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Has anyone else experienced periods of time where it seems like God sidelined you for a while to work on some things in your own life.   And then when you felt called to get back in the game, you felt a sense of inadequacy or it seemed that there were other barriers (real or imagined) that prevented you from getting off the bench?

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YES...YES...and...YES!

I am there right now, but a lot is a lack of perspective for me at times. I am involved in Discipling my 17 year old son who feels called to the ministry and I am involved in doing peer to peer Discipling with two other guys so I am involved....but...and a big BUT for me is that I am not involved in my church at the moment. My church is great and is functioning wonderfully and trying to get into a teaching ministry has been slow moving...so slow I scream, "HEY COACH PUT ME IN." But the last two and a half months I have been working through a family crisis and I am discovering things I don't like about myself and now believe I was sitting on the bench to fix those issues...issues are now addressed and guess were I find myself? "HEY COACH PUT ME IN."

Bottom line is I know I will be leading a home fellowship but the timing is up to the pastoral staff so this will allow me to work on other things until I am put in the game...a few more books to read...more classes at the Seminary I attend part-time...some writing projects I am working on...etc...I am involved in what I am supposed to do at the moment...God is always in control and though I feel like I am on the bench because I am not involved at church, the truth is I am involved! I am just in the minor leagues...lol...
Yes, perspective is important. For a year or more, I have been wrestling this issue because part of what led to me being sidelined was that I stood up against a non-believing, active alcoholic becoming chairman of the board in my church and because I stumbled upon some unethical financial issues that the pastor was behind. Our church was in the process of becoming a Discipleship Training Center and I had a very active and wonderful role in that. Once these two issues were uncovered, I became shunned by the pastor and his family--which was especially hard because I was on a staff of four people. Anyway, getting back to perspective...yesterday I was driving home from work and the Lord spoke to me about how leaving there was necessary because of what he wanted to do in my husband's ministry. My husband is a youth pastor at a very large church. He's only been there a little over a year and he has doubled the youth group. God is doing wonderful work through him. I, on the other hand, feel like a speck of dust and not needed at this church.

Like you, God has been working on some junk that surfaced through the last church situation. It's just that it is hard to get back up again when you've been brought so low.
Wow, what a difficult situation. I was on staff at a church and left for various issues that were going on and can relate to you. It is hard to step down from ministry even when thing are not Biblical around you. leaving is probably the right thing to do if you cannot effect change.

Part of my current problem is a similar situation in that in may 2009 I step out of a teaching position at a church that was not headed in a good direction and I did not have the influence (or numbers) on my side. I am now at a great church with 2,500 people and opportunities for service is limited because the old timers hold all of the ministry positions. But with more growth expected I will be sent in from the sidelines to play again.

The moral of the story is that God will play you again because you are available to be played. Keep praying and seeking God as to what He wants you to do and when the opportunity presents it self jump in totally relying on the Lord to direct and empower your ministry. We all have a gift and we are all to be used to edify the Body of Christ. Wait, Pray, and Be Ready!
I pastored a church that had a history of inviting the Mormon bishop to teach once a year and invited by the same people for other things. The church grew rapidly until the power brokers decided they were losing control. I learned to love and forgive unlike before. I have also learned to let go of things I see as bad and realize God is still in control. Walking with God is not what about what I think or want but about following God each step of the way even when it does not always make sense.
I am a bit intrigued by your comment! How could you ever think of inviting the Mormon bishop to teach in your church. While I have nothing against the Mormon bishop as a person, I don't think the Scriptures permit us to allow him to teach in a church. The church is supposed to be God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). The Bible says, have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales (1 Timothy 4:7). If we want to hear his views there are other places and forums, but not the church!
You are not the only one who was shocked. Imagine what I felt like when I was told by someone in the community. Everything was consistent though. They claimed life, but were dead. They claimed to be evangelical, but were far from it. Today there have been funerals for three of the men who gave me trouble and they were a lot younger than I am.

I did not invite the Mormon bishop. It had been a practice for about 20 years. That practice ended when I stood against them. It was a church that was part of a large denomination which claims that all of their churches are autonomous. However they did nothing to take care of the matter. Those at the state and local level had known about it for a long time. Some of the leaders were involved with the denomination at the state level as volunteers on the church growth board. A few years ago one of their national leaders gave a sermon and in that sermon he said that one could be conservative in their theology and live like practical atheists. You might think it was and is still part of a liberal denomination. It was not.

That sort of thing happens more than most people would ever guess. It is on the rise.

I know a man who was pastoring a church that grew from 75 to almost 600 in six years and when the church got larger the "leaders - power brokers" asked him to leave.

Today I am a part of a group of churches that are interdependent and would step in to take care of things like that. There is a very different attitude among them.
Yes, I had been going well, then moved overseas, got married, returned (after going through hard times), got involved in a lukewarm church where I battled uphill to serve until moving to a new one last year. Now I'm having trouble going beyond leading Bible studies and worship as a choir member.

At that lukewarm church, a choir member slandered my wife repeatedly because she was from Europe, not from the area, and because she appeared to be after me! I did not see this coming and my wife did, causing further conflict. When we tried to approach that woman, she would not talk to my wife. She married a finance "minister" who was a friend of the pastor, and when she was put up for a position in the church (paid) to help visit the sick, I protested gently due to that person not being qualified by her gossip, slander, and other non-qualifiers. We met with the pastor who barely heard my wife's side and even jumped up in an angry voice threatening to cast her out of the church with finger wagging in her face. This all because my wife was unable to confront the person first and came to the pastor now ("not following Bible's example"). My wife then said that next time she would "grab her by the neck" and make certain the other person discussed the issue. This is a tranlation of a Dutch saying much like our "grabbing the bull by the horns" but he did not ask that, but immediately lashed out in anger and judgement. This issue was therefore not resolved, and the woman did get the postition. Then we heard from a deacon's wife (a friend) that the pastor had a secret deacon meeting to warn about my wife the troublemaker who was "an instrument of satan"... We were unable to pursue ministry there, and left less than a year later. We love and forgive them, but are only now able to pursue ministry and be able to trust others in leadership again. The signs were there - philosophy with little Scripture in the sermons, the aloofness except with the inner circle as the pastor called his friends, and such. Nevertheless, it did affect us.

I know God wants to use me again for individuals, but am having difficulty getting going again, and do sometimes wonder about the "barriers" that seem to be there. Isaiah 30:21 is helping.
David, that sounds like a very painful experience for both you and your wife. I trust that God will heal all of the wounds that were caused in that situation.

I'm reading a book by Alice Smith called, "Spiritual Intimacy with God" that has been encouraging me and helping me see what God might be up to behind the scenes. She talks about "seasons of intimacy" and one of them being a period of "stripping". Looking back, I can see some things that I wished I had handled better and I see how the heartache that I went through at the last church allowed some things to surface that I thought I had thoroughly dealt with. Sometimes wounds don't heal properly and need to be re-opened so that they can heal properly. I know that's one of the things that God has been up to in my situation.

David Ahlgren said:
Yes, I had been going well, then moved overseas, got married, returned (after going through hard times), got involved in a lukewarm church where I battled uphill to serve until moving to a new one last year. Now I'm having trouble going beyond leading Bible studies and worship as a choir member.

At that lukewarm church, a choir member slandered my wife repeatedly because she was from Europe, not from the area, and because she appeared to be after me! I did not see this coming and my wife did, causing further conflict. When we tried to approach that woman, she would not talk to my wife. She married a finance "minister" who was a friend of the pastor, and when she was put up for a position in the church (paid) to help visit the sick, I protested gently due to that person not being qualified by her gossip, slander, and other non-qualifiers. We met with the pastor who barely heard my wife's side and even jumped up in an angry voice threatening to cast her out of the church with finger wagging in her face. This all because my wife was unable to confront the person first and came to the pastor now ("not following Bible's example"). My wife then said that next time she would "grab her by the neck" and make certain the other person discussed the issue. This is a tranlation of a Dutch saying much like our "grabbing the bull by the horns" but he did not ask that, but immediately lashed out in anger and judgement. This issue was therefore not resolved, and the woman did get the postition. Then we heard from a deacon's wife (a friend) that the pastor had a secret deacon meeting to warn about my wife the troublemaker who was "an instrument of satan"... We were unable to pursue ministry there, and left less than a year later. We love and forgive them, but are only now able to pursue ministry and be able to trust others in leadership again. The signs were there - philosophy with little Scripture in the sermons, the aloofness except with the inner circle as the pastor called his friends, and such. Nevertheless, it did affect us.

I know God wants to use me again for individuals, but am having difficulty getting going again, and do sometimes wonder about the "barriers" that seem to be there. Isaiah 30:21 is helping.

I often think of my Christian life in terms of the vine/branch metaphor Christ used. Living here in "wine country" in Northern California, I see the vines almost every day driving to/from work. Jesus spoke of God as the "husbandman/vinedresser," Himself as the Vine/Root, and of us (individually/collectively) as the branches. In His parable, He emphasized roles and made sure we understood which WE are - Root or branch. He also spoke of God as "pruning" us - whether of dead branches not bearing fruit or fruit-bearing to increase the yield. 

 

Vines have seasons, growing, fruit bearing, harvest, dormant, etc. I have been going through a bit of a dry spell, a time when I am struggling to understand what I am to be about, and of uncomfortableness with some of the practices at my current church. It seems to be doing EVERYTHING but focusing on the Word and discipleship. I have been driven with a hunger to study the Word, writings of people of faith, and my own noodlings.

 

But, in spite of all that I am currently feeling, sensing, struggling with, "anxious" over, I KNOW that my God IS able. I shall come through this period into a new time of fruitfulness and service. I praise God for HIS faithfulness and the assurance His love, His Christ, His Holy Spirit bring.

I'm right in the middle of what you describe. I would like to hear how your journey is going. I'll be glad to share mine.
I agree Gerald. I'm trying to stop focusing on what I want and learning to open my mind to what God wants. It almost feels like starting over, because I used to be more in tune with God's will.

Gerald Polmateer said:
I pastored a church that had a history of inviting the Mormon bishop to teach once a year and invited by the same people for other things. The church grew rapidly until the power brokers decided they were losing control. I learned to love and forgive unlike before. I have also learned to let go of things I see as bad and realize God is still in control. Walking with God is not what about what I think or want but about following God each step of the way even when it does not always make sense.

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