ahead and start with just a brief introduction. Yeah, thank you, Arlan, and welcome and greetings to everyone. I wanna just briefly, my wife, Dona Lou and I have been in Gridley since 1983. Our home church was Goodfield so I have that connection with Mike going back. But, we were in the ministry here 26 years. I retired in 2016. I have two children, Kate Ringger, who is married to David, which would be Brother Earl’s son, and my son John, and his wife Ashley, and I have five grandkids. Dona Lou and I were put into the ministry under the administration of Brother Edwin Ringer, and then went through the transition. And that’s one of those transitions we’ll be talking about tonight, this transition of leadership, that transition to Brother Earl Ringger and then now to Brother Harvey Kaeb, who is currently our elder here in Gridley. So it’s just a brief factor. Brother Mike, why don’t you go ahead too. Thanks for that, Steve.
So, Amber and I were married in 2003. She grew up in Forrest Church. My life was in Goodfield. We have four children, Jayden just turned 16, Andrew is 14, and then we have twin girls, Macy and Mariah, who are 12. We were added to the pulpit ministry in Goodfield in 2012 and had walked a journey with the San Diego Church to some extent for probably 15 years. Which became a calling that grew more and more to the point of relocating in 2018 to San Diego to support the Escondido Church with our family’s presence.
Thanks for those brief backgrounds. Matt, I’m gonna turn it over to you. Why don’t you walk through the topic and let’s have some discussion here of what this whole idea of transitions mean. Sure, I’d be glad to. Yes. So let’s look at transitions. Let’s start by defining what we mean by transitions. We’re certainly looking at it ministerially, right?
We go through lots of transitions, whether it be career or location and all of that. But, tonight’s discussion is gonna be how those things impact the ministry and the pulpit ministry in particular. So we’re gonna define the topic here tonight as moving into a new ministerial normal. I’ve underlined those two words, new and normal, very intentionally because these two words really are at odds with one another.
There’s nothing new about normal and there’s nothing normal about new. But that’s exactly what transition is. It’s moving from an old normal, one that we were familiar with. And we haven’t quite settled on the yet coming normal, and it hasn’t become normal yet. And so we’re think about a bridge perhaps, that’s planted in both of these shores.
And transition is what happens in the middle. And that often is a point of, could be tension, could be friction, could be uncertainty, could be a lot of things. Arlan, does this set up the topic well enough? Anything you want to add to that? No, I think it really does, and I think as we said, transition happens in all of our lives.
When you have a more public role, sometimes that transition gets pushed more into the public eye, which adds just a little weight to it. And, I’m not sure what people had in mind when they saw the topic and joined in, but we’re gonna cover a smattering of different things.
Really, it’s that idea of moving from one normal to another, to a new normal and what goes on both within us and around us during that time. I appreciate that. And let’s now look at some of the sources of transition as it regards ministry and pulpit ministry in particular in churches. So I’m gonna identify four and perhaps there’s more.
These seem to capture tonight’s discussion well enough, but as we look at it, moving to a new church, and I’m gonna call that a new setting, this is a transition. Certainly Mike, you can speak to this very directly. And so this is a new setting, but it’s not necessarily restricted to a new church setting. We come in new environments, new surroundings all the time. Could be children, could be a career change, and those types of things that provide a new setting. So we’re gonna look at that particular bucket. Tonight we’re also looking at ministerial role changes. Certainly, I still remember sitting around our conference table with the brothers that I serve with after three brothers had really recently retired and the third one retired, and we all looked at one another. Kind of like, who are you? Who are we without Ron, who are we without Kevin, and who are we without Dennis? These things matter and change was thrust upon us and role changes were thrust upon us.
So in this, we’re thinking about a new role. And as, Brother Steve, you mentioned the administration and serving under Brother Edwin and Earl and Harvey. Certainly those changes tee up a transition and transition for role. We’re looking at also a third bucket might be personal ministerial development.
That’s simply a new me. I just give one example. When I was put in the ministry, my kids had very little say about it cuz they were young. Now I have teenagers and, guess what, they weigh in and they are a ministerial force to reckon with. And, I would say have changed me in many ways and press me to think, and press me to explain and press me to, all of these things for the better. And that’s just one example. But I think we can all say through the course of ministry. We personally change as well. So we wanna talk about that tonight as well. And then finally, retirement. I think this is a real, Brother Steve, you can speak to that directly what that looks like. And I think we’re all interested in this new reality, thinking about it that way, new reality. So I wanted to think about these four categories tonight. And Mike and Steve, we’re gonna take each of these separately one at a time and I’m gonna be watching our clock to make sure we move along cuz I do wanna get through all of them.
And we’re gonna take them one at a time and just let those categories guide our discussion. Does that make sense? So these are our categories that we’re gonna look at. Now, before we get to them though, let’s just muse a moment on transitions and what they play to, and some of, and there are more, but some of these elements transitions really play to look at the top. I’ll work clockwise. Starting at the top, we have identity. Certainly transitions challenge our identity. Who am I? Who am I if I’m not this? And if I’ve done this for so long, who am I now if I’m not? These types of things certainly play into, and I’m sure Mike and Steve, they play into your stories and your experience as well.
Insecurity. There’s nothing, I mean, transition by definition is not secure. I mean, you are in transit, nothing secure about that. And so there is an insecurity element about transition, I think we wanna speak to tonight or certainly wanna put our finger on. Regret often rears its head in transition right as we peer over our shoulder on the back shore saying, man, when I had the chance, why didn’t I, or did I do this or that well enough and certainly, regret is something that comes to play with transition. Down at the bottom is loss. Brother Mike, you uprooted, right? There were things that you could categorize as losses. We all have them and transitions, if we are leaving a former shore, a former normal, we have loss.
There’s no way to transition without loss. Self question is, who am I? Am I doing it right? Am I good enough? Will I succeed? All of these types of things. Certainly as we peer to that upcoming shore, that new normal. I think all of these, I think it’s natural to these questions echo in our heads, and that really leads to anticipation. Whenever we transition, we are looking forward as well as backward, but we’re looking forward ultimately to saying, what can I anticipate, what is in store for me? And so maybe before we, I’d love to hear Mike, if you were to select one of these characteristics.
And Steve, if you were to grab one of these that maybe most resonates with you and provide a little bit of personal anecdote, that would be great. Either one, Mike or Steve. I’ll speak first Steve, and then you can go. So I love all of these and all, just because of the distance of our move.
I’ll choose the loss. I could say something about a lot of these. The emotion of loss in transitioning a four hour plane ride away, 2000 miles. There was a lot of loss, so to speak, that was an emotion. Absolutely. And, many, many relationships, a wonderful church, a wonderful business, family business community, 37, 38 years of that. And yeah, there’s gonna be some loss there. And I’ll just use this time just to give a plug for the Holy Spirit in that specific instance of loss, it has been awesome for Amber and I and our kids to see God fill that with gain and to see how he has filled us with another awesome church family, another awesome community, providing career related transitions and how in all of these emotions that sometimes can be maybe perceived as a barrier to doing something, God actually, they’re real, but he absolutely walks us through that and brings in other things to positively fill that hole. So yeah, we’re thankful that he’s shown himself in that way.
I appreciate that Mike. And I just want to capture the realness you had that they were losses, you acknowledged them as losses, you processed them as losses. But if you can correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounded like you were surprised at the healing and the supply that God provided in those areas of loss. Yeah. Yep. And even some of the perceived loss in relationships weren’t actually losses. They just changed. The relationship may be changed and there’s not as many touch points, but when there are touch points with someone, it’s maybe in a different way.
It’s maybe deeper. And, so yeah, the realness can’t be minimized of the emotion, but then the power of God’s Spirit to fill that is equally amazing. Steve, right before I I go to you. I want, Let me comment, Mike. I appreciate that. And what I really like about that is how you said the loss pivoted or it changed, and those are just things that we can’t predict, can we? There’s no way going through a transition to really predict how things will change. We know they will. And part of the trepidation is simply not knowing, but your testimony is one, that there was a sweet change, that the change wasn’t all bad, but a sweet change.
Yeah. Steve, which of these resonates with you? It’s like, oh yeah, that’s, and then many of them do, but just speak to one. Yeah. Probably the one that resonates the most for me at the moment, as I think about them is the identity question. Because through a retirement from pulpit ministry, that’s something that you, people identify you as and you begin to identify yourself as.
So for me that was not a surprise. I anticipated that as a change, but not to the magnitude. And just so anecdotally, and this, I don’t mean to be take everything humorously, but I do think it is sort of a humorous change and frankly I enjoy it. I think it’s great. I’ll go to a new church to visit and meet young people and they have no clue who I am, but what they’ll say to me, we’ll be talking, I introduce myself is I’m Steve Baner from Gridley, and they look at me like, Okay.
And they go, but then they have this light bulb that goes off. You just see it happen. They said, are you related to Al Baner? And I said, Yeah. So now I’m Al’S grandpa. I mean, you know, is that a bad thing? No, I think it’s great like Mike said, it pivots. Yeah. I love that. So it’s an opening for me to learn about some young people through my granddaughter, her experience and my grandkids and everything else, but we, our identity that could be pretty unsettling if you’re so identified with that, that that’s who you are. But we know that through God, we are through the Spirit and through the power of Jesus, we are through His grace,
we are way more than our function. And see, and so we can, I just rejoice in it. I really get a kick out of it. I think it’s great, but many of them I don’t relate to at all, for example, regret, that has not ever been, I’m sure for some it would be, through the journey that I’ve been through.
Thanks for sharing that, Steve, and even as both of you shared, you even see some of God’s purposes, I think in transition is painful and maybe difficult. Or as it might be, we can see in both of your testimonies that God has purpose and surprising purpose in many ways. Let’s go now to each one. We’re gonna take the four buckets, one at a time.
This is the new setting. This is the new normal. Mike, I’m gonna look to you. You’ve had the most stark experience regarding a new setting with a move. You’ve already explained some of that and we don’t have to hit all three of these points. These are just to get you thinking how you discern this or preparing for this.
What does it look like for healthy transition? Take any of these questions that you want and expand. Yeah, so a couple thoughts. One is, as we discerned our decision, it was so valuable to walk through the decision process with other people and with time and those of you that know me, I’m not one that loves delaying and waiting on things.
And so, it was fun. It was fun to have God challenge me in time in processing the decision, but there was a lot of weight to it. From a human standpoint, what does this look like? Is this really from God? And, it was really neat to see God not take away the calling, but to confirm it.
And he did it in different ways with Amber and I, and that would be a topic for a different discussion that we ended up in the same place, in the same healthy place. As we had counsel from others as we really were looking. What does this look like? What does this mean? And so it was just really good in that preparation time to have that.
Another thing that was really good. When I look at the, how did you prepare for this? It was really healthy to have open dialogue with our kids early on, years before we actually made a move just to really have an open walking life relationship with our kids in the journey. My dad always taught me the concept of beginning with the end in mind and as we landed on this decision, I would say if anything helped us prepare, it was having an eternal mindset and not a short term one. And back to Steve’s point earlier about identity, beginning with the end in mind and knowing that whether we’re in one setting or we’re in one role for one year or 40, it’s all.
And it’s not about us and it’s about Christ. And so that’s been really helpful for us, not just before, but during the transition to hang on to that, just that big picture of what this is really for. And then the other thing in preparing was bringing Goodfield Church as a sending church alongside of us almost a year before we actually moved. And there’s a balance there, I think, of a healthy amount of time. But that just for Amber and I, it was really good for us and I pray and I think it was good just for the entire Goodfield Church, just to be part of our journey and to be an active participant in it.
Instead of it being seen as a loss. And again, there’s emotions that can go along with that, but that was something that, it can’t happen in all situations, but for us it was good to have that time just to share life with as many people as we could in Goodfield being the sending church.
And then as, what does healthy transition look like? I wrote down a couple things. And one of the keys I think, is not forgetting the past and we’ll get into the new you later, but setting wise, not forgetting Goodfield, not forgetting Lighthouse, not forgetting Morton, Illinois and what our life was and the relationships there, but also not living in it.
And our mission and our calling is Escondido, California now. And honestly that’s not an easy balance to because again, we don’t wanna be living our past life because that can hinder our effectiveness and just the sharing of life locally here, but you also don’t wanna divorce it.
And so that was a tension that we have tried to keep front and center, that, we are here, our ministry is here, but yet we still want to walk alongside everybody that we knew, it’s just gonna look different in those past relationships. And then the other one last piece is just having a heart of learning.
We had walked with the church locally for a long time. We knew some of the community and culture in Southern California, but until you actually live in the city and live in the area, you don’t know all the aspects of different culture. And so wherever we are, I think it’s valuable to continue to just understand what is the local culture.
And again, like was mentioned before, neither one of us have everything figured out and we haven’t done everything right, but we’ve tried to really understand. We don’t wanna be an Illinoisan living in California. We want to be a Californian that was from Illinois. And just, the psychological aspects of that, it is a transition to find out what that is and then to live in it healthily.
I really appreciate that, Mike. I want to capture and provide a little bit of summary that I think Mike has really elevated. Then Arlan, Steve, you can respond as you feel moved. But, Mike, you really talked about a healthy launching that was important. As you go into transition, you had a healthy launch and you talked about the kids, you talked about, with your wife, you talked about with your home church.
Now sometimes transitions are thrust upon us. We find ourselves on the bridge and we didn’t want to, and we got kicked there. And that happens. In your case, you were able to premeditate that. And when you can to be thoughtful. And that’s part of the purpose of tonight’s webinar. As we think about transitions, they are gonna be inevitable.
How can healthy launching happen? And then you had this healthy letting go, which I really appreciated. So now you’re talking about a healthy landing and part of that healthy landing was a healthy letting go and a realization that I have learning to do. I really appreciated those.
There’s a lot other things said. Arlan, Steve, anything you want to add before we move to the next category?
I just wanted to emphasize one point that you mentioned, Mike, which I think is really important, and we’ve seen this before, that idea of remembering the past but not trying to live within it. If you do the visual. It’s almost like you try to have one foot on each side of the bridge. And as that transition takes place and the turmoil goes on there, that’s gonna be a really tricky spot. So you don’t properly grieving through the loss and transitioning through the loss is a really important part of any transition in calling that out. And, so it is interesting when you think about this, you almost use some of the same context or the same discussion as you would a grief loss or a loss, in that sense.
And I’m walking through that cycle of grief. And, I think healthy transition is one where you can do that and then you look forward to the new cuz the back is, the past is part of you, but the new is exciting in front of you as well. So just an affirmation there. Absolutely. And I think one of the things Mike’s pointed to, he and I both serve with HarvestCall and we’re going through some intercultural training.
And that whole point that he made, which I’d like to emphasize just a bit that question of there’s always, there’s more to this story that the story within a culture, the reason that things happen the way they do, is a big part of that picture and that culture. We obviously think about, well, what’s the culture in Haiti, New York, Mexico.
But, that culture can be within a church. So yeah, as we know within the ministry, as we go from one place to another. The cultural impacts of that church’s culture. We need to understand the underlying story that remains, what’s the rest of that iceberg that we don’t see?
And so it’s really, I appreciate you pointing that out, Mike. I think it’s a great lesson that we’re taking away from thinking about moving from one culture to another. I would agree that part of that healthy landing is having that wisdom to know that I don’t understand the new normal yet.
And, to learn it. Let’s move now to the next category. We talked about a new role, a new ministerial role, normal. Actually, many of you, some of you who are listening did enter some questions. You had that option when you signed up for the webinar and I would say the majority of those that were those questions posed really find themselves in this place where there is a change in roles, maybe a change in the dynamic of the ministry team or change in leadership.
Brother Steve, I’d love to hear your heart, your experiences as you live this very real reality. Again, take any of these questions or come up with your own. Well, there’s, I think there is a discernment that goes with it because as that change occurs in which, and I’m gonna point to the one that probably lived to the greatest extent, and that was the transition from brother Edwin, to his son, Brother Earl in that leadership role as elder and then finding your position. When I went on the pulpit, back in 1990. I was the youngest member of the pulpit at that time, and so, which is not unusual. I mean, you’re the new guy on the block, so you’re the youngest. Typically that would be the case. One of the things that occurred, which was an interesting evolution, I continued to be the youngest member of the pulpit until Brother Darren was put on.
So when we put on new members of the pulpit, Brother Clark was put on, Dave Zehr came on and Dave and I are pretty close, but I was still the youngest, so I was in this youngest person, but with more seniority question, which is an interesting role to be in, having been in the pulpit ministry longer.
But were the younger guy on the, in the group. That made it interesting to navigate. But navigating change in leadership for us, because of the intimate relationship between Earl and his dad, that it wasn’t probably as difficult as I’m sure it is in other places. Their communication was obviously pretty intimate.
They could speak pretty openly and frankly with each other. So there were, I don’t think there was a lot that was misunderstood. They could clarify their position pretty quickly. And Edwin did a good job because he was still on the Elder Committee, so we had an unusual circumstance. He was still on the Elder Committee for a period of time after Earl assumed the responsibility for the local church.
And that added a dynamic that could have been troublesome, where you had maybe split authority but that was not the case. I didn’t see that happen there. And Earl, I think, learned that as he continued to serve in an eldership role for Morris North and for Fort Lauderdale when Harvey transitioned in.
So the discerning your role though is to find a place, and I have two slogans that I’d like to leave with the group that as I thought about this one was, one is this, be willing to serve or to support, cuz you may just, you may be called to serve in a role, but you may be called just to support the other role.
So I was a participant in the timeframe of Brother Earl’s election. So I was one of the candidates for elder when Brother Earl was put in as our elder. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more, such a great period of relief than the time at which they announced that brother Earl would be our new elder.
I can’t think of a time when I sighed a bigger sigh of relief. Not that I expected that to fall to me. I expected it to fall where it did, but until you know, there’s uncertainty, but the willingness to serve our support. So the willingness to go, if that fell to me, the willingness to do it, that was really hard to come to.
To be willing to say, I don’t know how in the world you would, but if it did fall here, Lord, I’m willing. But then also when it doesn’t fall there to say, Lord, I’m willing to support. So if I can leave that as something to hold onto. I think that would be one of the things I would share out of those transitions.
And then I had to prepare for roles as they came my way. And part of those roles that came to me rose out of my profession. So Earl and Edwin both would ask me to take on particular roles related to my professional training, which was fine. But again, it required me to be willing to do that. And I think having an open spirit to be willing to support in a role that maybe in the background, doing what people might view as just the administrative stuff that’s okay. Be willing and God has been in it. And, I’ve really felt him, his grace and mercy in to give me that willing spirit. Even though sometimes I’m not willing to do anything, but thankfully, he’s blessed me with a heart to be able to do that.
Steve, I really appreciate that. I’m gonna ask you a question and then I want Arlan, Mike, you can jump in too. Steve, I’m really intrigued by this, you need to discern this. I think that’s a powerful statement, and I think you’ve answered this question somewhat with what you’ve said. But my simple question is what do you look for?
If I am discerning my role, or if somebody’s discerning their role, what kind of things should they be looking for? What’s the rubric, so to speak of, think about this, look for that, ask this question to help settle that. Does that make sense? Yeah, I mean, I think I understand what you’re asking the, for me, so I can only speak for my own experience. For me, roles have arisen. Not because I sought roles out, but because I just said hey, I’m here and I’m willing it, I think it falls a bit, Matt, maybe I should say it this way. If you want to get something done, you ask a busy person and so you keep yourself active and engaged. And then if somebody asks, be willing and the roles came, and maybe I wasn’t as good at discerning when to say no. And if I have an, if I have a flaw, my wife would say one of those many is, you don’t know when to say no. So I do think that there’s a discernment, that’s very difficult.
And that for me personally is to say no. No, that’s really better for someone else. And Arlan’s probably shaking his head going, What’s he talking about? Cuz he always tells me no. But there’s a place to say no and that is to engage others because if you’re doing too much, others are not. Yeah. Thanks Steve.
I think what I hear here, and just a quick point we can move on, is a surrendered. And, a realization, you talked earlier about just having a healthy identity of who you are, but realizing that you are not necessarily defined by a role, you’re willing to serve within roles.
And roles will come and they will go. But the identity or the purpose of why you do what you do is deeper than that. And that allows you, I think, to exist in this place. Can allow a person to exist in a place of surrenderedness and to say, either I’m gonna serve here or I’m gonna support here, Lord, whatever you would have, just let your will be done. I Think that begins at that core level of settledness, which I really appreciate you sharing this.
Yeah, I would agree and one last thought that I had on this topic was, just the beauty of that serve and support each of those roles, Steve, as you explain those, I see of how God views those as equal and one is not more important than the other. And that how both are so effective in ministry, whether it’s willingness to serve in some role or just not minimizing the importance of lifting somebody else’s arms up that might be serving in some role and being the cheerleader for them and the encouragement for them in that and how valuable that is.
I appreciate that, Mike. Let’s look at the next, the third category here. That is a new me. Again, we change. And what does healthy transition look like with us personally? Mike, look to you maybe to kick this. With thoughts that you have on these two questions or any others?
Yeah. I’ve developed a love for nuts and avocados since we’ve moved. So is that what you’re looking for, brothers?
And to the point that you would about culture. The new normal puts you in a new place, with a new learning curve for what that new culture is. And so that’s going to cause a new me at some level, isn’t it? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And that’s just a practical example, but no, I would say being okay with how God changes me and navigates through the transition. A couple examples that I would say in our change is I’ve always been a very extroverted person and I love a lot of relationships by nature, and I have in this transition, God has given a love and just a growing passion for a small, intimate group in a small church setting that I’ve really appreciated seeing.
And so, just navigating through that has been really healthy for me. And then the other thing that’s been really powerful and confirming is just the real life example in our physical transition. It just made so many stories in the Word of God be even more powerful for us in people that had transitioned in the Bible. And, I preached about and taught Sunday school for years on stories of transition, moving to a different place, but then just to see the power of God actually doing it in our life, it just helped with just, it’s kind of like going to a place that you’ve heard about and you’ve kind of experienced it, but not really, and then you actually do it and so just going through the act of a transition like this has just grown our empathy and knowledge and love for God leading people through. It just made it a little bit more real, if that makes sense.
Sure does. And a powerful testimony. Thanks for sharing that of God really changing you in ways that surprised yourself but was meet or fit for the service he was calling you to. Arlan or Steve, anything you want to add to this particular concept?
Steve, do you have any thoughts? I’d be curious just a little bit now, this is gonna blend in with the next one and kind of move into the next one. Yeah. But as you’ve worked through this retirement piece, the new me and the new reality, they probably blend together a little bit.
How have you seen that play out in your life and maybe just. What kind of triggered your thinking towards retirement? If you can share that or be willing to share that. Yeah. It’s probably a little bit of a segue. I do think that in looking at the new me is what does a healthy transition look like as through the progression of the ministry?
Because when I started out in the ministry, I read the Word. And I was into the Word, but not to the level that the responsibility and I think, everyone on here can relate to it because of their role, but not at the level that the ministry brings. There is this, you, when you walk up, however you’re configured, but walk up those two or three steps to get up on that pulpit for the first time.
The reality of the need to be a student of the Word really hits you no matter what level you were at before, you need to take this thing to up another notch. And I think a healthy, one of the things that a healthy transition looks like in this new role of ministry or as your ministry progresses is that you should become a greater and greater student of the Word, a student of people, of relationships and that’s often hard for some of us who are more introverted than others. My wife, her transition through the ministry, she basically said, hey, if he’s gonna be there talking all the time, I’m gonna start to build relationships with people and get out of my corner where she was. Her more comfortable place was hiding in the corner. And now, I hide in the corner and she meets everybody. I have to wait on her. I’m in the car. So you know those, What does healthy look like? I think it’s when we start to progress beyond where we were. And that’s what healthy starts to look like.
We’re progressing. We’re not perfect, but we’re progressing. So the new me in terms of that progression. Now thinking a little bit about that switch, that segue, and I don’t know how you wanna do this, Matt, do you want to go to the next? So go ahead and go, I’m gonna go there and I’d just like to accent, Mike, you got me thinking about Abraham and his transitions and Moses and his transitions.
But you, God had more purposes than just relocation. He was growing Abraham in incredible ways, growing Moses incredible ways, growing Joseph in incredible ways. And I think per the examples that you brothers have just provided, he grows us in these ways in transition. And can we say, Steve, that the ministry is not the end. There is growth and further perfection and further use beyond.
Yeah, absolutely. I give people a hard time. They say, When did you retire from the ministry? I say, Well, I’m redeployed because you’re not supposed to make multiple life transitions in one year they tell you not to do things like get married, move to a new town, do these, all these other things in one year. Mike did a lot of these things, it’s like all at one time. And I retired. I retired from my vocation, and I technically, I retired from the pulpit, but I use the term in many of you who have I’ve spoken with have heard me preach about this off the pulpit that I don’t feel like I’m retired. I’m just redeployed.
And we take, and if you think about an army being redeployed, the army has just put in another place with another purpose. And maybe it’s not a different enemy, it’s the same enemy. You just attack from a different direction. And so my, I view my role today as being redeployed in God’s service and that back to that handle of be willing to serve or to support and you won’t be idle.
So there is no problem there. The discernment, Talking about discernment piece, we went through a long period of discernment and I talked about the fact that I was the youngest on the pulpit for that window of time. So when that was happening, we were all reaching this age. Earl was eight years older than I am.
He still is. Yeah. But, Earl’s eight years older than me. So we had this fairly narrow spread and to give some background in my professional life, part of my role was, succession planning. It’s what I did day in and day out. So to me, succession planning was very front of mind. It was something I thought about for my professional career.
So it was very natural for me to think about succession on our pulpit, realizing that there needed to be succession and really understanding it and just feeling a tug from God that it’s okay. The fact that I was the youngest of that pool of five, that it’s okay and in reality it needs to happen at some point. And so I was really praying about that and I went to Earl and said I’m really praying about this and I just feel like it might be time. And he said, I want to challenge you with something. And that is that this needs to be God’s timing, not yours. Cause I was thinking about it corporately in the sense of corporate world sort of thinking.
That backed me up and I thought it was really good counsel. And so for a year, that was about a year earlier, I backed away, but then I was just very open. I said, Lord, when it’s your time, you need to let me know cause I really need this to be clear. We, so there was an event had occurred that where God clarified it.
And so for me, I was already in the mindset, but then God, and God didn’t burn their house. But anyway, my kids, their home burned and my son was gone. And so he called me, John called me from the road and said, Dad, I need to be there. He was just broken. And I thought, I put my dad hat on, and I was like, I’m gonna charge in here ,I’m gonna take control, I’m gonna take care of everything. I got to the house. And John’s peers, his age group, were, they’re the firemen. Their wives were there taking care of my daughter-in-law, Ashley, and watching out for the grandkids as this thing was unfolding. And as I drove up and they just had it, and they, nobody said this to me, but this is what my, this is what God spoke to my heart.
Get out of the way, old man. We got it. That was as clear a message as I could have gotten. I talked to Earl the next week and I said, Here’s what happened. Here’s what God spoke to my heart. And Earl said, God has spoken. And, so that began and then what that discernment, God was really clear for me.
It was, and I wanna reiterate, I’ve had a lot of calls from people asking about, you retired. I was 60 when I retired, so that’s a little early. I don’t think it’s early, but I count 26 years of service. And it was time. And look it, we got Arlan on the pulpit. So everything works out. All things work together for good.
So, that’s debatable. That’s debatable. I really appreciate that. Look to one of the other brothers. I just wanna put this out because we are coming to the bottom of the hour. If anybody has a question they want, to posit, they can, you feel free to use the chat menu there.
But, Arlan or Mike, anything that you want to add to or contribute here? Go ahead, Mike. I would just say, amen to what Steve said. Our situation, you could say, a little bit unorthodox in that we didn’t have 20, 30, 40 years in the Goodfield pulpit ministry. And there again, the discerning that we had, in a similar way, not exact the exact same story by any means, but in a similar way of discerning God’s timing and then resting in that I think is, that’s a tension and it’s not easy because of our humanness or my humanness. But just seeing that when it’s God’s timing, how he opens and closes doors as he sees fit and makes things progress, it doesn’t mean it’s always easy or perfect, but it’s very obvious to see his hand in it when it’s in his timing.
Yeah, what I wanted to just encourage is just, I really appreciate Steve especially, and both you, Mike as well, just that balance between it’s God’s direction, it’s God’s leading. He tells us what we should do and when we should do it. But the faith piece there, but then there’s also that purposefulness about it and seeking counsel, seeking input and thinking ahead or just thinking about this whole process. And that’s an aspect of planning transition is where there is a purposeful planning, but then you lean upon the Lord for his exact timing and his exact way.
And I really appreciate how that balance was brought out in both of your examples. I do have a question. Go ahead. No, go ahead. Well, I just wanna tie that into a question which came in through chat. And then also, on some of the submissions earlier, which really centers around how do we ease transitions.
Transitions by nature are gonna be not necessarily comfortable, but how do we ease them? What are some advice or counsel that you can have about how to navigate those in that way? Specifically the question that was chatted in was about the role of wives. What have you seen from your wives and how they have supported you in these transitions? So any thought there? And then just other ways of easing transition for the church and for yourselves, personally.
Mike, why don’t you go ahead. I know you have a special story. That’s okay. That ties in with what I was gonna say already. And it was beautiful for Amber and I to walk through our navigation together because we came at it from different ways. In our journey, I can be like Peter and I can jump out of the ship. I have no problem jumping out of the boat for something new. But then sometimes I can see the waves and she, once I prompted the idea that this may be God’s calling and how she came alongside in a very strong, you could say, the thrust of the engine type of a way to encourage it and to really fuel the faith side. I could tend towards stewardship and faith are not opposites by any means, but just for example, I could tend towards stewardship.
Amber tends towards faith and we had a lot of discussions in our discernment on what this looks like. And, we each had our different perspectives. But just to see that when surrendered to God’s will, he just in an amazing way brought us together in one solid calling because if it’s not both together, it’s not gonna be a good situation.
And we got to a place where we were both equally passionate about what God’s will was, but we came at it from different perspectives. And I would say what made it healthy was just continuing to sacrifice and give up my own will. I’ll just speak for myself in and surrendering, God, what do you want this to look like? When is it the right time? How do we do it? And just having that heart of full surrender.
I appreciate that, Mike. And what I heard in both, Steve, and I think Steve used this word, and I heard it in your testimony too, Mike, is there’s a mindset. I had a mindset. And then God spoke into that mindset. God confirmed that mindset through many ways. And, anyway, so that’s a take home for me, I think is important.
Arlan, just a couple minutes left. Steve, how you, I kind of wanna pick on you just a little bit here, Steve. You use that word, redeployment, which I’ve always appreciated that as opposed to retirement. How have you seen those new roles play out within the church? You have still maintained a high level of activity. What has that looked like and what have you learned from that transitioning from the public ministry to other types of ministry? Yeah, I tell people that anybody will hire you if you work for free. But that’s just really saying, hey, if you’re available, there is a lot to engage in and I have found, at least for myself, the willingness to be a participant.
I received way more the relationships that I’ve built since redeploying into HarvestCall. That’s one of my primary things. I’m also involved in some stuff more specifically in the Magdalena Ministries, but the opportunities just abound if you are willing to serve. And I think it goes back to that whole thing, Hey, Lord, I’m here, I’m willing. And I’ll either serve or a support. I don’t have to have a front row seat, but I’m willing to do whatever, wherever you can use. What little I might know. And God has taught me so much. I learned to note I’ve made more connections after coming off the pulpit, I think, than I had before when I was on the pulpit. They’re deeper anyway. And so I really enjoyed that. So that’s what it looks like for me.
So it speaks to that abiding purpose or direction in our life, or identity in our life that it’s maybe deeper than just one specific role. It’s a call to serve for a period of time, but then knowing that transition is not the end of service it’s just a different type of service and a different role of support that can be there.
I appreciate that you sharing that. Any last thoughts, brothers, or any other thing? Go ahead, Mike. One last thought is I love the example that Paul gives in 1 Corinthians when he talks about, I think it’s chapter three and four, when he talks about he and Apollos are, I think King James says ministers, but it’s actually the word underrowers and just that concept of a servant at the bottom of the ship, rowing doing their job, but the captain is up on top and that’s Jesus and the captain is giving the direction. The captain is navigating the ship and we each have a job as rowers, servants. And it might be in the front of the ship, and then it might be in the back of the ship. It might be in the middle. Who knows? It might change, but no matter what stage of life or what location, we’re still a rower for Christ.
And, I just appreciated Paul’s example there of a word picture of the word minister. And I think keeping that focus on Christ or keeping that at the center absolutely allows for the stability in the midst of what might be transitioning times and roles and so on and so forth.
Great example, Matt, any last thoughts before bringing to close? Well, thank you. Let’s bring it to a close here then. Thank you, so much for joining us. Thanks Steve and Mike, for your time and really wish you guys blessing in the continued service that you do for him. And I’m sure there’s a lot of questions left unanswered on this topic, but hopefully there’s a lot of really good counsel. There has been a lot of really good counsel and encouragement that has been shared. The story might our minds closer towards Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith and our chief shepherd, that we serve under. So, may God bless you, this night and thanks for joining us.