One of the interesting things about being in ministry is that we all feel that we have been called. We all have this sense that the Spirit has worked in our lives and has called us to a specific ministry, and then when that ministry goes sour –in many cases because of sin or even an honest mistake – what happens to our call? What happens to a person who has trained to spend a lifetime in ministry and then suddenly finds that ministry cut short?
Pastor-in-Residence (PIR) is a small organization that works with pastors who have been exited from, or forced out of, their ministries – not for moral reasons but for political or theological reasons. Due to church factions and other circumstances, these men and women have lost their ministries and have therefore lost their heart. The pain both they and their families suffer is enormous. Seeing these effects on fellow ministers makes me want to guard my own heart to make sure that my relationships are clean, right, and honest. It reminds me that I need to nurture the call that I have in this ministry, and I want to encourage all of us in AMF to do the same.
PIR is purposed to keep those who have been exited from falling through the cracks. Last week, Ed Lochmoeller and I took part in PIR’s annual meeting at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. At that meeting AMF and PIR formed a partnership, a strategic alliance that will allow us to discover these “lost sheep” and allow us to restore them and save their call; Ed was named the national director of PIR.
When I came to AMF, Ed had been shuffled among two or three positions over the last couple of years. But in that board room, I saw in Ed’s eyes and heard in his voice that this leadership position had given him back his heart. It’s a marvelous thing to give a man back his heart, and I was blessed to watch it with my own eyes.