So, You Are Moving! 10 Things to Remember During a Transition

file0001207444674 This weekend is a transition week for The Salvation Army in the South! Officers (ministers) have received their farewell orders and will be leaving their congregations and communities that they have poured heart and soul into for other “harvest fields.” While officers are aware of this reality during the training period, reality still sets in and feels differently from the classroom. But, the Army needs to keep moving forward!

Having gone through this process before and expecting to go through it again a few more times, here are 10 things that I have learned throughout the experience. While this is coming from the perspective of Army officership, I think you will see that they can be applied across many disciplines.

1. Your family is moving with you!

It is important to remember that when ministers move, their families move with them. They are leaving friends and relationships as well. They are leaving schools they know and places they care about. They may not always respond well. They do not dislike where they are going, but it is not home. They are leaving home to go there. It will take a while until it feels like home. Also, involved in this, if a child or family member has other neurological concerns, the adjustment time can be even longer. Patience is what is required, not judgement! Actually, for that matter, leave judgement out of the equation all together.

Patience is what is required, not judgement!

2. It is OK to be excited about the new assignment or location.

There is a plan for you when you get to the new location. It is not disrespectful to where you are now to be excited about where you are going. One of the advantages to moving and transition is the new life and energy that the new people are bringing to the location. Bring the joy! Bring the new ideas! Bring the energy! You are going there for a reason. Somebody saw something in you that they wanted there!

3. It is OK to miss the location and people you are leaving.

While it is OK to be excited about where you are going, it is also OK to be sad or miss where you are now. You have spend a lot of time with the people at your current place. You have invested in lives and, in return, they have invested in yours. It is natural to miss those relationships and to grieve for the change. I would be more worried about people who do not miss the people they spent so much time with. In fact, if you do not miss them, maybe you were not that close!

This is connected to #4…

4. Remember that the people where you are going are connected to your predecessor!

When you get to your new assignment or place, remember that the people at the new place are going to be missing the people that you are replacing. You need to respect the fact that they may need time to grieve and get through the change. It will feel like a loss to them. It may even feel like a betrayal. They may not be able to explain themselves. They may even lash out at you. They may even refer to your predecessor over and over. You will be compared to them. You will be measured against them. Get over your ego! The people before you did a great job! Admit it. Praise them for it. Copy some of it. Give them credit for it.

You need to respect the fact that they may need time to grieve and get through the change.

5. You do not know why things were done before you got to the new place. So, keep your opinions to yourself!

From why the piano is positioned in a certain place to why certain employees have different starting times in the morning to the reason behind the schedule of a certain department, there are usually very good reasons why certain things are done certain ways. Even thought they may need to be changed, your opinion on why it was done in the first place does not help the situation. This is an area that I often struggle with because my personality type is one of being a “fixer.” I have heard a lot of advice in this area. Some people say wait 90-180 days before making any major changes. This analogy breaks down when something needs to be changed because it is adversely affecting the health of your organization. In those cases, you need to get it done! I have also been told the “paint a wall” methodology. This method says that you should find something in the first week and change it, even if it means to “paint a wall.” I have never been a big fan of changing just for the sake of change. You need to find the balance and the right timing.

6. Stay away from social media, unless it is necessary!

Let’s face it, social media has unfortunately become a place where people release a lot of passive aggressive energy cleverly disguised in thought-provoking prose! It is probably a good idea to stay away from such a volatile platform. Even if you mean well, your attitude and demeanor can inappropriately color your responses.

There are some good ideas found in this article called, “Social Media and Pastoral Moves.” I do not completely agree with all of the ideas, but there are some good thought-provoking concepts!

7. Guarantee that the person following you has what they need to succeed!

Ensuring that the person who follows you succeeds is one of the best ways to leave a lasting legacy! Just remember all of the things that you wish you would have know, and make sure that the person who follows you knows it. If it is important, make sure they know about it! Transition is hard enough without having to guess where the cord to the coffee pot is, or what the upcoming vacation schedule is, or who orders the supplies, or …

8. Make sure the friendships you have now only extend into the personal, not the professional.

When you transfer from a place, your relationships with the people that are staying need to be personal only, not professional. If you stay in contact with someone, you should only be discussing your personal lives, not what is happening at the office. This is hard when you have worked with someone for many years and part of your relationship is the work you do together! If the relationship is worth keeping, it is worth working hard for! So, it worth the extra effort to keep your nose out of what is happening after you leave! Nobody wins in this scenario! Trust me! We have been on both ends of this one.

9. Do not overanalyze a transition or move!

For some reason, you are moving or transferring!

Embrace it! Accept it! Trust it!

When you constantly analyze the “why’s” and “wherefore’s” and the “who’s” involved, you will not find any peace. You are there for a reason. I believe that it is OK to ask what that reason is. Whether you get an answer that satisfies your curiosity or not, you are still going there for a reason. And, more importantly, God is going to use you there for His reason!

10. Give yourself time and space to adjust to your new surroundings!

While this does relate to #3, it is important to remember to give yourself time to adjust! You will have a new place to learn, a new place to settle your family into, and a new set of circumstances to work through! You cannot expect yourself to get it all down in a week. How long did it take you to settle into the last place? It is reasonable to assume that it will take the same amount of time (more or less) to settle into the new place.

These are just a couple of ideas! What else would you add to the list?

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Walking in His “Majestic” Presence: Week 5

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Before we get started, I need to do a shameless plug for the album that these devotionals are based on.  It is now available on CD baby here.  I have not been asked to endorse it and receive no compensation for mentioning it, but it is really an amazing album!  Support the work and ministry of The Salvation Army by buying one today!

You Can’t Steer a Parked Car

Play track 5 of “Majestic” entitled “Go.”  You can stream it live here.
Can anyone remember their first experience driving?  The feel of the steering wheel and the roar of the engine (I was in a mini-van, so it was more of a purr) were intoxicating.  I knew at that instant that my world had been changed.  My boundaries had been expanded.  I could go further.  Do more!  See more!  It was my first taste of true freedom!
And, oh, was I careful in those days!  I checked the tires, the mirrors, the seat belt, the gas tank, the turn signals!  I had my hands at “10 and 2.”  You know what I am talking about!  I was ready to take on the world!  I adjusted my mirrors one last time.  I check my hand position.  I looked both ways.  I smoothly accelerated the car and… Nothing!  The car revved up!  I went nowhere!  I rechecked the gauges.  I made sure that I had fuel in the tank.  I was perfectly positioned to drive.  I touched the accelerator and engine responded, but nothing!  Yes, you guessed it.  I still had it in “park.”  Stupid letter if you ask me!
In Matthew 14:22-33, we find the disciples have already launched out from the shore and are a good distance away.  The boat began to have trouble.  Scripture says that Jesus “came toward them, walking on the water” (vs. 25).  Not only did He simply walk out on the water, but He did it at 3am!  I can’t navigate my own house at 3am, much less walk on water!  I usually save that until after I have had some caffeine.  We see that the disciples were “terrified” (v. 26).  They thought He was a ghost!
After Jesus talks to them and calms them down, Peter calls out, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water” (v. 28).  And, we have heard many stories about Peter trying, failing, trying, succeeding!  We know we are supposed to keep our eyes on Jesus!  I am not thinking about Peter today!  I want to know about the rest of the disciples.
Peter was not alone on the boat and, yet, he was the only one who got out of the boat!  Let me share the description of one of my favorite books:
Out on the risky waters of faith, Jesus is waiting to meet you in ways that will change you forever, deepening your character and your trust in God. The experience is terrifying. It’s thrilling beyond belief. It’s everything you’d expect of someone worthy to be called Lord. The choice is yours to know him as only a water-walker can, aligning yourself with God’s purpose for your life in the process. There’s just one requirement: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.
There may be many reason why we do not want to get out of the boat.  Maybe, we are too busy preparing to go that we don’t go!  Maybe, we fear the unknown!  Maybe, we are concerned about what other people might think or say about us!  Maybe, we have never done it like this before!
If we want to GO and “tell every soul, the lost and the dying that He is alive and we have hope”, then we have to get out of the boat.  We have to move our car out of park, and into drive.
If we want to GO and we really believe that this “is the time weʼve been created for”
and that “itʼs time we do whatʼs written in Godʼs word”, then we have to get out of the boat.  We have to move our car out of park, and into drive.
We need to “get up and GO!”
“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” (v. 27)
Soli Deo Gloria!

Walking in His "Majestic" Presence: Week 5

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Before we get started, I need to do a shameless plug for the album that these devotionals are based on.  It is now available on CD baby here.  I have not been asked to endorse it and receive no compensation for mentioning it, but it is really an amazing album!  Support the work and ministry of The Salvation Army by buying one today!

You Can’t Steer a Parked Car

Play track 5 of “Majestic” entitled “Go.”  You can stream it live here.
Can anyone remember their first experience driving?  The feel of the steering wheel and the roar of the engine (I was in a mini-van, so it was more of a purr) were intoxicating.  I knew at that instant that my world had been changed.  My boundaries had been expanded.  I could go further.  Do more!  See more!  It was my first taste of true freedom!
And, oh, was I careful in those days!  I checked the tires, the mirrors, the seat belt, the gas tank, the turn signals!  I had my hands at “10 and 2.”  You know what I am talking about!  I was ready to take on the world!  I adjusted my mirrors one last time.  I check my hand position.  I looked both ways.  I smoothly accelerated the car and… Nothing!  The car revved up!  I went nowhere!  I rechecked the gauges.  I made sure that I had fuel in the tank.  I was perfectly positioned to drive.  I touched the accelerator and engine responded, but nothing!  Yes, you guessed it.  I still had it in “park.”  Stupid letter if you ask me!
In Matthew 14:22-33, we find the disciples have already launched out from the shore and are a good distance away.  The boat began to have trouble.  Scripture says that Jesus “came toward them, walking on the water” (vs. 25).  Not only did He simply walk out on the water, but He did it at 3am!  I can’t navigate my own house at 3am, much less walk on water!  I usually save that until after I have had some caffeine.  We see that the disciples were “terrified” (v. 26).  They thought He was a ghost!
After Jesus talks to them and calms them down, Peter calls out, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water” (v. 28).  And, we have heard many stories about Peter trying, failing, trying, succeeding!  We know we are supposed to keep our eyes on Jesus!  I am not thinking about Peter today!  I want to know about the rest of the disciples.
Peter was not alone on the boat and, yet, he was the only one who got out of the boat!  Let me share the description of one of my favorite books:
Out on the risky waters of faith, Jesus is waiting to meet you in ways that will change you forever, deepening your character and your trust in God. The experience is terrifying. It’s thrilling beyond belief. It’s everything you’d expect of someone worthy to be called Lord. The choice is yours to know him as only a water-walker can, aligning yourself with God’s purpose for your life in the process. There’s just one requirement: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.
There may be many reason why we do not want to get out of the boat.  Maybe, we are too busy preparing to go that we don’t go!  Maybe, we fear the unknown!  Maybe, we are concerned about what other people might think or say about us!  Maybe, we have never done it like this before!
If we want to GO and “tell every soul, the lost and the dying that He is alive and we have hope”, then we have to get out of the boat.  We have to move our car out of park, and into drive.
If we want to GO and we really believe that this “is the time weʼve been created for”
and that “itʼs time we do whatʼs written in Godʼs word”, then we have to get out of the boat.  We have to move our car out of park, and into drive.
We need to “get up and GO!”
“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” (v. 27)
Soli Deo Gloria!