Re-launch Part I: Job Switcher

I was in training to become a pastor. The fact is that I thought I was called to become one. I would still accept that calling if it turned out to be true, but I believe I had misunderstood. I wanted to be a preacher. I wanted to influence people for the good of God’s purpose…but I also wanted to influence people for the good of God’s purpose. I know, I wrote that twice.

You see, I’m a very prideful man. In almost everything I do, I naturally look at angles to make me more important. That is, after all, what I want to be. I want to be heard. I want to be important.

Every time, God has to break me down a notch…or two…or a lot. My recent issue with orders to Virginia were part of this. I needed to rely on God only, something I’m no good at. The more I consider this as a reality, the more I realize that I am not fit to be “behind the pulpit.”

Yet God has led me very distinctly. Through my career in the Navy, I have often found myself as a guide. My best work, it would seem, has always been behind the scenes, helping people develop their sense of God’s calling for them. Most recently, a buddy of mine in the Navy applied for, and was accepted to, the chaplain program. Yet I was behind the scenes, and when his day to shine came, I got to watch from the audience. God taught me an important lesson that day…I am not meant to lead…I am meant to guide.

So I have re-focused my efforts on teaching. Currently, I’m 41 days away from starting Instructor Training (IT) School here in San Diego before transferring to Great Lakes to teach A-School. As an instructor, I will have a blessed opportunity to not only train, but to guide young sailors.

I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I’m excited to find out. I look forward to conducting some amazing research in the field of education while teaching in Great Lakes. I look forward to being more involved in my kids’ education as well. This is going to be an amazing ride!

10 comments:

Steve said...

God's grace on your transition.

The calling of a pastor is to guide, the fact that we stand in front of the congregation every Sunday does not mean we are show boating. (I know some do, but biblical preaching is an act of humiliation.) In other words, we humble ourselves and allow Jesus to speak through us. Any preacher who thinks, "Boy, this sermon is really going to impress people." has already missed the mark of biblical preaching any way. We hide behind the cross and allow the people to hear the Word. Some are better orators than others, but if the preacher has prepared and delivers the Gospel, people should walk away thinking about the message, not the sermon, no matter how good or bad the delivery.

Having said all that, let me encourage you to not to give up on the pulpit just yet. If you felt a call from the Lord earlier, don't let obstacles over come you. Now we know not all are called to the pulpit (Eph 4:11), and maybe God is guiding you into the role of a king-maker. To His Glory! But from what I have read in your past posts, this post seems to me to say, "I am not worthy of the office of Pastor."

Dan, that would exclude all of us. Whenever someone slaps me on the back and says "Boy, you did a great job today, Preacher." I have to remind myself that flattery is like perfume...It's OK to smell it, just don't drink it. The sentiment is nice, and I hope they learned something, but I know it was only by God's grace I am even a Believer.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from your decision, just that I want you to know that I, and most of my pastor brethren, feel unworthy all of the time. I go always to my calling. Too long for this post reply, but it revolves around 1 Cor 9:16 "Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel!"

I am praying for you.

Blessings.

Steve

Dan said...

Steve,
I am so grateful to God for the internet. Really, truly, how would I have ever met you if it weren't for it? Thank you for your gracious words.

I would be honored someday if God would still put me in a church in vocational ministry. It is true that I often feel unworthy of such a calling.

This change in career path, for now, is an extension of where I'm going in my navy career. We will see how things work out over time. I'm glad to know that I can always share what's on my heart and that good people are available to help me. Thank you!

Jin-roh said...

Wow. I realize I don't know if you've actually gone through OTS or if you are an Enlisted man only. Either way, I am sure that such skills will help with the administrative roles that a pastor plays.

Dan said...

I'm an enlisted man. 14 years in and all. The skills I'm learning, and have learned, would certainly work for pastoring. I don't know if I have the ability to be as flexible as a pastor would need to be, but management skills are a plus for me.

Steve said...

What A school will you be teaching? I completed SWSE at Dam Neck, VA. Of course that was about the same time John Paul Jones was readying for retirerment!

Dan said...

Ha! You know, the young sailors are saying that about me now days!

I am going to teach FC A school.

Rev. Mike said...

Dan,

If I've learned anything over the past year, it's that God does things in His way and in His time. You will be able to minister to people no matter where you end up(be it the pulpit, the classroom, or on a ship). God will send you plenty of people to minister to. Just remember to always be ready to teach the lesson.

Dan said...

Amen, my brother. I've learned that recently as well, also that he has his timing and that rarely matches mine! What a wonderful like this is!

Nate said...

Despite all the craze about pastors and their influence on people, the individual who had the greatest impact on me and what I've become today was not behind a pulpit, but in the field along with me.

Be the man you are supposed to be, not what others think you are supposed to be. As you know, God leads us in directions sometimes we aren't aware of. Six years ago I would have never gien any thought to my educational psychology pathway, but now I know that timing is everything! God closes windows and doors for a reason: so we don't go downa path we're not supposed to.

Is preaching for you? To be quite honest, I'm not sure. Not that I'm a good judge of God-given gifts, but I don't see you there for some reason. And you have already declared that your passion is not with the pulpit. When Jesus told his disciples to go and baptize...did He mean to do so standing behind a pulpit with a large congregation, or did He literally mean to "GO"! Now that you're getting into educational research and you're finding a passion for low-income communities, maybe God is leading you to a ministry there. Maybe not a ministry of "preaching," but a ministry of service.

Anyway, I'm not trying to be deeply philosophical or theological. Only saying what's on my mind, as usual.

Nate

Dan said...

Nate, as usual, I am grateful for your thoughts. You are my younger brother, but you have an insight that I wish I had. It could very well be that God is leading me purposefully into low-income communities, but I won't know that until I get there. All I know right now is that God seems to be developing a sense of the need for better education opportunities in low-income areas.

And the fact is, whether I become a pastor or a teacher, God has made it abundantly clear that I need to be of service to humanity, both believers and unbelievers.