Stepping Away from Staff | Understanding “Missionary”

Dear Avenue Family,

It was around this time five years ago that the sinking feeling in my stomach began. My discontentment didn’t make any sense – I loved my family, job and church. I couldn’t have been happier. But for some reason I knew a change was coming. And although I’ve never loved change, I quickly realized God was calling me to obedience. I was to launch into full-time ministry and use my gifts to help start our church.

We’re celebrating The Avenue’s 4th birthday this week and I feel as though I’ve watched a child grow up. This church has been “my baby” when there was no baby for me to care for at home (a blessing as I battled infertility). I feel like I’ve watched it grow through so many milestones – the good and the bad – and yet it’s still a thriving, blossoming community full of God’s people. This church family has allowed me to minister to individuals in a way I’d never dreamed. Our family has been blessed by Avenuers as we’ve gone through surgeries and adoption. The Avenue has allowed Mike & me to grow as a couple and understand togetherness. It’s also allowed me to work out a missionary calling I received as a child. However, just as the sinking feelings came unexpectedly (and honestly, un-welcomed) five years ago, they’ve come again. And after much prayer and bargaining attempts with God to change His mind, I know He’s asking me to make a change.

For the past year I’ve reduced my role at The Avenue and stepped away from full-time staff, yet maintained much of my leadership and several responsibilities. However, as my family and business continue to grow and need more of my attention, I’m realizing that I need to step away from my role at The Avenue. We’re not leaving our church family – this church is still our home! However, my continued role in leadership will look differently as I step away from “staff.”

Seeing Work as Mission

As I’ve wrestled with this decision, God’s been working on my understanding of missions and the missionary calling. My upbringing had me thinking that in order to be a missionary, I had to be in “full-time ministry” (AKA the logo on my paycheck had to be from a Christian nonprofit). And although I’ve helped lead missional living at our church and tried to encourage everyone to see their jobs as missions, God wanted me to see He was calling me to do the same. I wholeheartedly believe some ARE called to work in the “traditional” ministry sense and equip believers. It’s been my calling the past four years. However, as our church is up and running and my family looks differently, He’s leading me to new places. He wants me to be a missionary through my small business and lay down my paid role in ministry.

I want to say thank you to my Avenue family for the past several years. I will always cherish the season God called me into full-time staff at our church. Thank you to everyone who financially gave while I raised support in order to do this work. I’m excited for what’s ahead. We’re in great hands with our leadership… I know that the men and women leading our church are following after the Lord. And I’m excited to continue to be a part of it in a “lay leadership” role.

The great thing about Jesus is that He takes the lead. The only job we have is to follow. His plans are definitely higher and better than mine and if the next four years are anything like the past four years, we’ve got amazing things ahead.

Love,

danielle

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