Joining the Revolution?

So you think that if God wants a person to do something unconventional -- revolutionary if you will, that He will make it beyond clear what that person is supposed to do? Will he at least make the next step clear, like he did for Abraham? Does God give a person knowledge only for them to live in and function in the institution, but with frustration? That doesn't make sense. Is God waiting for the individual to have enough guts to step out? What is this God of ours up to? Patience I suppose is the answer, but there is a fear that if I wait too long I might miss what God is up to. What do you think? I need to be real. I need to be truthful. I need to admit my flaws. I need to teach God's word and encourage, shepherd, and coach His people. I need to hate religion. I need to be emotionally healthy. I need to provide a healthy environment for my family. Problem is, from what I see - most of these things can't happen in full time ministry. I am discerning enough to figure out the problem - am I innovative enough for a solution? My question to you is - do you think that I should wait on God for the solution, or is he waiting for me? Should I join the revolution?

Joining the Revolution?

Let me just make some comments that may be helpful. This is not a revolution. God is inviting people to know him better and love him in environments that encourage their pursuit, not discourage or demean it. In other words, there is no bandwagon to jump on here, no rebellion needed against the system or those who unwittingly or intentionally manage it. The call is simply to live free. The system may eventually expel you. God may ask you to leave it, but if he does it will most likely be as quietly as possible without destroying others. If you haven't read Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards, this would be a good time! It will help.

Hating religion is OK! I think Jesus did too, actually, and certainly Paul came to do so. We all need to be real and be truthful, admitting our flaws and embracing his grace. But we need to do all that in the way he asked us to do everything else--in love.

I am concerned, however, over your feeling the need to shepherd or coach people. He is more than able to do that himself. That was the fix in Ezekiel 34. God wasn't going to get rid of the bad shepherds and look for good one, but to shepherd his own people. I know you probably already know this but if ministry rises from need in us it really isn't ministry because it doesn't have to do with him and them, but with us. That's the wrong place to start no matter how you look at it. I know those are hard words to hear, but it is truly the only place from which ministry springs. If God wants to use you to help people discover who he is, he has more ways to to do that than you'd believe.

Yes you do need a healthy environment for you and for your family. And Father will provide it, you just watch. You're quite discerning to realize that most of those things can't happen in the environment most people call "full time ministry". As someone said, "He who takes the shekels wears the shackles." I watch so many pastors go through it. The money and the job descriptions often end up owning them. They are afraid to follow God because they don't see him as their source, only their vocation. As long as they do they will make compromises to fit in as best they can and the result is that it is destructive to them and the family pays a huge price for that.

But if God wants you to be free full-time to love his people, he'll provide a way for you to do that. You won't have to beg, borrow or steal. You'll just find that he is an incredible provider while you live in him. That provision can come in a million different ways, including picking up odd jobs or tent-making at times. The call to trust God for provision every day is the very thing that ought to discourage almost everyone from 'full-time ministry.' If we can't trust him for that, then we'll only turn his people into resources for our own living and then we cannot truly minister to them in freedom.

Whether you leave or stay is less important today than that you find peace in your relationship with him and the freedom to live authentically right where you are. That's a process and only he can do it. You can wait on him, but I don't think he is waiting on you. This Father is always working. We don't always see it, but he is. Let him lead you, doing only what you're convinced he's telling you to do. Don't fear what men will think or say. (Yes, I know this is far easier said than done.) And don't try to force yourself into a place where you're not welcome. He will make his work clear in you each day, but I think that is far more in little steps, than in huge decisions we struggle with. Following every day will resolve those bigger issues, in a far more healthy way than if we knew now and tried to force it to happen.

You sound as if you're right where Father wants you, asking the right questions, struggling with the right realities. To the degree that you can, relax. (Also easier said than done!), let him carry you through this to whatever place he has for you and your family. If you just jump from this fire on you're own, you might well end up in another one and have to learn this same lesson again.

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