29 | Phil Simmons: Trusting God's Faithfulness and His Plan

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Last year, my wife, Lauren, and I had a rough transition out of the church I had been serving on staff at for the previous several years. We had moved there after just getting married to answer the call to build the church and bring the gospel to a diverse community that desperately needs Christ.

After serving there for over 4 years, that door was suddenly completely closed. There was no explanation, no prior warning, and no interest in settling differences - I was simply called in on what would have been an otherwise normal day and asked to step down. The reason given was insufficient at best. Lauren and I felt we had been incredibly wronged, and we were hurt after all we had given and sacrificed to serve in the capacity we had. We were a thousand miles away from home and our families, our daughter had just been born, and I was suddenly without a job and church family.

I was angry and bitter for the better part of 6 months. I was so discouraged that I swore I'd never go back to full-time ministry and resolved to find a regular day job and a local church I could simply join and volunteer at. But God convicted me that this wasn’t what He had in mind for me, and to trust Him in the process of pursuing another role in ministry. God used that period of 8 months to work in me and to increase my faith, even when I couldn’t see or understand the plan He had for me and our family in ministry. God also began to purge the flaws in me that I needed to be rid of in order for me to live up to the guidelines for ministry leaders laid out in Scripture. Though it was a really painful and hurtful time, it was also a time of much needed rest and tremendous growth that led to something great.

Lauren and I found the open Director of Worship position for Harvest at the end of last year and were nearly immediately all in; we could sense that this was what God had in mind for us all along. After talking with Pastor Jeff and interviewing with the elders, I could see how God was working to bring us to a church where we would align closely in doctrine and philosophy, and where a healthy culture would allow us to both serve the church and grow as disciples of Christ. Though Harvest was in many ways completely opposite of the environment we served in before, it was exactly what we were looking for and what the Lord knew we needed; so we went for it.

We’ve been at Harvest for just a few months now, but I've been so grateful to be part of our church. It’s incredible to be part of biblical community again and to be able to live out my calling in ministry in a church that’s seeking to accomplish the mission of the church given to us by Christ in His Word. When I thought our life had been turned upside down, God continued to demonstrate His faithfulness, and I can look back and see the ways He was working in this entire situation, moving our family around to serve where He wanted us to be, revealing His nature and character to me, and making me a better disciple and leader in the process.