Editorial

Transitions

The One who has led you this far will not leave you now.

 

Derek J. Morris is editor of Ministry.

. MORRIS

Not every book you pick up is worth reading, but occasionally you find one that shapes your thinking. For me, one of those books was Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges. The book is in its third edition, now published under the title Managing Transitions: Making The Most of Change.1 

Bridges divides transitions into three stages:

  • the pain of ending
  • the neutral zone
  • the new beginning

All transitions involve loss of some kind. Sometimes those losses are inten­tional and productive. For example, you might choose to get married or move from one pastoral assignment to another. But even those positive and intentional changes involve loss. If you get married, you lose some autonomy. If you accept a new pastoral assignment, you will be separated from church members you have come to love.

Some transitions are imposed upon you. A loved one dies. You lose your job. You are diagnosed with a terminal illness. You don’t intentionally choose any of these painful occurrences, but you are compelled to deal with them; they are an unavoidable part of life. King Solomon reminds us, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccles. 3:1).2 What follows is a list of transitions: birth/death, planting/reaping, gaining/losing. Because they are inevitable, it is unproductive to waste energy trying to avoid them. Recognize the change and choose to handle it in a healthy way.

All shifts in life involve a time of disorientation—what Bridges calls the neutral zone. Because changes have occurred, you might feel a loss of equilibrium—disoriented or displaced. Such feelings are normal. There is a tendency to resist even necessary and healthy transitions because this neutral zone can be awkward. For example, a person might feel the desire to go back to an unhealthy relationship just because it is strange to be single again. But retreat may not be your best option. When making my way through a neutral zone, I have found this word of counsel from the apostle Paul to be most encouraging: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6, 7).

Moving courageously from the pain of ending through the neutral zone leads to a new beginning. Transitions are times of great opportunity. These changes will take time and require additional effort, but if managed in a healthy way, they offer unique opportunities to grow. Many of us have found comfort in the words of the psalmist David: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5).

Our Ministry team is currently in the midst of a major transition. Our esteemed associate editor, Willie Hucks, has accepted a teaching position at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. For the past ten years, Dr. Hucks has served as a valuable member of the Ministry team. His frequent contributions to the journal, such as editorials, editor’s blogs, and articles, have blessed many pastors around the world. We are cur­rently experiencing the pain of ending. Though this transition will take several months, we are already feeling a sense of loss. We solicit your prayers for Dr. Hucks and his family as they make this transition. Please also pray for the Ministry team as we make our way through the neutral zone toward a new beginning.

Perhaps you are in the midst of major transition yourself, either self-imposed or thrust upon you like an uninvited guest. In the midst of it, remember that no matter how painful things might seem at the moment or how disorienting your present environment might appear, new opportunities lie just around the corner. Be strong and of good courage. The One who has led you this far will not leave you now.

 

 

1 William Bridges, Managing Transitions: Making the Most Of Change (Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press, 2009).

2 All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version.

2 All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version.

Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (300x250)

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

 

Derek J. Morris is editor of Ministry.

. MORRIS

February 2016

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Building transformational communities

Zechariah’s call to “come out” of Babylon was actually a call to “come in”—into a community that was defined as a remnant. What does that mean for us today?

Adventists in politico-military strife and violence

The church faces spiritual and ecclesiastical issues when it finds itself in a war zone. Should the church and its members ignore the difficult realities that surround them?

Mission vision

From our continuing Revival and Reformation series.

Expanding our understanding of present truth

Is there a central theme of Scripture that the church is not fully addressing?

Practical lessons from the woman with the issue of blood

The author shares the story of one who lives her faith; and reveals sobering lessons about the rest of us who wish to do the same,

The three angels’ messages and world religions

Seeing the world through the eyes of others is a critical initial step in communicating biblical principles with them.

Energy depletion

An experienced minister shares valuable advice that can ward off burnout.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Trending

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Healthy and Happy Family - Skyscraper 160x600