I want to start by asking, have you ever taken the animal test? There’s this animal test that has become popular the past couple years. It helps people realize what their strengths are and how to work with people who are different than you. Here’s the breakdown:
Lion – leader, determined, takes charge, goal driven, purposeful, bold, etc.
Otter – fun loving, energetic, creative, mixes easily, optimistic, etc.
Beaver – detailed, orderly, persistent, scheduled, organized, etc.
Golden retriever – patient, nurturing, thoughtful, has deep relationships, good listener, likes routine, etc.
Intern Scott and I took this test last year and it helped me become more self-aware. Although I have a lot of “Otter”, my top two animals are “Beaver” and "Golden Retriever”. I’m organized (which comes in handy when planning college trips and stuff like that) and I like being in control, which are both “Beaver”. But I think you all know the most important thing to me is relationships. With God and with all the people He has put in my life. So I am very high “Retriever”. And that comes through in my job. I love loving people and providing a safe, welcoming place for college-aged peeps to come and find community and grow in their relationships with God.
I will be the first to admit I am not a “Lion” personality. I have to have a little Lion to lead, but it doesn’t come naturally. My spiritual gifts (and the ones that come most naturally) are Hospitality, Encouragement, Mercy/Compassion, and Shepherding. Most of those can be seen in a “Golden Retriever” personality.
The reason I am sharing all this will make sense in a minute.
Ok, here’s the big news: my job is changing at church.
Don’t worry, I will still be with the college group. But not leading it.
Here’s the story.
A couple weeks ago my boss and our senior pastor both talked to me. They basically said, “Sarah, Caitlin has put in her notice and will no longer be running the alternative service on Sunday mornings."
(Our church has an alternative service on Sunday mornings at 10:45. We still get the sermon through video feed but it’s a smaller, more intimate feel (200 people instead of 1,000) and we have our own worship band and coffee/donuts, etc. I have been going to this alternative service ever since I started working here 7 years ago. A woman named Caitlin runs this service which means she plans/organizes everything behind the scenes, does announcements, is the "face" of it, etc).
My boss and senior pastor continued: “In hiring someone to replace Caitlin, we wanted someone who would bring the fun. We want this alternative service to feel different from big church. We want it to feel like a party. We want someone up front who can bring that fun and enthusiastic atmosphere on Sunday mornings and make people feel welcome. And…we thought of you. We don’t want to take you out of the college ministry because we know you love it and that is your passion. But would you start praying about doing both? Caitlin's position was 20 hours a week, and then you could still do what you love and what you’re good at – relationships, mentoring, discipleship, etc. – in the college ministry 20 hours a week.”
When they first talked to me, I freaked out.
These pastors are asking me to change my job. And I really have a hard time with change. Some people love change. Some thrive off it. I unfortunately don’t. I have a harder time with change. So I was shocked when they talked to me and I freaked out.
But I have to tell you guys something cool. The more I calmed down and processed things, I started feeling peace. And then I started praying all the time, just seeking God’s will in all of this. And I continued to feel this awesome peace, like this is what I am supposed to do. And I feel like God is asking me to step out in faith and He keeps saying, “Trust me. Trust me, Sarah.”
So I went into work last week and told them I would do it. Ahh!
What does this mean for the college group?
Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. You guys are the most important thing to me. You guys are my priority. They knew that, and that’s why they didn’t want to ask me to leave college ministry completely. I will get to still use my “Golden Retriever” personality at college group – I’ll be there every Wednesday like normal, I’ll still be speaking once in awhile, I’m going on the trips, etc. None of that changes. What DOES change is that our church is going to hire a new college pastor! They will hire someone who has more of the “Lion” personality – to lead the college group, vision cast for the future of the group, help with growth (we want to reach more college students and have the group grow!), a great teacher of the bible, etc. They will get to do what they’re good at and I will get to do what I’m good at…which is loving all of you.
I have no idea who they will hire. Right now they are taking applications and I’ll keep you guys updated.
So there’s my news, everyone! Caitlin's last day is Sept. 2 and I will officially step into her role that day.
I hope you guys know I am really excited about this. After the shock of “Change is scary!” wore off, I got more excited thinking about it. I get to pass off the things I’m not very good at to someone who IS good at them. I get to just focus on what comes naturally and what I love to do in the college group. AND I get to “bring the fun” to the alternative service on Sundays and use my “otter” gifts there.
PLEASE ask any and all questions. I am an open book. I will answer anything I know. I wanted you all to hear the news from me first.
I know it will take time to adjust to the changes, but come and be a part of what is happening!
Lots of love to you all,