Not Exactly Where I Thought I Would Be

Five years ago this week I walked through the doors of Cross Point Church not as a volunteer anymore, but a staff member.  I remember that day so vividly.  I remember driving the 30 minute commute from my home to the office thinking “Have I really done this?”, “Am I really walking away from the career I’ve passionately pursued since the age of 13 to work at a church?”, “God, is this really you?”

My mind was racing with questions and doubt, and yet there was a quiet calm underlying this decision.  I couldn’t deny that God was doing something special at Cross Point.  Five years ago with maybe 500 people in the seats in a dirty school cafeteria it wasn’t always apparently obvious that God had big things in store for this young church, but I can remember specifically the moment when I felt God telling me this was what I needed to do.

Fast forward five years and there are still days that I ask God similar questions to the ones I asked that morning of my commute… “God, really… is this really what you’ve called me to?”… sometimes that question is asked out of frustration and sometimes that question is asked out of awe and wonder.

In celebration of five years, I thought I would share five things I’ve learned so far…

1)  It’s a 24/7 job. It’s a calling, a commitment and a sacrifice.  I’m not suggesting you have to work unsustainable hours, but you can’t clock-in and clock-out.  You have to embrace the responsibility.
2)  Ministry leadership is not easier. In my case it’s been much more difficult than my corporate leadership experience.
3)  I GET to do this. May I never forget the privilege it is to partner with God in the work of transforming lives.
4)  Life-change never gets old. Seeing lives changed is all the fuel you need to make it through the dark days.
5)  You can’t lose hope. You can’t lose sight of the vision.  Create whatever marker you need to create to remember why you are in ministry and keep it prominently in front of you all the time.

What has ministry taught you?

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  • mandythompson March 2, 2010  

    Thank you for #3. I'm so glad that I "get" to do set designs, and logos, and creative development of a Sunday morning… But the "get" to work with people part…. well. It can be tough at times. Yes, I don't always see everything. And yes I value team effort and input and all that.
    But it can be hard at times.

    Remembering the "Get to" of serving alongside brothers & sisters in Christ…

    • jcatron March 2, 2010  

      Mandy, I get this. I am easily task before people, so this part of ministry stretches me every day.

      • Blane Young July 13, 2010  

        It is a difficult adjustment to go from task orientated to people orientated.

        I'm with y'all on this one for sure!

  • bret nicholson March 2, 2010  

    great stuff. Church planters are my heroes — congratulations on 5 years. Hope you have many more

    • jcatron March 2, 2010  

      Thanks Bret!

  • Josh DeVine March 2, 2010  

    Congratulations, Jenni!

    I would have to say I've learned ministry can't be boiled down to a system, a strategy, a game plan or a flowchart. At the end of the day, it's about people and life change.

    That being said, it's a joy to serve alongside you and the team at Cross Point!

    • jcatron March 2, 2010  

      Josh – I'm so glad you are a part of this place!!

  • Colleen Foshee March 2, 2010  

    That I succeed in His eyes as I simply work with my whole heart for Him – whatever that looks like in a given day. That is His definition of excellence. It's been a life/ministry changer for me.

    • jcatron March 2, 2010  

      GREAT perspective Colleen!

  • Mela Kamin March 2, 2010  

    I totally agree … especially that I GET to do this. I often need to remind myself of that fact, but it is an awesome privilege. I would just add that I think too many people believe ministry only exists within the walls of a church. I personally regard ministry to be any way in which you're using your gifts. For me, that's motherhood, community building, serving and filling needs and yes, the more stereotypical "church work" I'm involved in. We're all in ministry and the more we blur the lines between what goes on in and out of the church, the more people will be encouraged to step out and use their gifts right where they are. Blessings on your work – it's great to see women leading and encouraging others!

    • jcatron March 2, 2010  

      Mela, so true. Whether in full-time ministry or not, we all do ministry. Thank you for adding this thought to the discussion!

  • Chris Nichols March 2, 2010  

    Hey Jenni – it's funny, because I worked with you first in the corporate world and saw that you were great at your job. When you left, I thought "is she nuts!" 🙂 It's clear that God was leading you and that you were a crucial part of the team that got Crosspoint past the point of a dirty school cafeteria. I really like #4 on your list – in the corporate world our victories can be pretty superficial. What a blessing to be in the business of changing lives. Congrats!

    • jcatron March 2, 2010  

      Chris – so funny that you remember when I left the music business. Crazy how God redirects… I'm thankful that your also a leader in this ministry!

  • Crystal Renaud March 2, 2010  

    Congrats! I just celebrated my 6th anniversary in full-time ministry. What I've learned is that there is no room for complacency or comfortability. As soon as I ever get comfortable, God shakes things up. I love it though.

    • jcatron March 2, 2010  

      Hey Crystal! – Yes, complacency and comfort… it's so easy to drift towards those. Happy Anniversary to you too!

  • tracy March 2, 2010  

    I would agree with you about LIFE CHANGE NEVER GETS OLD…I stand in awe of GOD daily, as we get to see the "inside" of people's lives, watch many go from despair to complete transformation. On the flip side, some people will never change, that can get discouraging!
    Love this post..a great reminder about what an honor it is to be in full-time ministry!

    • jcatron March 2, 2010  

      So true, Tracy!

  • paulaswift March 2, 2010  

    How cool – your first week as an employee of Cross Point – we just celebrated our 5 years of attending CP 2 weeks ago. 🙂

    Keep it going, girl – you are doing an amazing job and God is by no means done with you yet!

    • jcatron March 2, 2010  

      Thanks Paula! Crazy that you guys have been here about the same amount of time.

  • ash March 2, 2010  

    God's used to you as SUCH an influence in my life and in the lives of so many others! Thankful that you were willing to take the risk despite the doubts!

    • jcatron March 3, 2010  

      I'm blessed to do ministry with you, Ash!

  • lisa gardiner March 2, 2010  

    We are so very blessed to have you at Crosspoint ! lives are being changed and so is eternity !

    • jcatron March 3, 2010  

      I'm blessed by you Lisa!

  • David March 2, 2010  

    As someone looking forward to full-time ministry, these were encouraging words. Thanks!

    • jcatron March 3, 2010  

      It's worth it David!

  • alece March 2, 2010  

    congrats on five years, jenni!

    i have to be intentional to remember that i "get to" do all that i do. it's easy to take it for granted because it's been my life for so long. thank you for the reminder that it is truly a gift and a privelege.

    • jcatron March 3, 2010  

      Alece, I quote the "get to" speech to myself all the time 🙂

  • Kyle Reed March 2, 2010  

    In a short time (I am 23) it has taught me that patience is everything…I hate being patient.
    The biggest thing I have learned is to move with God instead of trying to move God.

    • jcatron March 3, 2010  

      Patience… so true! And that's not a virtue I got a good dose of!

  • JasonWert March 2, 2010  

    Congratulations on your anniversary!

    • jcatron March 3, 2010  

      Thanks Jason!

  • Laura Anne March 2, 2010  

    Like Crystal – the don't get too comfortable thing is something I've learned.

    I haven't found the actual WORK of Christian ministry tougher than when I worked full-time in community education – maybe because they are so very similar – Comm Ed is pretty much church and being Christ-like in priniciples without it being officially based on the bible or Jesus. However, the sacrifices I have to regularly make in my life to continue serving in 'full-time' Christian ministry are much greater – that's what has made Christian ministry tougher than the secular version for me.

    • jcatron March 3, 2010  

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Laura Anne!

  • Heidi March 2, 2010  

    I love #4…. People Matter People cause a refueling.

    Thank you for being such an amazing leader and an example for me although I am out here in Cali. SO many times have I read your blogs and cut and pasted them to my journals that make me a better leader. You're making a difference. Thanks!

    • jcatron March 3, 2010  

      Thanks for your encouragement and kind words, Heidi!

  • Hilda March 2, 2010  

    Being with you in 4 out of 5 of those years it has been amazing to watch you grow and lead. I love you! Here is to many more!

    • jcatron March 3, 2010  

      Thanks Sis!

  • Lindsey Nobles March 3, 2010  

    So glad our paths crossed…so blessed to have you at Cross Point and as a friend.

    Thank you for everything you do. The sacrifices you make behind the scenes. You are appreciated.

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  • brandiandboys March 4, 2010  

    what a fun 5 years it's been. if we were together we could clink our glasses, yours holding 1/2 sweet 1/2 unsweet tea and mine with diet dr. pepper, and say "here's to MANY more."

    • jcatron March 4, 2010  

      You know me so well 🙂