As it is in any job transition or moving away from home, you may sense some anxiety and fear. It’s true in the world of itinerant ministry as well. Your mind starts to fill with all kinds of questions. What is the new congregation going to be like? What challenges will I face? I had those questions and emotions as I arrived in Winamac five years ago. It is true today as well.
My time of prayer has become a time of reflection for me. During prayer, I always read a few verses or maybe a chapter from Scripture and I often read from the Gospels. I am especially drawn to the words that speak of fear or not to fear actually.
I think of the time when the disciples were terrified by the ghost on the lake who said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Mt 14). I have read the words of John 14 at many funerals, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I can’t leave out the angel telling Mary “Do not be afraid” in Luke and the angel speaking to the women after the resurrection “Do not be afraid” in Matthew.
There are a lot of unknowns in my future. I know what congregation I will serve, even where I will live, yet there are still many things I’m not completely certain about. Even so, I take courage and will not fear, because I know that God is in this.
Whatever fear we have, the uncertainties we face, or the challenges that come, may we take courage and remember “Don’t be afraid.”