- Precious time with my family - Since I have not been working at a church since the end of August, every day since has been filled with the opportunity to relish the extra time with my four girls.
I have been able to form a special bond with Preslie during the first months of her life, and that is something you can't put a price tag on.
Quinn often grabs my hand and says "Daddy, dance with me!" And guess what - I do.
In addition, I have had several opportunities to be a part of Avery's first experience in school - from driving her there and participating in field trips, to speaking to her class. This also is a precious thing that I thank God for.
For crying out loud - my wife and I were playing rock band yesterday afternoon and enjoying every minute of it! How often do you get to do that on a weekday?
- Opportunity to refine my ministry philosophy - The pastoral job search process forces you to answer tough questions like "what are the most important aspects of youth ministry?", and "what would our church's youth ministry look like under you?". All of this has refreshed my perspective on what ministry is about, how God wants it to be carried out, and what part I can play in that.
- Deeper understanding and appreciation for various denominations - Each time I considered a position at a church, I would research the church's particular denomination thoroughly. I discovered many things I did not know before, and this helped me weed out certain denominations and consider others I never would have before.
This is one thing I never really experienced in my fundamentalist upbringing - a charitable exploration of various denominations. Yes, there are reasons we have these various denominations, and No, we should not just all join hands, sing "Kumbaya" and form one ecumenical church. But we would do well to learn the heritage of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and consider the good that has come through each particular community of evangelicalism.
I pray that my time in the wilderness of pastoral unemployment is nearing an end.
Yet, I am very grateful for how God has been growing me and refining me. I am so glad that His ways are not my ways, and He has everything figured out.