Monday, May 6, 2013

Four evaluation steps during transition

I've worked through four levels of evaluation in transition to my next ministry calling.

I started my process at the bottom of the chart by listing simple "pros and cons." Since then, each tier has propelled me forward in defining the new mission:

1. Pros and cons: Start a transition by asking, "What's good or bad about this?" Consider the advantages and disadvantages of staying in place or moving forward. This gives you a Yes/No answer.
  • Think about Caleb and Joshua's courageous decision to conquer the (humanly) unconquerable Promised Land. When others said, "It's too awful. Too terrifying. Too much. Plus we're too weak!" ... these two men boldly said, "If God is with us, we can take the giants, the hill country, and the challenges." (Numbers 13)
2. Possibilities and threats: "What are the risks of engagement, compared to possible achievements?" What could happen? Is God directing this? We ask trusted mentors to stand with us as we consider a big move.
  • Jonathan and his armor bearer demonstrate brave exploration. They were already out of the camp; yet they took a big chance for a potentially huge win. "Let's go for it. I've got your back," says Jonathan's teammate. (1 Samuel 14) This is where we shout out before scaling the cliff, to see if God is in it and others agree.
3. Multiplication and stasis: Our choice is to stay with what we have ... or offer everything to God. We ask, "Is God in charge? Or do we need to retain control?" God blows out our paradigms of what is possible by taking over. We ask: "What could happen that we don't know about? Do we trust God, even if it's going to be a wild ride?" We know we lose everything by holding on to what we have.
  • Jesus multiplies the loaves and fishes. What might God do with our willing sacrifice and utter abandonment? Everything is fair game at this point, even a boy's lunch. (Remember, the youngster has lost his meal at this point.) (Matthew 14:19;15:36; Luke 5:6;9:3-17). BTW: God never offers a small consolation prize for disobedience.
4. Resonance and resistance: In refining options, we evaluate our place in the story. What "rings our bells" because it matches our gifts and calling? On the other hand, what produces an instinctive resistance? How can we use the resonance and resistance to define what "moving forward" looks like?
  • Remember "Thy will be done," from the Lord's Prayer. Think of Jesus at key points of defining his mission. His baptism. Enduring his temptations. Moving through ministry to the applause or scorn of people. Here, we constantly ask: "Does this glorify our Father in heaven? Is this what He is calling US to do ... or does this opportunity belong to someone else?" (Matthew 6:9-13)
I don't know Step 5. I'll pass it along, when I find out!

What parts of these steps match or disagree with what you've experienced during transitions?

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