My family just walked though a crazy transitional season. I wrote these a while ago, but I thought I would reshare them here so that you might know the journey we walked to get to where we are today.
The courage to quit: acting in obedience.
When God lays something on your heart, and is asking for obedience it takes an unknown measure of courage to walk that out. Especially when it places your family at risk, and makes everyone else think you are insane. Sometimes, it gets to the point when you think you are insane.
In August of 2015 I went through a professional development seminar that prompted a stirring in my heart to evaluate my position at Riverside Church. I had been serving there since 2011 as the Student Ministry Pastor and mission mobilizer. I loved my job, and my church family. However, This prompting turned into a call to move on from Riverside in December 2015. Usually, when someone is called to move on in Church ministry there is a place they are being called too. In my case, many of you know that I had no visible next step.
Never the less, with 4 kids, 1 on the way and an incredibly trusting and faith filled wife I resigned from Riverside in December of 2015 with a 4-5 month exit strategy, and no Job lined up.
When I did this many people asked why I would do this without having something else figured out. After all, that is the responsible and practical thing to do. I’m sure many others wondered. I asked that question on some days as well. I hurt, wrestled, and panicked over that decision more nights than I care to count. Then, when you find yourself outside in -15degree weather crying out to God while on your knees in a bath robe asking for him to make clear the next step you know you kinda reached a tipping point. All the Lord gave me during that season was the knowledge that I was supposed to go, and be willing to follow no matter the cost.
So, I began my search. I considered my options. Some that would allow our family to stay in the area. Some that would move us across the world, and others that would take us down the street. I talked with some about being a missions pastor, others a senior pastor, others a campus pastor, and some a church planter!
The entire time I wanted to be open to the process that I was being taken through. Each interview or opportunity taught me a lot about my perspective in church ministry and my understanding of the roles and responsibilities included in serving the church in these multi-faceted ways.
This was a difficult, but rich time as a Christ follower. It is a time when the Lord is really asking you to walk by faith and not by sight. It is a growing, frustrating, encouraging, and amazing experience to simply be led in the “desert” with no place to go, and not really knowing when you are going to get to where you are going. It measures the depth of your heart. Through this process I had thought I saw where God was leading only for doors to be shut with sometimes an unclear reason as to why.
As a father, a husband, and responsible person I felt like a failure. I had never been so low in my life, and it showed to those closest to me.
However, every time we follow the Lord in obedience our faithfulness is honored. Even when it seems insane to you and everyone else.
During this time I began the process of interviewing for a role with the National Office of the Christian and Missionary Alliance for what used to be called The National Youth Director. Today the role is called the Alliance Youth Ministries Consultant, Director of Alliance Youth. This role will consist of consulting churches, leadership development for paid and non paid youth workers, cross cultural ministry development, and mobilizing students into vocational ministry and a lot of other amazing ministry opportunities to serve the local church to reach and equip those 10-26.
This process started at the same time as my journey with Riverside was ending. It took 4 months from beginning to end, and officially concluded on Thursday April 14th 2016 with a call and acceptance to serve The Christian and Missionary Alliance. This call call came on my exact last day at Riverside. (Only God can make that timing work). What a wonderful, and faith filled surprise!
I am still (8 months later) amazingly humbled and incredibly thankful that this opportunity has come about. I truly believe that season was meant to prepare me to walk by faith and in obedience as I lead Alliance Youth. I may not always be sure of the outcome, but I have faith that by acting in obedience God will make it clear in his timing where we are going, and how we will get there.
The courage to rest: Trusting God’s promises
There is nothing like money to make us worry. We have too little or we spent too much and the list goes on. 2016 was the most difficult financial year of our families life. We acted in obedience about leaving our church, and that obedience cost us every dollar we had. I trusted God’s plan but I really wanted to trust God’s plan with plenty of money incase His plan went south.
However, I stand AMAZED. AMAZED with our LORD’s provision.
2016 has been a crazy strange financial year. Following my departure from Riverside in April 2016, in the past 8 months I have received a a lot of divinely appointed financial gifts (not from people, but from governments, lawsuits, insurance etc.) I was doing our budget tonight, and the total we received in 2016 is the exact amount we spent from our savings during our transition from MN to Colorado.
This was a move that drained us financially. We had to buy a second home with all of our savings because we couldn’t sell our house in Minnesota. In that process, I had thousands of dollars of changes that needed to be done and appliances replaced as our new house came with things that all broke 2 months after moving in. My car was totaled in a hailstorm, my steps were broken by the moving company, and as of last week my fence was blown down in a windstorm.
However, on December 15th 2016 I came home from work and in my mail box I received a class action law suit payout from when I worked at Wal-Mart nearly 15 years ago. By the way, I had no idea I was even listed in this law suit. I never would have sued anyone. The amount of this payout was the number that put our savings EXACTLY back to what it was before our move. Our finances went from completely decimated to completely restored. There are no words, no ways, no possible human thing that could have done this.
While I lost sleep, I should have learned to rest. It’s all part of the refiners fire of walking with the Lord and truly we must find ways to remind ourselves that God is good. Even when it feels like we can’t possibly understand. Thats why moving forward I am resting. Not just with finances, but with all things. If I learned anything about leading my family or others in obedience is that I should rest and wait on the Lord’s promises.
He promises to build his church, he promises to provide for his children, he promises to make all things work for the good of those who love him. He promises and we worry when we should be resting.