”I never thought it would happen to me,” so the saying goes. The proverbial mid-life crisis. A little over two years ago life took an unexpected, though not surprising turn. Having spent 20+ years pursuing a life in full-time paid ministry as a pastor, teacher, and discipler, I was no longer those things (no ones fault) and I didn’t feel compelled to go after them again; at least not in the same capacity. So I asked myself the “stronger” question; what can I do to most effectively build God’s kingdom?
I went back to the beginning of ministry for me and revisited being a content creator. I wanted to encourage and equip Christians to follow Jesus in ways that didn’t turn them into Jerks for Jesus. I wanted to fill-in for pastors when they needed a Sunday off, and do workshops at churches on how to study the Bible and various other topics (which I still want and am available to do!). The one more-or-less successful part of all of this was The Rhythm Journal.
I paid precious money learning how to market myself (which I loath in a ministry context), write better blog posts, and market those as well. Email lists (thank you!), Facebook followers, Twitter, Instagram, even Pinterest, became my focus, along with trying to make good content. “Look at me! I have something valuable to contribute but I don’t want to sell my soul to get your attention on me so I can show you Jesus!” It was exhausting.
For whatever reason(s), it didn’t take. A saturation of similar content online, my style of writing/delivery, who knows. All I know is that I was spending a lot of effort and it felt like very little Kingdom building was being accomplished. Let’s just say that my most-read blog post by far was a short commentary about the split in the Calvary Chapel movement. While all traffic is good traffic, that’s not what I wanted to build.
“Crisis” sounds like a severe word. Turns out it is an accurate one. And it wasn’t just me. Jess was going through the same thing. The kids were moved out (more or less). The jobs we had to support them now only served to pay bills. This isn’t true for everyone, but for us, we need more than that. We pursued a life in ministry because we wanted to invest in people, because that’s what we are each wired to do; to build them up, to make a difference. That was and is our calling.
When you have zero sense of purpose, or worse not fulfilling a purpose, it feels like a crisis.
When Jess was in high school she wanted to be an athletic trainer and a nurse. Well, a couple of years ago, Jess became a certified Holy Yoga Instructor and Yoga Therapy coach. For her it was physical activity, an emphasis on scripture, and discipleship all in one.
She was also very sick for a number of years and we didn’t even know it. With the help of a couple of naturalpaths we got to the bottom of most of it. For her, the primary path of healing wasn’t medication, but nutrition. So what does she do? In typical Jess fashion, she is now on track to be a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (graduating in November 2018).
You can follow what she’s up to on this Facebook page. A website will be up sometime in the next few months.
In fact, Jess and I have a little dream of running a school/course/program that is really a holistic approach to following Jesus. Meaning, teaching that following Jesus involves the whole person. What you eat and how active you are effects your physical health. Your physical health effects your emotional and spiritual health. Having a right understanding of all of this comes from scripture as does what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. It’s all one and when they are out of whack, so are we, which means so are our families and churches. Stay tuned.
Since I was a little kid I have loved stand-up comedy. More than that, I love making people laugh. I remember listening to my dad’s Steve Martin, George Carlin, Jonathan Winters, and Cheech & Chong records. (It was late 70’s.) I loved Saturday Night Live and sketch comedy. I loved cartoons; both funny Warner Brothers stuff and action-adventure after-school cartoons. I particularly loved the voices. I was the kid who wanted to know who did them and how.
So, in May of this year I took a leap and started taking stand-up comedy classes and voiceover/acting lessons. I’m not counting on these becoming primary income sources, but I have always loved both of them and had to at least try them and see where they go. Plus, I’m not a total stranger to either one these with some experience in improv theater and four years as a children’s performer.
On my “someday” list are a couple of fiction and non-fiction book ideas. Well, someday is today.
The non-fiction is a book about how to use improvisation theater skills in everyday life. Honestly, I didn’t really know how to interact with other humans well until I learned improv in high school.
The fiction book is a story about a haunted theater and forgiveness. In my mind it’s a Pixar movie, but one step at a time.
I also have an idea for a new podcast about life in my hometown of Vancouver, WA. Letting that one slow-cook for now.
I am still very interested in equipping and encouraging fellow followers of Jesus. It’s just going to have to take a different form than I previously envisioned. In fact, it already has to a degree.
We currently have an informal home group meeting at our place. It’s kind of a half-way house for people who have been burned by church or are burned-out from traditional “American” attractions church. It’s been really, really good. Some have even “graduated” through and have become a part of new-to-them church families.
It’s small-batch, home-brew discipleship. It’s Kingdom building.
I still have some equipping projects/products on the drawing board, and I intend to keep blogging with a refined sense of content and purpose.
Last but not least, doing IT still pays the bills. While I work full-time at King’s Way Christian Schools, I do still take side projects. If your small/home office, and up to medium-sized business or church need a network upgrade/redesign, or other similar project-based service, I’m happy to help. (What I can’t do is ongoing regular maintenance for a number of clients. I can’t be your IT guy.)
Just use the Contact page on the website to reach me and we’ll chat. Thanks for keeping up on our adventures!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the posts on this site are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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