Knowing When It’s Time to Go

May 9, 2016

(This post was written by one of the most amazing people on the planet - Beth Marshall. Beth and her husband Paul have been a HUGE blessing to NewSpring Church for years in the various roles they've served in. Beth has an incredible sense of humor and wrote this post below about what it means to step into a new calling and lessons the Lord taught her in the process.)

Two of my happiest days in ministry were the day I was called onto staff at NewSpring Church into the Care Ministry - and the day I was called back out!

Let me explain.  

In 2005, my husband Paul and I were having dinner with Perry and his wife Lucretia, when Perry asked me a game changing question: Would consider coming on NewSpring Staff to serve in Care Ministry. I think my answer was something brilliant like, “uh...yeah...let me pray about it...YES!”

At the time, there were just over 3,500 people attending on a Sunday. If you’ve ever served on the front lines of a care ministry where you get to pray for and with people, you know how gratifying, exhilarating and terrifying a day can be. There are days when you get to talk to someone about baptism, becoming a part of your church through membership/ownership, a car crash, a funeral, a financial crisis and celebrating the birth of a baby...all before lunch.  

By 2011 more than 13,500 people were flooding through the doors of NewSpring on Sundays.  As you might imagine, our Care Ministry for 10,000 additional people was a whole ‘nutha level of crazy. With 2011, also came the release of my first book, A Time to Heal, a grief journal.

Paul and I had dinner again with Perry and Lucretia around that time and Perry asked how things were going with my book launch. Then he asked if I thought I’d be able to manage both the new book and my role on staff at NewSpring. Again, my answer was something brilliant like, “I don’t know...I’ve never thought about it.”

Paul suggested I take some time and ask God what to do (I should have thought of that before...), so the next day I got away to a quiet place with the Lord. In my journal, I noticed some words I didn’t even recall writing some time before, “hold the NewSpring staff thing loosely.” About an hour later, my answer came with undeniable clarity:

It was time to go.

Looking back, there had been signs that the job had outgrown me. Like the day I started sneaking down the back steps to avoid needy people in the atrium. Anybody else ever done that? There was a restlessness in my spirit. Deep down I must have known change was coming, but it took stepping away from what was familiar for the Lord to show me something custom designed for me - the launch of my book and the ministry that came along with it.

Here are three things I wish I had known then that I would love to encourage you with now:

  • When the Lord shakes up what is comfortable, it’s to lead you to a more custom designed assignment (Jeremiah 29: 11-13)
  • Staying in a ministry position or job just because it’s familiar can keep you from something extraordinary God has planned for you
  • Talking things through with a trusted friend or counselor is a great idea

If you’re feeling a holy nudge in your spirit right now that a change is coming, it’s OK. Maybe you're sneaking down the back steps, like I was, or maybe you feel like you've hit a plateau in your ministry. Check out Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

If that’s where you are, I want to challenge you to trust that if you’re listening to Jesus and doing what He says, your best days are ahead of you. Opportunities to lead and do things in a way you just can’t see right now.

Or maybe you’re a leader, and you’re certain one of your coworkers is on the wrong seat on the bus - or perhaps on the wrong bus altogether! Whatever it may be, I hope you have the courage to speak to your team member, open and honestly, about what is best for them. The best leaders are those that have a desire to see their team succeed beyond their goals.

I’m grateful to have served with a leader like Perry who not only called me into to ministry, but also had the guts to call me out when he saw what I couldn’t see! I’m thankful that he wanted me to succeed in ministry, even if that wasn’t on staff at our church. Today I have the opportunity to love and minister to people around the world because of my book ministry and it’s absolutely what the Lord had in store for me.

So...is the Lord telling you it's time to go do something new?

(P here - if you enjoyed reading this post by Beth, I hope you'll love my new leadership book The Most Excellent Way to Lead where I talk more about listening to your coaches and what it means to lead people by love. You can visit mostexcellentwaytolead.com to find a retailer near you and get your copy today!)