Don't know where it came from, exactly, but I have this deep-seated expectation that life--and ministry--is supposed to be generally a smooth path, more or less like this chart:

Naive, I know, but that's just the truth. But God is really working hard at changing that in me. He's teaching me that in the normal course of things, ministry and leadership look more like this chart:

He's teaching me that there ARE constants in ministry and leadership, but that those constants are NOT the ones I expect. The constants I can count on:

Miscommunication and misunderstanding
Unhappy people
People leaving the church
People dealing with sin
People not dealing with sin

BUT there are other constants, too, for which I give thanks:

God's presence
God's power
God's faithfulness
Reminders of my need for grace and forgiveness
Grace and forgiveness
Loving correction from my Father
New friends
New blessings
New joy
New mercies

Obviously both are a partial list. But while I am a slow learner, I do learn every once in a while, and I am learning, as Jesus said, not to be surprised when trials come, but to be of good cheer...because He is my Overcomer.

1 comment:

  1. David Foster's post today corresponded in some ways to my thoughts, above, so I thought it worth quoting in a comment. He said (from his blog at

    Here are three things you can count on to change in your life in the days ahead.

    1. Plans you are making. Oftentimes we make plans and present them to God, and I think He laughs. Because often our plans are very different from His. Sometimes they are too small, self-centered, and not worthy of our lives. And often God has to intervene to redirect our plans.

    2. The people we know change. That may be the hardest part. People that we love, embrace, even in marriage often walk away and out of our lives. There are friendships, fellowships, and partnerships that we form with people that in time we outgrow and move away from. If you don’t learn how to grow into and out of, how to open and close relationships in a healthy way, change will overwhelm you, leave you feeling alone, unloved, and un-listened to.

    3. The priorities we pursue change. Think about it. I never dreamed that I would ever own a mini-van, but I have. I don’t today, because my children are no longer little bitty children. But there is a sports car phase, a mini-van phase, and our priorities change as we get older and go through seasons in our lives. And we need to be able to change with them. The great missionary Paul said that when I was a child I spake as a child, I acted as a child but when I became a man I put away childish things; not child-like things, but childish things. And there is a big difference.

    As opposed to the mall, morphing, constantly changing through style, taste, and trend, cheese – good old basic cheese, government cheese – abides. That represents the never-changing. Here are six things that you can count on never changing.

    1. God’s purposes never change.
    2. God’s power never changes.
    3. God’s promises never change.
    4. God’s priorities never change.
    5. God’s principles never change.
    6. God’s passion never changes.

    There are six solid foundations on which you can build your life: God’s purposes, His power, promises, priorities, His principles and His passion. You need to understand what those are. And the only way to understand that is by engaging in the sacred Scriptures, His love letters, His revelation of Himself, His will, His purpose, and His predictabilities.