Building a Ship

One of my favorite quotes comes from Antoine De Saint-Exupery:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

I love this quote because I’m a big picture kind of guy.

Through this blog and other outlets, I have hoped to teach people to long for the “endless immensity” of the kingdom of God.

And, by the grace and power of God, it’s worked! People have heard the stories of New Albany’s Midtown neighborhood and discovered a longing in their hearts to love the poor.

Our volunteer base has grown, opportunities to serve are more numerous than ever, and we’ve connected to so many neighbors that, for the first time, I’m having trouble remembering names.

My brothers and sisters in Christ have shown up and said, “We get the vision. We have a longing for the Kingdom. Now let’s build a ship!”

But here’s the reality.

At some point, someone does have to “drum up people to collect wood” and “assign tasks and work.”

Through much prayer and wisdom from friends and mentors, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not that person, and I’ve made the decision to resign from my post as the pastor of Midtown Commons.

The ministry is ready for someone else to take the lead — someone who can move the work from vision to action.

And that’s a good thing.

What I’ve seen happen through this little ministry is nothing short of miraculous. Just this past week, we learned that Midtown Commons is being used as a model for reaching homeless populations across the region.

The vision is bigger now. Bigger than me, bigger than the ministry.

It’s turned into a movement.

And to be honest, from the beginning, my goal has been to work myself out of a job.

I know that there are a few readers out there who I know personally. And you have a lot of questions. The biggest question is probably:

It’s clear that you love this work and this neighborhood, why would you leave?

First let me say this. I have no intentions of leaving the neighborhood or ending my involvement with Midtown Commons. The people I’ve come to know are like family to me, especially the kids. My heart is here and (Lord willing) I don’t expect to leave any time soon.

But here are the primary reasons for my departure from the specific role as Midtown Common’s Pastor:

1. As mentioned above, I’m a big picture guy. The job itself has become increasingly systems and structures oriented. This is a good and natural thing that happens as any organization grows. With more people and more ministry opportunities comes more complexity. It wouldn’t be fair or healthy for the ministry if I held on to the reigns and hopelessly tried to lead outside of my strengths and giftedness.

2. This will be news to many, but Rachel and I are excited to say we have received a distinct call to adopt children. Full-time ministry at Midtown, however beautiful, is simply not conducive to our starting a new family. The work is mentally and emotionally demanding and the time commitment is enormous. We prayed long and hard about it, and we believe the calling to adopt trumps the calling to work at Midtown Commons.

Like I said, I know this may come as a shock to many who know us. But rest assured, we have sought our Lord Jesus, and we are confident that this is what he wants. My last official work day will be July 30th.

Please pray for us as we step into the future. We know our heavenly Father has prepared a great new work for us. It’s what he does.

So here we go, venturing even further into the endless immensity of the kingdom of God.

We’ll let you know how it goes.


4 thoughts on “Building a Ship

  1. God Bless You and Rachel in everything you do!! He has Great plans for you!! When we follow the Lords leading we cannot go wrong!! I’m very excited for you… I know He will do exceedingly abundantly above anything you could ask or think according to the power that works within you!! He is Almighty!!

  2. God bless you both. I am so excited about your decision to adopt a child. God has led you to this new chapter in your life, and it will be great. Love you both and wish you every happiness.

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