Baptists/A Pastor's Decision


  I don't know if you can give me an answer but I don't have anywhere else to turn.  I am a Presbyterian pastor of 34 years experience.  I am a year and a half from retirement.  I have been at my current church for 14 years and have been very frustrated.  The church has lots of young kids and is growing but there is so much dissension and fighting and I feel it would be better to leave.  I have been interviewing at another church and they want me to come.  I believe I could give them 5 years before I would have to retire.  But it is halfway across the country away from my family and they all think it is stupid at my age to take that call.   I have to discern the Lord's will and I want to let it up to that church that wants me but I don't know if that is the correct way.  I don't want my will I want God's will but I don't know how to discern it.  Do you have any ideas?

Dear Bill,
Most pastors who have a long tenure have periods of frustration such as you have. While it is impossible for me to assess your situation without knowing more details, I would like to suggest that you consider the following:
First, examine your heart and see if you desire to leave only because you are discouraged. If your motive is a discouragement, you should not do anything until you have new joy and peace in the Lord. A wise person once said, "never make a decision in the dark because whatever decision you make, the sun will rise again, and you cannot undo a decision made when you are not seeing thing in the right perspective."
Second, your family should be considered. Many pastors and others regret living in one place while their children and grandchildren are far away. Grandparents Have a unique opportunity to bless their children, as well as a responsibility to have a godly influence in the lives of their grandchildren. You do not want to miss that joy.
Third, consider what God's Word says to you personally. Read it with an open heart ask God to give you direction from the Bible and wait for him to do it. He might tell youas he said to Joshua in Joshua 1:6-9 to be strong and of good courage" or He may give you a clear Word of direction to go to a place He is sending you as He did Paul in Acts 16:10.
I, nor any one else except the Holy Spirit can tell you what decision that the Lord wants you to make. As God leads you however, you can make the right choice if you make it in confident faith that it is God's will and if you make the decision to go or to stay without violating Biblical truth. I will pray for you as you seek to know the will of the Lord.
Sincerely, David Ralston


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David Ralston


I can answer any question concerning the Bible, Christian life, doctrine and church history. I will give counsel concerning social and personal decisions based only on giving Biblical views. I will not attempt an on-going counseling session with someone who is dealing with life issues. I suggest those needing intensive counsel to seek professional Christian counselors or psychologists.


I have preached the gospel of Christ for 37 years. My wife and I have been married 40 years, raised 3 children and have 6 grandchildren. I have 21 years experience as pastor of local churches in the United States, and have served 14 years as a missionary, begun 12 churches, taught in University of Vilnius, Lithuanian Police College, and have addressed the parliement of Lithuania (1992). I am founder of an international mission board, the founder of the Bless The Children Program sponsorship ministry, and currently serve as director of Christ To The Nations Missions. My area of interest include Missions, Biblical Doctrine, Church history and Biblical counsel. Organizations: Local Baptist Church, CTTN Missions, Tennessee Temple University Alumni Association, Southwide Baptist Fellowship. Publications: Books: ONLY GOD and THE BODY OF CHRIST. Booklets and tracts: THE REAL KING JAMES, THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND HOW TO LIVE IT, AMERICA, CHRIST OR CRISIS, Several Gospel Tracts and Articles in Christian and Public Newspapers. Education: Tennessee Temple University, Bachelors of Theology, International Baptist Seminary, Masters of Theology and Doctorate of Theology.

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