categories: accountability, communication, development, encouragement, leadership, personal
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February 3rd, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

12 comments (+ Add)

The Other Side of the “Almost Termination”

I’m writing this post on a plane next to Jerry Hurley, our pastor of team development. Jerry leads a team that hires, trains, and develops our whole staff.

We were talking about how many of our star staff members almost didn’t make the cut at some point or another.

I remember during my first ministry role at First United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, several people on the board decided that I was the wrong fit for the job. They told me plainly that I wasn’t likely to remain in that role.

Around the same time, leaders of the denominational ordination committee sincerely questioned my “call” to ministry. After several difficult conversations, God planted a deep resolve in my heart to humble myself, become teachable, and do whatever it took to please God–even if it meant losing my job.

Something inside me changed. I was no longer trying to prove myself and keep my job, I was trying to please God and fulfill His calling. On the other side of these rough spots, I had the opportunity to do more effective ministry at FUMC than I did before.

When a person faces one of his or her greatest fears of being terminated, sometimes the best ministry is still on the other side.

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  1. Feb 3, 2010 at 6:29 am

    There is nothing like the prospect of being fired to light a fire under your can.

  2. Feb 3, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Its funny how when you quit work to just keep your job (in any business or ministry) you become more productive.
    I look at the people most successful in my last 10 years in business and the ones most productive and happy are those just going after it every day. They don’t work to just get by and save their job.

  3. Feb 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

    In my first pastoral position just out of seminary I was a youth pastor. Over a period of nine months I watched the senior pastor come under fire and finally be terminated by the congregation.
    For the last 35 years there has been that gnawing feeling that I fight that at the end of the week I might get fired. Sometimes that doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Yet I do know God has called me to pastoral ministry. Don’t know what I would ever do outside that role. Perhaps being a barrista at Starbucks!?!
    Thanks so much for the post Craig. You are a humble man.
    By the way do you know Harold Spooner. Spoon is a good friend of mine and has spent almost as long in ministry as me. We went to college together and have done some ministry projects together over the years. He’s a great example of a humble brother who is serving God in great ways.

  4. Feb 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

    It is not just the prospect of being fired but being fired that changes perspective! :) When everything seems to be stripped away and you find yourself wondering what the next step will be, it sure changes how you want to do or plan to do ministry the next time around.

  5. Feb 3, 2010 at 8:29 am

    My experience…God will take us SMACK DAB right into our biggest fears to SHOW US…He is there in EVERYTHING!!!! We have NO CONTROL…NONE! Whatever title, strength, anointing, EVERYTHING we are given comes only from HIM alone and HE WILL CHANGE IT ALL WHEN HE WANTS TO. (MAJOR REALITY CHECK for me)

    I always wondered (an inward chuckle) why most Christians raise their hands in utter JOY singing the words “HE gives and takes away”…yet when God “takes away”..they LOSE IT, Doubt God, and PANIC!!!(I only chuckle because I have done this myself)…Great Post Craig!

  6. Feb 3, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Craig, my daughter Becky was part of the college congregation during the time you were at FUMC. It was around the time of the OKC bombing. I don’t know what the time frame was for your encounters with the denomination, but I can tell you that Becky committed herself to Christ during your ministry and she is now the Dean of the School of Nursing at an Oklahoma University that celebrates the Primacy of Jesus Christ, the Priority of Scripture, the Pursuit of Truth and the Practice of Wisdom. God is there on both sides of the “almost termination.”

  7. 8David Jarrett
    Feb 3, 2010 at 10:01 am

    My thoughts on a situation like that is you have got to know its coming. if you or your church is moving in a spiritual way the devil will do all he can to disrupt any and all he can. If you or your church was doing nothing, then he has you right were he wants you. So he does nothing.

  8. Feb 3, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I was a guy who was never told that I might get terminated - I just flat out along with 2other people got terminated because the leader decided to go another direction. EVERYTHING changed that day. God has provided but I can say that everything changed that day and now my best ministry is happening and is ahead.

  9. 10Ken
    Feb 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I found myself in a similar situation in my first career. I decided that if I got fired, it would be because I was doing what I thought was right rather than doing what I thought would keep me employed. The result was that I went from “goat” to “hero” over the next few months. God is good!

  10. Feb 3, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Wow, this truly blessed me today. I have already dealt with unneeded bitterness and anger with work and getting a realization of God’s forgiveness for me and how I should do that for others (especially on the job). But also, your post helped me deal with my literal fear of being fired, it’s already happened just a few months ago when I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep my job. God is gracious and His timing is everything. I now have been asked by a friend from Bible College if I would consider joininig him in starting a church in either Las Vegas or San Francisco with the aide and help of the ACTS 29 Network. I haven’t been fired but I know God has more in store for me instead of just working at a bank. Here I am Lord, send me! Perfectly and sweetly broken and a humble servant.

  11. Feb 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    The birth of new things often comes because of the death of old things.

    Great post, Craig, and comments from brothers and sisters with same “changes.”