Friday, October 13, 2006

Looking At The Future Through My Rear View Mirror...

Two years ago today, a dream...a vision became a reality...

I've always felt as though I had a different call on my life. Never quite understood it, but I knew something was different. I remember the first time I knew that God had something special in mind for me...however, I am just like many men that are called into the ministry, I denied it, and attempted to do everything possible to escape it. In reality, one can escape many things throughout their lifetime, but the call of God is an inescapable labyrinth that haunts a man to the deepest chasms of his soul. And why He chose me, I haven't the slightest clue. But I plan on asking Him one day...

Most know what God is preparing them for when they enter into the ministry. Some are called to be pastors...others, youth pastors...some, into worship ministry...and the list goes on. But here again, mine was different. All I knew, was, that I was to totally surrender my life to go and do as He opened the doors, and to walk away from the ones He closed. Talk about an interesting journey! I've been blessed to serve in many staff positions over the years...Sr. Pastor, Youth Pastor, University Pastor, Worship Pastor, and a few more. But just a few short years ago, my calling was distinctly changing direction, and I certainly didn't know why, nor did I understand it.

It was during this time that my family and I were feeling a deep sense of urgency to reach out to the 18 to 35 year old age group. I really can't describe it...it was just a burning passion to minister to this group. We conducted a series of surveys...consulted with many church leaders...and spent many hours in prayer. Our findings were staggering. We determined that only a minor percentage (less than 10%) of this age group in our county could be classified as 'churched'. In addition, our community is home to a small four year college that has an average enrollment of 2800 students. And the student population wasn't even figured into the calculations. The revelation of this data analysis made us quickly realize a new direction in our ministry was happening...right before our very eyes.

In the summer of 2004, after much prayer, consulting with other personal friends that are or have been in full time ministry, searching God's Word, and much more prayer, it was obvious I could no longer remain on staff in my current position in one of the local churches. I didn't understand what God was doing. Here I was, having to resign my position, yet God would not allow me to leave my little community, nor would He allow me to send out resumes to other churches. What was HE thinking?! We had even sought His Will concerning a possible new church plant for this age group, but God closed that door also. However, He did have a plan...

I'll be honest with you, I'm normally a 'see the glass half full' kind of guy...very optimistic...highly aggressive...Type A personality, but this was crazy. I mean, absolutely nuts! My world was crashing down around me and I couldn't do anything about it. My entire concept of ministry was changing like a kaleidoscope in overdrive. My view...my impression of life in ministry and my life in general was that I would serve on staff of a local church, watch the church grow spiritually and numerically, grow old in the process (or should I say 'age gracefully'), watch my daughter become successful in her career, retire, cash in my annuity, and buy a motorcycle.

Sounded good...in theory...only.

My mind was racing so fast it could have competed in the NASCAR circuit. I kept searching...grasping...hoping to understand what was taking place, only to realize that my thoughts and ideas were vanishing as quickly as they appeared. But soon, the plan became very clear. That car that I had been racing in had blown it's engine, and it had been replaced with a much faster...more advanced way of competing...leaving my views of life and ministry as I knew it, in the rear view mirror...


...to be continued

2 comments:

Jeff Noble said...

Ok, I'm hooked. When's the next installment? In many respects, it echoed my own "journey," with one important detail missing...

Perhaps I'll write about it some day... (How's that for a touche'?)

TJ said...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
You can't do this to me! now I won't sleep until I know how it ends. (Oh, wait, I'm in your coffee shop. I think I've got an idea about the ending) - But what about what's next!?!?!?!!