Gosh, coming into ministry was something that I was so resistant to. I remember when we finally got into a church that was a little more theologically grounded and at the time, I was involved in the music industry. I was doing a lot of writing, recording, touring, and all of these things. The Lord was doing something unique in my life when he started bringing us to this church, where for the first time in my life, having been involved in churches for 30 plus years, there were some men that spent some time getting to know me. These were men that were really grounded in the Word and basically grabbed me and sat me down in a coffee shop where they essentially pointed and said, “what are you doing right now in your life?” Again, I didn’t have a life that was spiraling or coming apart at the seams, but I was really involved in the things that I was doing. What I was involved in, on some level, had the appearance of being committed to Christ in pursuing ministry, but it really was more self-motivated. For whatever reason, these men really saw that and were the first men in my life to actually ask me questions that forced me to look a little deeper into my heart. To look at what was really motivating those things that I spent so much time on. God really used those particular men to bring me to a place of healthy questioning, wondering, and self-reflection where I began to think about what God might have for me next, rather than doggedly pursuing my own ambitions. So, that was a new thing for me.
Around the same time, my dad suddenly passed away. It was one of those moments that is still very clear in my mind. So I had these men that were causing me to question everything that I was doing in my life and were pulling me closer to ministry, in a sense by asking those kinds of questions. And if God had that for me in my life, then my dad passes away and God used that as well to be even more reflective on what it is that He might be speaking to me in those moments. So, having those parallel things happen, you start looking at all these events in your life and you stop thinking of them as being coincidental. The Lord is growing your faith in the sense that all these providential moves he’s making are to grow you to a deeper love and affection for Christ. To pull you closer to him and deepen your life and heart in all these ways that have been kind of thin. God used those events to push my wife and I to a place where we’re looking around us and thinking that it feels and looks like all the doors are opening in these particular areas. It looks like we need to dive in and start giving our lives away to people and the church. Like everyone else, the path is so windy and we all have a different path coming in.
Although, when I look back on it now, it seems so clear when at times it almost felt convoluted. At the time, we were having so many conversations and asking so many questions. Yet, the Lord never stopped pressing in, pulling us in, and opening those doors. And at some point the question was, are we going to obey and walk through those doors that seem to be opening, or are we going to keep resisting? By God’s grace, he opened up our hearts to obey and to walk through those doors to start that journey for us. It was scary. It was taking risks and yet he’s preserved us all along the way through massively hard things. It’s been the most sanctifying, the most growing, and the most life-giving, 15 to 20 years now of our lives. So, we look back and say it was always part of the plan. We just didn’t realize he was walking us there in the moment and that is something we can always trust that the Lord is doing.