I remember when I quit writing like it was yesterday. It was 2013, I was sitting in my office, and I realized for the first time in my ministry life if I wrote anything it would be from a frustrated, unhealthy, tired, and fearful place. I couldn’t tell anyone, so I just stopped writing. I was a pastor. I stayed low and tried to push on. That is what pastors do, and it took another three years to understand how dangerous not getting help was. Seven years later, time with a counselor, lots of long walks on the golf course, and a church plant later, I have a better perspective. Let me try and explain…
In 2013 I was thrust into a new senior leadership role at the church I had served for six years. The church was in crisis with an unexpected leadership change. I was overwhelmed, and as I sat down to write, I realized I could not share what I was experiencing. I was in this new role where I had to keep my emotions, perspective, and discoveries private. I had no idea how to deal with that reality. I also realized quickly at that moment; I did not know what I did not know about senior leadership. I stopped writing. I needed to be silent and learn to lead differently. I needed to listen more than I shared. I told myself that being quiet was right for the season, but unknowingly I hid to have more control.
What I did not know until recently is that when I stopped writing, I did so out of control, insecurity, and fear. Senior leadership can do that to anyone. I am an enneagram 7, and when stress comes, I move to an enneagram 1 and take control and responsibility in very unhealthy ways. My temptation in times of crisis and anxiety is to take control and make sure everything and everyone else is healthy and effective. I avoid my soul to make sure the mission advances, and you can only avoid your own soul for so long until you collapse.
So why start back? Because in this new season in year 3 of planting and leading a church I want to constantly punch the desire to have control and the drive of fear in the face. I am not in control. Fear is a natural emotion when I am living by faith. God has asked me to be fully present and reliant in the midst of fear. Writing helps me get these leadership, ministry, cultural, and spiritual ideas out in a way that when I hit publish I give up control. I reject the fear that says I don’t have anything to contribute to the conversation. You know, we all have that voice.
I am starting to write again because…
- The past seven years have been a ministry boot camp that I have kept to myself, and it’s time to share.
- I have finally crossed the 6-year mark of senior leadership in different roles, and I have made mistakes and learned lessons that I need to process and share with other ministry leaders.
- My wife and I got to plant a church and then merge/revitalize with a church over the past three years. It has been wild; lot’s of lessons!
- My two teenage girls love Jesus and the church, and I need to share some of that journey. We could not have planted without them!
- We planted nondenominationally and then stepped back into a partnership with a denomination.
- After 22 years of ministry, we still love the local church and still believe it’s plan A for Jesus to bring hope to the world.
- Chelsea and I have been married for 24 years, and wow, do we have some stories to tell.
- Grammarly exists to help me be a better writer!
- We are serving 2020 and are still fighting for the new future of the church.
I’m thankful to have this outlet to share with other leaders. If you are reading this, then you probably serve in some ministry context, and you love Jesus. I hope my journey helps you. Let’s get after it together!