By Jaime Nava –
Life is changing for me. I am moving states to begin a new position in St. Louis. I just had a second daughter born over a couple weeks ago. We’re selling the house and getting ready to move. It’s exciting but also sad. You see, I had to decide whether or not to stay at the congregation I served or to serve in St. Louis. I do not envy anyone with a call. It is hard.
Taking a call means leaving people I care for. It means they are left to be cared for by another pastor. I worry about the shut-ins I am leaving behind. I worry about the people that need to be catechized. I will miss all those people I was called to serve, who are faithful to their congregation and their pastor. I feel responsible for them still but I’ve already had my last Sunday there.
I do have hope. A congregation doesn’t stand or fall on any one person besides Christ Himself. If a congregational president, head trustee, elder, or pastor believes he makes or breaks a place, he’s fooling himself. We admire Paul and thank God for his letters in the early church. If there was no Paul, the Church would have thrived anyways. If there was no Martin Luther, the Church would still have stood the test of time. To the ones who think the Church relies on them, you are a fool. It doesn’t.
Where are those places founded by Paul now? Where’s the thriving ministry almost 2,000 years later? What happened to Wittenberg? Yet does the Church still live? In Christ it does. There is no persecution, no Babylonian Captivity, no liberal agenda, no bomb-strapped demoniac that can kill the Church. The Church is the body of Christ. He has already taken the assaults of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature. He is Risen! The darkness doesn’t get Christ.
When we reach a crossroad in our lives, Christ is in both directions so take one. Your (ultimately) petty decisions of staying or going will not convince Jesus to leave you. There is no specific path that God set out for you when it comes to the decisions of this world. All Christian roads are paved by Jesus. They all lead to the same place, the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
As you struggle with where to go, what to do, where to serve, here’s what you should understand. It’s not your Church. You are not in control. It will not die because of you. It will not live because of you. It is built on Christ and Him alone. He is capable of keeping the lights on all by Himself. What we do with our time is to be faithful. We stick to the clear passages of forgiveness for sinners. We see our sin on the cross. We see our life in the resurrection. We go to Church to receive these gifts. We talk to our neighbor about these gifts and invite them to experience them as well. We do the simple things that scripture talks about. We don’t worry about being missional or mission-ish. We don’t worry if we’re making the best decision. We don’t strategize to reach maximum potential in evangelical outcome or some other business jargon. We simply look to where Christ is found and share that with people. Sometimes you will suck at it. Sometimes you won’t. Either way just remember, you are not in control. That’s Christ’s work.