This is a blog I wrote when I was thinking about leaving Revolution’s staff and joining Stadia full time. I was cleaning up my computer and found it yesterday. I apologize for not posting it earlier:
“With each step, it felt like a huge risk. For me, these included leaving a budding career as a chemical engineer, then exiting my executive experience in a marketing and advertising firm, and ultimately stepping out of an incredible opportunity I had as a pastor…today I see my must do for God as bringing clarity to the leaders I serve.” That is a quote from Church Unique by Will Mancini. I was on an American Airlines flight from Quito, Ecuador to Miami when I read it, and I stopped to read it three or four times. I wasn’t a chemical engineer or an advertising executive, but I have taken some huge risks. I was offered a potentially cool job in Charlotte after the company I worked for was bought out but chose to change industries altogether. I was being offered more and more responsibility in a healthcare corporation and left to become a pastor. When I read Mancini’s quote, I had been made an offer to work for Stadia full-time and was really on the fence. I love my job at Revolution, truly.
However, the way Mancini phrased his unique calling, his “must do,” pierced right through me. My must do is maximize church planting by leading and “bringing clarity to leaders I serve” in that arena. I’ve known with crystal clarity that this is my must do since 2006. A few months before I came on full-time with Revolution, while at the Exponential East conference in April 2013, I told the president of a church planting organization that I wanted his job one day…it was the first thing I ever said to him. I didn’t mean it to be threatening, though I was (and still am) appropriately teased about this, but in many senses, it remains true.
I believe that church planting is a powerful engine driving change in this world. Church plants by and large reach communities with a message of peace, grace, love, hope, community, joy, perseverance (in a word, the message of Jesus) that other churches are not reaching or in places where there are not churches. I believe it could be the most powerful engine for change.
At Revolution, I have participated in church planting. I was a part of the launch team for Revolution. We have supported church planters as a church. Josh Burnett (Revolution’s lead pastor) is one of the loudest advocates for church planting in our region and suits action to words. I have been given the freedom to share ideas and knowledge with churches in New York, Miami, Maine and more on Revolution time.
Then, last July, I started working part-time for Stadia. It was a way to shore up some financial stuff for my family while also continuing to interact with church planters and thought-leaders in church planting. In October, I switched from my mid-Atlantic focused role to a globally-focused role and made my first trip to South America and encountered abject poverty for the first time. I met church planters who weren’t focused on anything other than reaching people and helping them not just survive but, to the best extent possible, to thrive. My entire perspective on church planting changed, but my passion for it was only further ignited.
Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to serve leaders in cool ways through my job with Revolution, my job with Stadia and in my personal endeavors. In July 2015, I organized an informal retreat for 7 pastors that was rewarding, refreshing and worth repeating. I’ve now been to Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil and met more than a dozen church planters and movement leaders. I’ve heard so many stories from churches in the US. I’ve helped prepare a church planter in residence at Revolution for when he plants his own church. My “must do” remains maximizing church planting by bringing clarity to the leaders I serve.
Maximize. Plant Churches. Clarify. SERVE. While several miles above the Caribbean Sea en route to Miami, I felt that the driver for my decision to take or not take the Stadia job couldn’t be my deep friendship with Josh or my valuable friendships with people in other church planting organizations who I probably won’t see as much if I’m not on Revolution’s staff. The driver for my decision couldn’t be about money or time. Becky and I have made it this far with a small ration of both. The driver for my decision had to be my must do. Would this job allow me to maximize the planting of churches by bringing clarity to the leaders I serve?
I am stepping away from Revolution’s staff on October 31 and starting full-time with Stadia on November 1. This position with Stadia allows me to interact with, influence and SERVE more leaders than I have ever had the opportunity to interface with before. Stadia is planting more churches than they ever have in their history, and they are committed to continuous improvement in the how of planting churches and caring for planters. Their Bloom division is one awesome and innovative example (look it up). I don’t know if I’ll always be on the global side, but I do know that any decision will be filtered through the must do. I am excited to dive in full-time.
It is not without sadness that I leave Revolution’s staff. Josh is one of the best leaders I know because he is one of the most willing to take radical, faith-fueled risks to see people in a revolutionary relationship with Jesus. His drive to obey Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20 has been unrelenting in the time I’ve known him; even at the times he did not feel at his best. He is also one of my very best friends. Not being on Revolution’s staff means not spending as much time brainstorming, laughing, Nerf gun fighting and dreaming together. Beyond my relationship with Josh, not being on Revolution’s staff means not attending some retreats and events with thought-leaders in other church planting organizations that have been key growth points for me personally (I have been reading “Seeking God’s Face” every morning for a year because of one of those retreats and it has been deeply impactful. I have been reading “Titan” about John D. Rockefeller on and off for a year and loving it based on the suggestion of one of those thought-leaders. That doesn’t even get into the shared joys/trials.)
When you are making next steps, what are you filtering it through? If it isn’t your “must do” or a clear step toward it or a facilitator for it, then are you stepping the right direction?