Contentment with God’s Plan in Considering a Church Residency

February 22, 2024

Contentment with God’s Plan in Considering a Church Residency


I am used to always thinking about the future and trying to have the next steps carefully planned. I have been that way for as long as I can remember. My life feels easier that way because it’s nice to know what is ahead and know what to expect. Of course, I have learned from experience that life hardly ever turns out the way I expect it to, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying to plan it out anyway.

That is how I was thinking in my job before my residency. I felt secure in my job and was constantly thinking of how I could progress in my career and make it the way I wanted it to be so I would be happy there for years to come. For the four years I spent in this job, I discovered I was clinging tightly to it for control and had made it into an idol. I was holding so tightly to it that I was pressuring myself to be the best I could be in it while always looking to improve and look for the approval of others along the way. I was missing out on the contentment in God’s will that was always available to me, and I was feeling the weight of it.

By the grace of God, he opened my eyes to the idol I had created and shattered the illusion of its security and satisfaction for me that it would never provide. As he did this, I realized that I may not work in the same career for years to come like I planned, and I began to see the other opportunities he had provided for me to serve and glorify him. During this season, I was heavily involved in college Ministry at Mercy Hill and had friends in the residency. Residency was something I had quickly reviewed and weighed all options and determined could not happen. More school, support raising, having to leave the job I loved, and what I would say was most frightening to me, signing up for a job that would last only two years with no clear plan after it ended. Or so I thought while still holding onto the plan I had in my job.

Once I was reminded of the contentment I could have in God in the present, I could begin to trust him more with my future too. This truth, along with the encouragement of close friends, some of whom being college residents, revealed to me that these hesitations in doing residency were not sufficient reasons to dismiss the incredible opportunity God had placed before me. I was starting to see that my passion for college ministry was becoming greater than my desire to work at my job. I could see that the residency would allow me to relinquish control of my life and future and step into a role where I could be content with where God has me while trusting that he holds my future.

Five months into my residency, The Lord has been shaping me into someone who is content with what is front of me. I am living intentionally each day to glorify him in college ministry while not worrying about what is next. I admit this has not been easy for me. It has revealed that worry has kept me from growing in my trust and dependence on Jesus but that just means his Spirit has been all the more sanctifying me through the experiences I have had in my residency to deepen my trust in him. The excuses I had for not doing residency have proven completely irrelevant because of the new perspective I have in how they only increase my faith in Jesus. He provided for me in my support raising. I get to grow in my knowledge of his Word and how I can apply it to my life and ministry through Seminary. And I now see that he has so much for my future after residency as he continues to shape me through the development I am receiving that is preparing me for that future.

My encouragement to you in considering Residency at Mercy Hill is to let go of uncertainty and trust the one who holds your future. You can be content in God and joyfully serve him in the passions he has given you to advance his kingdom through residency just as he has done for me in college ministry. You will be amazed at what he will do when you commit your way to him and trust him to act (Psalm 37:5).

 – Jimmy Kniss