After becoming the founding pastor of Living Faith Tabernacle, and serving as the senior pastor for 27 years, the Lord instructed me very plainly that it was time to transition into something new. I know what you're thinking: “He must have been burned out,” or maybe, "The church must have been going downhill.”
Neither of those statements could be further from the truth. The church was thriving and growing. I was enjoying pastoring and preaching more than ever before. The church’s, as well as my personal finances, were abundantly blessed. There was no church hurt, no devastation, no split within the congregation. I simply knew God was ready to transition both Living Faith and my own life to greater levels.
For decades I was under the impression that once God called you to the pulpit, you were there for a lifetime. After all, what could be a greater calling than to be a pastor?
I have heard many pastors make statements such as, “If this ship sinks, I’m going down with it.” This isn’t a statement of true leadership. Instead, it is said by selfish individuals who are so afraid of change—or of the idea that maybe someone else could actually be equipped to breathe new life into something that could be on the verge of dying—that they would rather see it completely destroyed.
There really is a healthy, positive way to transition as a leader. I have experienced it personally. When I turned my podium at Living Faith Tabernacle over to my successor, I gave him everything: my keys to the building, my years of blood, sweat and tears, along with every bit of my control. What I once considered to be my life’s blood, my baby, I totally walked away from, knowing without even a shadow of doubt that both he and God could take it to new heights that I never could. By taking that leap of faith, I have seen the church, the new pastor, and my life transition with blessings I know none of us would have ever experienced if I would have been too stubborn to change!
We have all heard the quote that says, “The only thing constant in life is change.” Today’s world is constantly changing and evolving—with or without our consent. Transition is a word we don't usually think of fondly. Especially as we grow older, even our bodies “transition” in ways we may not appreciate. We more “mature” individuals among can often be heard complaining about changes in technology, our jobs, banking policies, and yes, even our churches.
I believe the reason we resist change is because it forces us out of our comfort zones. Transition requires a willingness to expand and to learn something new, when maybe we have convinced ourselves that we know everything there is to know about a certain subject or trade. Transition stretches and challenges us. It also humbles us when we realize maybe there really is a better way to do something we’ve been so familiar with for years, or even decades.
In my latest book on transition, If It Ain’t Broke, Break It, I used the example of plumbing. No one had an issue with the outhouse. It served its purpose, and it was all that people were accustomed to. The system was not broken. However, we are all grateful that someone had a vision for something better.
In the transition, the inventor added water to a porcelain tank and brought it inside the house. I assure you that there were sceptics that diagnosed all the reasons that it would not work and how unsanitary it would be. However, they did not understand the new product because it was something they had never seen or experienced.
In today’s society we cannot even fathom not having multiple toilets within our homes. It took someone thinking about something that had never existed but would make life more pleasant. I am so grateful that transition took place on that day, and most have never looked back, nor would anyone desire to go back to the way it was.
Only five percent of Americans live their dream simply because they have stopped dreaming years ago, or they are afraid that they may fail trying to obtain their life purpose. Life teaches us that a person will typically fail seven times for every one success. If waking up each morning you find yourself dreading to go to work, and once you get there, you only daydream about leaving, then you are not living your purpose. It is time for you to do an assessment of your life and determine what needs to be broken in order for you to live out the destiny that you were created for. When you choose a job you love, you will never have to work another day in your life. We only have one shot at life. Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you will still land among the stars.
I can honestly say that I am living my dream every day of my life. It doesn’t take faith to do what you can do. It takes faith to leap out into the unknown and grab what you cannot see. Why don’t you decide today to #LiveYourDream?
This article was extracted from Issue 1 (Spring 2020) of the AVAIL Journal.
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