As of June 30, I wrapped up thirty-five years of vocational ministry. It all started in 1986 at the Herrin United Methodist Church where I was the Director of Family Life Ministries. Three years later, we left for seminary in Atlanta and I served the St. James Manchester/Chalybeate Springs Charge. After seminary, we shared our lives and ministry with the people of Sumner/Beulah for five years and on July 1, 1997 we came to Fairview Heights Christ.
The rest is history.
What have I learned?
What wisdom do I have to share?
Not as much as you might think or hope.
But here is what I have got:
1) You will get whatever you are willing to settle for in ministry
2) You have to be motivated by love and driven by a sense of mission
3) Sacrifices are involved in vocational minisry that few people could ever imagine
4) You have to learn to forgive and to be forgiven
5) You can’t be everywhere, do everything and make everyone happy. You honestly have to make peace with this reality.
6) Be kind, keep your sense of humor and treat people really well
7) Remember that you were called/drafted (you didn’t volunteer) and you can’t just quit
8)The only things you can control are attitude, effort and preparation…so control them
9) Never forget the people who believed in you and stood by you in the tough times. Everybody wants to stand by you when times are good.
10) The only time leadership is easy is when leadership is not required
11) No one owes you anything
12) Stay close to your call
13) Anything you know or have learned is because someone took the time to invest in you. Play that forward by investing in the next generation of leaders.
14) Enjoy your life. No one is going to do it for you.
Thank you to all the wonderful people who have supported our ministry and loved our family through these years. The honor of speaking into your lives (both live and on-line) is a privilege I never take for granted. I am humbled and amazed at what God has done.
I have headed back to work to begin year twenty-five at Christ Church. I am no longer a United Methodist and I no longer serve a United Methodist Church. A new future awaits Christ Church as an independent congregation.
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do!
To the journey!
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop has been the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois since 1997