A huge decision has been made which impacts a lot of people. The following is that announcement and some thoughts on how to respond when your life is affected by the decisions of others.
Put on your seat belts and get ready for a great adventure. This is a big announcement and it's a "game-changer." Over the next year, those two dudes in the picture (Peter Jankowski and I) are both accepting the challenge to go through major transitions.
Peter is joining the staff of Life Church Buffalo (where I am currently the lead pastor) in June of this year as co-pastor; and will, by the Spring of 2017, transition into the role of lead pastor.
Peter and Kelly were among a handful of people who started Life Church Buffalo in our living room in 2006. They are both loved and respected by all who know them. Pete left Buffalo over three years ago and has been serving on staff at a church in Columbus, Ohio. He has been knocking it out of the park as a pastor and leader. Those who know Peter and Kelly and have watched their lives know that they are ready for this new challenge of leadership.
I am so excited, I can shout!!!
That leads to the next question... What about me? What is my future?
This next year I, too, will be transitioning to a new role in ministry in God's kingdom. I will be joining a global church planting movement that is planting thousands of churches on the other side of the world. My role will be to help pastors and churches in North America learn how to partner with the global church to take the witness of Christ to every corner of the planet.
The organization, its location, and leadership are not being mentioned here on Facebook to protect those involved. As you know, the spreading of the good news of Christ does not always get a friendly reception. For those who want more details, you may message me privately, call, or text me.
My new title will be "Director of Church Mobilization for Global Impact." In effect, I will shift to missionary status, and begin traveling primarily across North America, coaching pastors and churches in how to team up and fulfill the "Great Commission." Though I will travel oversees occasionally, I will not need to move to another nation. But, like a missionary, I will be raising my own support and will transitionally pass the baton of leadership of our local church to the next pastor, Peter Jankowski.
Wow! That was a mouth full. News like this has many different responses. Shock and awe, for starters. Celebration and tears. For some, it may mean a shift in relationship status. For others it simply raises many questions. And then there are those who may have little interest or connection.
But let me challenge you to read on and gain insight as to how to properly respond to the decisions of others that have high impact in your life. And in the process, I will explain a little of how this decision came about and why.
When someone - especially a family member, friend, or leader - in your life makes a major decision, it often has significant impact on you personally. Here's a little wisdom on how to process and proceed in a healthy, positive way.
...Take the time to process wisely
The shock of any decision made by someone else that changes your life in some capacity can immediately raise a mixture of emotions. In this case there is cause, on the one hand, for celebration that the Jankowskis are returning home and accepting a call to leadership at their home church. This will have tremendous impact on Western New York and especially the people at Life Church Buffalo. Pete and Kelly are awesome people who are highly motivated to change the world.
But then there is this little thing of Craig transitioning out of his role. Certainly some, though happy for me and my future, might be anticipating a sense of loss in relationship or leadership dynamic. I totally get it. But let me encourage you to give yourself time for assimilation. Once you hear the whole story and see the big picture, you may shift from sadness to excitement.
What is happening here is not a negative. It is all positive. The decision was not made by force, due to uncontrollable circumstances. It is not due to the death of the pastor (not to my knowledge anyway) or for health reasons. There is not a problem in the church behind the scenes. There are no hidden agendas or power plays being made. After processing the surprise, you may discover a vision bigger than life and one worth participating in. Don't let the initial insecurities of the unknown keep you from experiencing the rewarding ride ahead. Jesus is on the move. Don't miss the great adventure.
...See the big picture
While initial thoughts may be about immediate consequences, lift your eyes for a few moments and see the bigger thing that is happening. The take-off in an airplane is always a little unnerving. But the thought of your destination will keep you focused and get you on track as you head in the right direction.
This particular decision was for the planning of a healthy future for the church that I pastor. Life Church Buffalo holds a special place in my heart as its founder. These have been the best ten years of my life in ministry. This is a strategic move to set the future of this church on a positive and impactful course. When I look back on my life, my greatest achievement will be that I have left behind a healthy growing church that is reaching its current culture with the powerful message of Christ and His love.
It will be hard for some to understand. But this plan has been in the back of my mind for several years. As this year rolled around, it became clear to me from heaven that the time was now. And to think, I am passing the baton to one who is like a son and brother to me! If you think about it, it's not as big a step as some may think.
...Anticipate with faith
God is always changing and rearranging the game board for high impact. His sights are on the completion of a mission; a mission that you are invited to participate in. He knows about these things before you do (and before the leader does). And He knows how you fit into the process and the outcome. He knows how you will grow. He knows how your gifts and talents will come to the surface and engage in the mission. You have relationship with the same God who led the leader to make the decision. His plans for you are only greater and more fulfilling.
And even if you are not sure that you agree with the decision, God is still on the throne: look to Him. He has a way of turning your plan B into His plan A so that you may accomplish great exploits for His kingdom.
Thank you for all who will be praying and believing for successful future ministry. The best is yet to come. I hope you will get on board and take the ride with us. We have only one thought in mind, and that is to follow God's lead to complete the mission.
Let's change the world together!