This month and next I am officially beginning two part time jobs that in many respects will be a new path for me. This coming Sunday I am excited to be introduced as the part time pastor of senior adults at Washington Avenue Christian Church. I am also filled with anticipation to be the new teacher of the dual credit Bible class at Amarillo High School this coming school year. It is an elective class students may take for credit through Amarillo College.
The last 30 years I was the senior pastor of a church, and the 10 years before that I was the only minister of a church. Although I served for about five years as a youth minster under a senior minister, this will be my first experience serving as a member of a pastoral staff/team under a senior pastor. It will be a new path for me, but having been on the other side, I understand how it works and am eager to be a member of the team rather than the leader of the team.
Although I have been involved with senior adults all my 44 years of ministry, this will be the first time my primary focus will be on seniors. Since I stepped down from my previous church in 2014, I have read quite a bit about retirement and aging. And since we have been talking about this new position, I have focused my reading on senior adult ministry. I am eager to pour my heart and energy into caring about, challenging, encouraging, and ministering to and with seniors.
Although I have never taught in a high school, I was a youth minister for several years working with junior high and high school students. I was also an adjunct professor of Bible at Hope International University the last four years and mostly taught incoming freshman. Teaching in a public high school, however, will not be the same as teaching Bible at a Christian University or leading a youth group in a church setting. As I understand it, my challenge is to keep in mind the difference between teaching the Bible and teaching about the Bible–I am to teach about the Bible.
As excited and eager as I am about this new path, in all honesty, I am also nervous. And I’m not at all embarrassed about that. I was nervous when I began my youth ministry in 1970; I was nervous when I began my ministry in Philadelphia in 1975; and I was nervous when I began the process of planting a church in Southern California in 1984. I think it is both good and appropriate to be somewhat nervous as we begin a new path. As a matter of fact, I would be concerned if I wasn’t nervous.
Think of some of the new paths many of us have started down during our lives: going to high school, going to college, leaving home, getting married, having children, buying a house, and relocating to name a few.
I’m not the first person to begin a new job (even at the age of 66). Most who read this post will have done so as well. Here’s some advice to myself as I begin my new path: be grateful, keep your eyes open and make sure you listen, give your best effort, be gracious to everyone, love the people, enjoy the walk, and don’t stop being both excited and nervous.
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