I like to talk a big game about following Jesus and having the courage to go where God leads you. Over the years, I’ve challenged hundreds of people with that message. For the past couple of years, however, I have been ignoring my own voice.
It’s been easy to ignore. I’ve been in a comfortable place. My wife finished grad school and landed the kind of job that’s more than a job, my kids are healthy and happy, and the church I work with is a dynamite congregation that is not only a fun place to work, but a healthy family where it’s a pleasure to belong.
But, to tell you the truth, I’ve been restless.
For this (and other) reasons, I took a break in January. I had some stuff to sort out. Some of that sorting was vocational. Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Am I being the best steward of my life? Or am I on auto pilot? Am I too comfortable? Am I being disobedient in all this comfort?
The answers came back pretty clear. So I made some tough decisions — decisions that have now been announced to our church family and I wanted to tell our extended community of family and friends around the country as well:
I have made the decision to resign my six year ministry at Current — A Christian Church. My 18 year youth ministry career is also coming to a close. This is sad, because Current has been a tremendous experience. There’s more to say about that, and I’ll do so in a later post.
It’s also hard because after that many years of part- or full-time student ministry, I actually feel halfway decent at it. It has been a wild ride. There’s a lot to celebrate there. But again…that’s a whole other post.
Today, instead of focusing on what I’m leaving behind, let me tell you what I’m moving toward.
The biggest challenge before me is to take our non-profit, The 25 Group, to the next level of influence. Since starting in 2014, we’ve given over $200,000 to ministries and nonprofits in 8 countries. We’ve funded nutrition centers and school buildings and water wells and safe houses. But there’s so much work left to be done. Still far too many who are hungry, thirsty, sick, without clothing, not welcomed, and imprisoned. We want to get a lot of people to give a little so we can do the most for the Kingdom. So starting July 1, I’m going full-time in executive leadership of our organization.
You can learn more about our work here.
COMMUNICATE THE GOSPEL
More than anything, I want to preach & teach the Gospel. By stepping out of my vocational role at Current, I’ll actually have more opportunities to preach and teach. It’s crazy to think that this is true — that I could preach/teach more by not working at a church, but in my particular case, it is. That’s exciting for me.
So, as of today, I’m for hire:
- I am actively searching for a church that would consider hiring me as a teaching pastor on a contract basis. I could do this up to 15-20 weekends a year, depending upon the situation.
- I am planning to schedule preaching dates on behalf of The 25 Group as well, using those opportunities to preach the Good News and how we can live out the Gospel in generosity and justice.
I would love to partner with your church or organization to come in and challenge people with the truth of Jesus. Let’s get the conversation started on how to make that happen.
(I’m also excited to be able to teach in various settings, including the GO Seminary of the Americas and as an adjunct professor at other institutions.)
YOUTH MINISTRY COACHING/MENTORING
I am stepping down from student ministry — sorta. One of the things I’m grieving is the idea that I won’t be fully engaged in the youth ministry world that I’ve been a part of for nearly two decades. This seems like a waste of experience, so I’ve got a few things planned:
- I’m going to write a book. While I’m doing this mostly for my own self-reflection and processing, I think the finished product might be helpful to those just starting out. Aiming for a January 2018 release.
- I’m available for coaching/mentoring with churches and youth ministers — especially rookies. If you know someone who is new or struggling, I’d love to help.
- I’ll continue to contribute to YouthWorker Journal, work with Teen Sunday School Place, partner with CIY Move Conference, and find other corners of the Kingdom in which to contribute in student ministry.
WEBSITE & WRITING
I have been preparing to make writing a more significant part of my life and ministry for years, slowly growing a platform from which to do so. Earlier this year my blog surpassed one million unique viewers. There is audience I can reach online that I’ll never reach in person. I want to lean into that, so I’m expanding my efforts to communicate via this website.
I think way too many people go to bed at night unfulfilled. They fear that haven’t only wasted their day, they are wasting their lives. Through preaching, writing, and giving, I want to inspire people to live deeper lives with Jesus. I want to help the Church stop playing church and invite those outside the Kingdom in.
I’m excited and scared.
But it’s high time I take my own advice and lean into — not run away from — that risk.