In my last post I told the story of how God brought me to the place where I was desperate enough for breakthrough (for my own life and for those I cared about) that I was willing to confront, confess, and repent of my brokenness.
This selfie shows some of the joy that has come into our lives since that day (I will explain why we bought a boat later).
Driving home from that church plant in May of 2013 I had one recurring, gut level, visceral reaction – “never again”. Something inside of me broke that morning – something that had been under tension for years finally snapped. And, here’s the best way I can describe it:
Pursuing kingdom advancement (such as church planting) that is not built upon a firm foundation of covenant faithfulness (life on life relationships that spur us toward Christlikeness) is like running through a mine field at full speed..uphill…at night…alone.
After 15 years I had seen enough carnage…there had to be a better way. I was done with it.
Another way to say it?
Engaging the OUT (“to seek and save the lost” – Luke 15) without a deepening and healthy IN (investing in Christians who have a hunger to grow in the character and competencies of Christ) results in short term gains but long term losses.
The time had come for me to look these truths in the eye. And the truth was I was perpetuating a system that produced kingdom advancement at an unsustainable pace. It was one step forward, but two steps backwards far too often. The horse was dead. It was time to dismount.
There were two people I had to speak with about this…this shift, this awakening. The first was Sandi, and the second was long time mentor, friend, and boss, Jim Keller. Here is what I needed to confess:
- In my attempts to do ministry for God by planting churches, I had neglected to establish the necessary rhythms at home to disciple my own family well.
- Sandi and I needed a reset in our marriage and ministry. We had somehow strayed from the integrated life we had experienced during the first 10 years…we needed to reclaim that ground. And I needed to lead.
- I no longer believed in the methods I was employing as a church planting leader. It was the end of the line…time to learn a new way.
- I resigned my position as Church Planting Director
- I led my family to South Carolina to serve an unpaid apprenticeship with 3DM – a crucial step in the reset Sandi and I needed, and an opportunity to learn a new way to disciple my family and the leaders God had called me to serve.
- UP Rhythm – Every Tuesday night we have dinner together, read a chapter of the Bible, talk about it, and pray for one another. Also, the past two months Sandi and I have been praying together just about every day.
- IN Rhythm – Every Thursday night we invite a family over for dinner. We pray that God will lead us to people he wants us investing in. And when we see his grace, we follow it. That’s it.
- OUT Rhythm – We walk our neighborhood a couple of times each week, and once a month we invite people to our home for brunch on a Saturday morning. Again, we ask God to show us who the people of peace are, and we follow the grace.
- Every Sunday morning our family enjoys a big breakfast. No agenda – we just enjoy good food and one another.
And, don’t forget – it was only after the Wizard came out from behind that curtain that he was able to empower others and experience real freedom.