So let me be clear from the start.
I’m not Craig Groschel, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, Bill Hybels, Michael Hyatt, Neil Cole, Alan Hirsch, Ed Stetzer or anyone else you have ever heard of. I’ve never written a book. I haven’t built a mega-church. And I’m much more likely to speak in front of a group of ten than a thousand.
My career as a pastor has been adventurous and entertaining, but I don’t have statistics of massive revivals I’ve been a part of to tout or astounding church growth numbers to present as evidence of why you should pay any attention to me at all.
I understand who I am. I’m 32. I have more energy than tested insight, more ideals than proven strategies, more theories than results.
Side Rant: Personally, I think this is an absolutely fabulous place to be. I love it. Part of me never wants to be settled. I never want to “know” what to do next. I always want to be leaning into the Spirit, pushing my self-understanding, challenging common knowledge and the status quo. Let me never say the phrase, “Oh, we’ve been here before and I know what to do.” Let there never be an arrival…only the start of a new journey.
About two years ago Wendy (my incredible wife) and I stumbled across a way of thinking about church that helped us explain ourselves and how we thought differently than others around us. The blogs and books we read gave us a vocabulary for ideals we had fought to define since our venture into professional ministry. It has been a crazy ride that has changed both of us radically…but not changed as in “made us into something new”…changed as in “freed us to become more who we’ve always been struggling to be.”
Does that make sense?
One of the things that has seriously changed is my self-understanding: my understanding of what my strengths and weaknesses are and what about them are healthy and unhealthy; my understanding of (as they put it in the Percy Jackson series) my “fatal flaw”; my understanding of my role in church world; my understanding of calling; my understanding of ministry; my understanding of people, of mercy, of community, of justice, of love… a lot of my understandings.
For the next string of posts (starting tomorrow) I’m going to tackle these understandings one at a time. I’m going to do it by talking through some verses that have come to be defining for me over the past two years.
First we will look at Philippians 2, selfish ambition, vain conceit, humility, people, and brokenness.
Then we will gaze into Acts 2, 4, 20, and others to talk about the church.
Then maybe we will hop over to Corinthians and the idea of teaching/preaching, loving others, and success.
We will also at some point look at wine and religion, Romans and predestination, and maybe a little Sodom and Gomorrah too.
After that…we’ll see.
You see kids, I’ve taken about a month break from seriously writting about church stuff. I needed to step away. To gather some thoughts. To finish reading the Percy Jackson series and watching all three books of the cartoon Avatar on netflix. Now that those incredibly important things are finished (oh Saka’s plucky humor how I miss thee), let the self-examination begin a new!
So strap in. Tie down anything you are worried might go over board. Lash all small children and yippy dogs to the mast; because we are going to venture into the wild sea of self-reflection where waves of ponderings and ideals bigger than we can manage will threaten to capsize our very being, where brain hurricanes (not simply storms) and raging rants might tear the sails and leave us adrift in dangerous open waters, where we might drift into the Bermuda Triangle of missional mess never again to set our feet on the solid ground of comfortable, sustainable, and numerically successful church growth models.
Here we go.
Into where the wild things are maybe never to return sane.