(If you are a regular reader/subscriber to this blog, you recognize that it's early in the week for this to be hitting the interwebs. There is a good reason - thanks for reading!)
I did not grow up as a planner. It wasn’t a natural aptitude I ever had or even longed for – as a matter of fact I was quite content with doing things by the seat of my pants and seeing what happened next.
Then, some things occurred that shifted my attention when it came to planning:
1. College ended and I had to start “adult-ing.” There’s something about taxes, rent payments, student loan collectors, and the general whiff of responsibility that makes you think, “Huh, I should probably think ahead a bit.”
2. I married a natural, gifted planner. My wife Holley is a beautiful and graceful thinker and her viewpoint on our family’s future is indispensable. She has taught me the grace of making some plans and retaining that last bit of stomach lining that is so precious to people like me.
But life is not linear.
A year or so ago, we came to Rockford, IL to step into the Teaching Pastor role at Heartland Community Church. We left behind our home of 7 years, striking out on a new adventure that we felt – and still feel – God beckoned us to engage.
We had a plan. We drew a line forward into the future, a linear life that would unfold ahead.
We sold a house. We bought a house. We jumped in, ready for what was next. We invested in creating a home in Rockford, ready to see our daughter through high school in the Stateline area.
But life is not linear.
In May of 2017, I released my first book Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions. I was happy to simply see these thoughts in print, but what happened next was surprising.
Several “preview” lists recommended Becoming Curious as a must-read book for 2017.
In the first 3 months, the book went into a second printing.
Speaking invites and promotional opportunities started coming in. In places like Australia.
God was inviting us again. Beckoning us.
The last few weeks and months have been a period of discernment and discussion for my family, Heartland, and I. What do we do about these new opportunities?
My wife also had a change in her job. She was offered and accepted a full-time role with her company, which was welcome and exciting news she was ready to embrace after spending the last number of years working part-time and remotely (although she will miss working in her pajamas some days.)
What does that mean?
We had to begin asking some new questions.
Where do we believe God can best use those passions, gifts, and abilities that He has put in me for the good of His Kingdom and His people?
Are we being moved – already – despite our plan, our intentions, our designs – in another direction?
The conclusion we arrived at is this:
I will be resigning as Teaching Pastor at Heartland Community Church at the end of January. My last weekend teaching will be January 13-14, 2018.
We will begin the process of moving back to Parkview Christian Church, the place where I served for nearly 8 years, where I’ll return to staff in a part-time capacity as their “Theologian in Residence” in early February.
The remainder of my work time will be devoted to writing more books, traveling and speaking/teaching, and hosting a new podcast starting in February as well.
I want to thank everyone at Heartland – especially my friend and Heartland lead pastor Josh Peigh – for all they’ve done for us in the last year to help me learn so much about myself and also about the distinct role I have in what God is doing in the world. We leave having seen God work through the team at Heartland in incredible ways, indeed.
I am excited to rejoin friends and fellow staff at Parkview and to see what contributions God has in mind for me through all that is happening in the South Suburbs and beyond.
To be honest, this move is one of the scarier things we have done as a family. I’ve never been a person who is confident enough to “bet on” himself, but we feel like that is where we are and where God, as I’ve said, is beckoning us to go.
We are filled with longing.
Because, you see, life is not linear.
If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to send me a note through my website or on the social media(s).
Thank you for all your support, my friends. We welcome and covet your prayers in this time of transition as a family between homes, cities, and schools.
And, as always…We journey on.