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Margie Bryce

Your leadership coach
and self-care advocate

115: A Chat about “Calling” in this Transitional Era for the Church

The Crabby Pastor
The Crabby Pastor
115: A Chat about "Calling" in this Transitional Era for the Church
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I’m exploring the essence of what it means to be ‘called’ in this Transitional era for the Church. God is calling us to follow Jesus wholeheartedly into ‘new things’ which means emergence of ministries that are both within and outside the conventional framework. I share my insights into how these shifts demand a renewed focus on holistic self-care and call for a missional approach to ministry, tapping into the unique gifts of congregations to serve communities earnestly and effectively.

Join me as we navigate these transformative concepts together, seeking paths to ensure that we—ministry leaders—can nurture our spiritual and emotional health while passionately serving others in new ways.

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Margie

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Transcript

Margie: 0:01

Hey there, it’s Margie Bryce, your host of the Crabby Pastor podcast, where we talk about all things sustainability, whether it’s sustainability in ministry, in your personal life and we acknowledge that the church is in a transitional time, so we hit topics there too that are going to stretch your mind and the way you lead, especially how you lead yourself, so that you don’t become the crabby pastor. Hey there, podcast friends, it’s Margie Bryce, host of the Crabby Pastor podcast, and I have an announcement to make, two things actually. The first is that I am going to be taking my own advice and I will be doing some sabbatical time in June and July of this year, but I’m not going to leave you with nothing. I am going to serve up to you my collection of Back From Burnout stories from ministry leaders who are telling the truth about their trek back from burnout. It’s always something that we can learn from listening to other people’s situations and stories and maybe prevent our own burnout episodes from even happening by doing the self-care that we need to do. So I will serve those up to you, but I will be back revived and ready to serve Margie Bryce here, and I wanted to bring up the topic today to you about calling.

Margie: 1:59

What is your calling? You know we say this as ministry leaders. I being called to leadership within the institutional church and if you will just bear with me on the title institutional church I’m thinking more of the formal church structure, talking about an individual congregation, or you’re talking about something more formal and larger, like a denominational structure. So I want to bet about calling with you today, and some of what’s been on my heart has more to do with some foundational reasons, one in particular about why I even do this podcast, and that is that the church is in a transitional time, and I’m kind of hearing a few of you might say well, no duh, transitional with a capital T, it’s being changed a bit Now. Some of you might say that that has a lot to do with COVID, and that is one reason. Although many churches were challenged and struggling even prior to COVID, to COVID, one of my key foundational reasons for doing this podcast is there’s a transitional period going on and if we want to hear the new things that God is asking us to do, we’re not going to be able to be running on the hamster wheel and think that we’re going to hear it, which is why I advocate heavily for self-care. You know whether it is spiritual self-care, physical, mental, emotional. You know the whole gamut in a very holistic way. I see this as a form of stewardship with the bodies that God has given us to trot around on planet earth with.

Margie: 4:13

So if you add some of these things together, you know, in a transitional period like we’re in, what it might look like is ministries arising from within an institutional setting and again that just kind of means more organized and formal, with structures like a governance, how you handle your money, policies probably have a human resources, people in there, as well as trustees and the whole gamut, the whole thing that guides your administrative function. And, as many people know, you can’t just have an administrative function if that’s all you’re doing. If you’re doing Sunday morning and you’re doing, you know, your whatever you want to call them committee or group meetings, and that’s the extent of what you’re doing as a church. You can look on any church timeline graph and see that you’re toddling your way towards a demise. That mission and vision do indeed need to be functional. So I would say to you that every church group would need to have some kind of missional ministry to bless their community and that’s going to be a function of your community. It’s going to be a function of the passion, of your leadership, and somewhere you are going to intersect with the needs of your community and how you want to go about serving, based on the spiritual gifts in your congregation. So you can see from that that two churches might live in the same community but serve in different means.

Margie: 6:04

So, going back to calling though, because that’s kind of the essence of what I wanted to chat about, you know, if you’re looking at church in a transitional time, a time when you need to slow down so that you can hear the new things that God is asking of you as an individual believer of Jesus Christ, then you’re looking at ministries that might arise from within a traditional institutional church setting. You might also have ministries that arise connected to, but not necessarily under the auspices of, a traditional setting, and then you’re also looking at ministries that might evolve independent of a traditional institutional setting. Okay, so bear with me on this. Go with me on this train, a little bit of a train ride here. This. Go with me on this train, a little bit of a train ride here. So, if you’re going to have some of these newer ministries spring up. Maybe and maybe not connected to the institutional setting, you’re going to have people who are called and feel passionate about whatever thing that God has put on their heart, and that is one of the things that I think we’re going to start to see, because if you add in COVID which you know, we’re all tired, I get it of adding COVID in in any way, shape or form.

Margie: 7:37

However, even in this post-COVID era, we are dealing with the effects, not just the trauma in the lives of all the people, but also that many churches are down maybe half of what they were prior to COVID, and this has impact. It impacts your budget, how the church spends its money. In some cases, staff has had to be let go. So you have a lot of ministry leaders, and some of whom have you just flat out pooped out and burnt out, fried out. However, you want to say that and just totally said I can’t do this anymore, whether it’s within the time frame of COVID or shortly after. Or maybe you were one of the ones who were let go because your church no longer could afford to pay you or have you on staff in that way. So what we’re looking at is a group of ministry leaders who may not be serving in the institutional setting.Margie: 8:49

And you know, did any of this catch God by surprise? No, and you know, I have to tell you, I’m right there with you when someone says, oh, nothing comes to you that didn’t get sifted through the hands of God first. You know, depending on what that is and depending on how painful that is, you know, and even if somebody wants to toss Romans 8, 28 at you, there’s just, there’s a day that somebody should not do that, because you’re in a little bit too much pain and you’re trying to wrangle with yourself, wrangle with God through it. So I don’t want to make light of anything like that. However, there is going to be a core of people who are without ministry work and maybe it’s just like fine, fine, I’d rather go be a greeter at the Walmart anyways, you know, because you leave there and there’s nothing else pressing on you to do, and maybe you need to do that for a time. But what I’m going to say to you is, I believe that the spirit is going to blow and there is going to arise an entrepreneurial spirit for new ways to reach people for Jesus Christ that may be apart from independent of the institutional structure or maybe, if your institutional structure can handle it, it might be from within the structure itself.

Margie: 10:23

All of us are called. I remember when I felt called to ministry and people would talk about it like that was something that happens to you but maybe not to me, which is incorrect if you buy into the priesthood of all believers notion that we are all called. And I believe that today, all of us, if we follow Jesus, we are all called. And I believe that today, all of us, if we follow Jesus, we are all called. Now, the place that you serve well, that could be up for grabs. Where is it that I am to serve?

Margie: 11:00

And I would say to you that that’s going to be according to the gifts that God has given to you, going to be according to the gifts that God has given to you. So in some cases and I think I said this from the pulpit before that the only reason that I’m standing on the platform delivering a sermon is because God has gifted and equipped me for that. Because, as I also frequently said, usually the people that are delivering the sermons are the ones that have encountered trauma and trial and seen God’s rescue. And so we have, while we have probably some of the bigger dings spiritually or emotionally or whatever that God has worked us through we still are those people who want to draw others to Christ because of the Christ that we have experienced. So all of us are going to be placed according to our gifts.

Margie: 11:58

Maybe that’s leadership, maybe that’s not, but maybe you have an entrepreneurial bent where you can envision and I guess that is also visionary where you can see a need for something that doesn’t exist yet and God is calling you to arise and meet that need. So that is, I think, a distinct type of calling for today, and we used to just relegate that to church planters. Today you might see it arise in some marketplace, meaning regular old job businesses where the owners are Christians and adhere to a set of Christian principles and values, are Christians and adhere to a set of Christian principles and values. You know, and depending on what kind of business it is, they might or they might not explicitly be evangelistic in their effort. It just depends and it depends on what God is asking you to do.

Margie: 13:07

So what I’m saying here is, while the formula to get a call and to then become a pastor or a missionary even, we need to expand our thinking about that. We need to drastically expand our capacity to allow the Holy Spirit to really work on us and allow us to step into whatever it is that God is placing on your heart. And I have to say today that many women especially have and I don’t know, this might be a boomer thing and if you say it like my millennial son says it, there’s a little bit of disparaging with that word boomer those boomers where a lot of women would sit on the sidelines kind of and wait to get asked to dance, if you know what I mean. Some of it might have been how women go at our employment, where we would wait for someone else to initiate something before. The only person really that you should be waiting to initiate is God and the Holy Spirit, you know. And then you respond that way. But I’ve seen a lot of women that have been associates and they just don’t go and ask to preach ever, whereas you know the guys would be all about that. When do I get to preach? When do I get to preach?Margie: 14:41

So I guess I bring that illustration up to you to say the time is now illustration. Up to you to say the time is now, stop waiting on the sidelines for someone to ask you to do something. If God has put something on your heart and on your mind, you know you need to step into it. And here’s the thing. This is a test, really. If you start putting your foot in the land, as they say, and the doors start popping open here and there, and here and there, and here and there, well, there you go. Even if just one door opens, there you go. You get a sense of God’s not going to hold the door open for you for you know five years and stand there patiently and waiting for you to you know, hey, you get over here. I think there are times that God wants to see our initiative and do you really believe me? And so take a step of faith towards something, towards whatever God is bringing to you, towards whatever God is bringing to you. So I think the main piece that I want to really really drive home is that we’re all called and we need to broaden our thinking of what that calling is going to look like.

Margie: 16:05

Not everybody is cut out to do pastoral ministry in the way that it has been done forever. We may be stepping out of the professional pastor model and into something else where maybe I know there’s plenty of pastors doing bivocational, where you are working in the in the traditional marketplace, the regular old job place, but then on the weekends you serve a congregation, or through the week, because it doesn’t always have to be the same way. You know, maybe it’s not even on a Sunday. Sunday maybe you do church with your people on Wednesday. The important thing in that case is that you’re doing what God asks you to do, and maybe it doesn’t look exactly the same.

Margie: 17:00

So I want us to broaden our perspective of what it means to be called, because the bottom line of it is, at the end of the day, can you ask yourself have I been faithful and obedient with everything God has asked of me, yes or no? And if it’s no, you know you’re one good repentance prayer away from getting back on track. But I want us to grab hold of, especially in this transitional era, this concept that calling means being faithful with whatever God has asked you to do. Now I know that there are churches that really press this, and right now I’m blessed to be a part of a congregation that does do this, where you know you, you can take some time to explore and think through. I don’t think they call it calling per se because for some reason and in some people’s hearts and minds, that still means you know you have to be the pastor up on the stage. You know if you were to say anything more they might go off running into the night. No, no, no.

Margie: 18:11

But essentially, essentially, your calling is about being faithful and obedient with what God has for you, in accordance with the passion that just ignites in your heart and you know you need to address this and do something about this and the spiritual gifts that God has given to you and maybe the needs of the community, the needs that you see around you, those kind of things can come together, meld and mix in your heart and there you go. You’re like well, I think God wants me to what God wants me to help students read, tutor. You know that’s a calling. It really is a calling. A calling is being faithful and obedient with the gifts and the abilities according to the passion and the need you see around you. It does not always, always have to be. I’m going to go be a pastor, so I just wanted to leave that thought with you.

Margie: 19:22

Maybe this is a podcast you want to share with someone, just to encourage them, because you can kind of see they’re itchy a little bit and they know they need to do something and they’re still debating about all of that. So this would be your moment to encourage them that God is busy doing a new thing and that being called by Jesus might look differently, and you know what. That’s okay. Not only that, but it could be the biggest and best adventure. Not that there won’t be challenges, but it could be the biggest and best adventure that you could go on with Jesus.

Margie: 20:12

I also want to mention that I am always on the hunt for back from burnout stories and if you or someone you know has survived burnout and come back, or maybe even stepped back still to take, you know, to come up for air for a minute and put yourself back together, I would love, love, love to hear their stories. If they’d be willing to share. You can email me at crabby pastor at gmail dot com, whether it’s for yourself or someone you know, and we’d be happy to have you on the podcast. So, and while I’m at it here, if you ever have questions or comments or there’s a topic about self-care or something that is just on your heart and you’d like me to dig at it and explore a bit again. Email me at crabbypastor at gmail dot com and I would be glad to connect and explore and see what I can find out to be of help, because I exist to support you in whatever kind of ministry God has called you to. So how do the pieces of your life fit together? Do they fit together well and things are humming along just fine, or are there some pieces that are tight or absent or just not fitting the bill?

Margie: 21:47

This is your invitation to join me in my glass workshop for a video series, where I am going to do a stained glass project while I talk to you about sustainability and building sustainability into your heart and into your life. So I am going to be doing my art, which is a form of self-care, and I’m going to invite you into that space with me and I’m going to chat. I’m going to chat about self-care and I’m going to show you how I create, and there’s a nifty, nifty analogy. Stained glass seems to be a very good metaphor for what I want to talk about. So I’d love for you to join me To do that. To opt in, I’ll need you to email me at crabbypastor at gmailcom. That’s crabbypastor at gmailcom, so you won’t want to miss this. You definitely won’t want to miss this, so make a plan to join me in the glass workshop.

Margie: 22:57

Are you wondering whether your fatigue, your lack of motivation, your lack of interest is burnout maybe? I just wanted to let you know that I have a resource on the website, margiebryce dot come com, that’s B-R-Y-C-E margie bryce dot com and it is a burnout questionnaire, free for you to download and kind of self assess and get a sense of where you’re at. There are questions that not only ask about what you’re going through but maybe how often you’re experiencing it. And that’s kind of a key to where you might be, because you have to know where you are in order to chart a course forward. And most pastors who experience pastors and ministry leaders who experience burnout rarely know that that’s where they’re at until they’re well into it. And if you’re unsure about that little statistic, so far, everybody that I’ve interviewed on this podcast who has experienced burnout, when I ask that kind of question, they’re like, yeah, I didn’t know, that’s where I was at. So again, go to MargieBricecom it’s on the homepage of the website and you can get your burnout questionnaire and kind of see where you’re at. Burnout questionnaire and kind of see where you’re at.Margie: 24:42

Hey, friends, the Crabby Pastor podcast is sponsored by Bryce Art Glass and you can find that on Facebook.

Margie: 24:45

I make stained glass as part of my self-care and also by Bryce Coaching, where I coach ministry leaders and business leaders, and so the funds that I generate from coaching and from making stained glass is what is supporting this podcast and I will have opportunities for you to be a part of sponsoring me and, as always, you can buy me a cup of coffee thing in the show notes. But I will have some other ways that you can be a part of getting the word out about the importance of healthy self-care for ministry leaders. Hey, thanks for listening. It is my deep desire and passion to champion issues of sustainability in ministry and for your life, so I’m here to help. I stepped back from pastoral ministry and I feel called to help ministry leaders create and cultivate sustainability in their lives so that they can go the distance with God and whatever plans that God has for you. I would love to help, I would consider it an honor and, in all things, make sure you connect to these sustainability practices, you know, so that you don’t become the Crabby Pastor.

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