Now being a few days back into ministry I’ve decided to write what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown, and share something new we’re working on for Perception Funding.
When I look back at where my days went, the list looks something like this:
I read six books on sabbatical which is more then I have read total in the last year. Below is a list of ideas that stood out to me the most from my readings.
Mere Christianity - I spent the first three days of April at a retreat center by my self and read all of CS Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity. His chapters on the Trinity has changed my view of how I reach God. For organizational purposes my mind organizes things like a spreadsheet and God has his own column with a few cells titled “now,” “later this week,” “distant future.” But CS Lewis talks about the Trinity as God always being right in front of you, Jesus right at your side and the Holy Spirit within you. This has been really freeing to me that God isn’t contained! He isn’t just leading me, but at my side and within me! It’s still hard for me to break the organizational structures I’m in the habit of keeping, but you can’t keep God in a box; especially with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in there - it’s just too crowded!
Peace Maker - This is a book about how to seek peace in any type of confrontation. The most impactful part of this book was learning and thinking through the differences between avoidance and oversight. To outsiders there is no difference but as the person struggling with the conflict, there is. Avoidance is choosing not thinking about the problem - pushing it away and trying to deal with it by not dealing with it. Contrarily, oversight is taking care of the problem in your mind, praying about it, forgiving if necessary, and then truly letting go.
Profitable Charity - For several years I’ve felt that there is something more that needs to done to help non-profits become sustainable long term. I’ve realized that although fundraising follows biblical principles it continues to constantly feel like not enough for so many in ministry. This year I’ve been working through ideas I have for a for-profit business which would have the overall purpose to fund missions. As a part of this, and to be educated on the topic, I read Profitable Charity on sabbatical. This is a quick read, full of very practical, how-to steps and seems to cover all the angles of structuring this type of business. Please be praying for our journey down this road and stay tuned as we get closer to launching something awesome!
The Book of Acts - This might sound silly, but one of my struggles with Christianity, the thing that makes me not want to a claim the title of “christian,” is the cheesy-ness that so many churches and ministries adopt be unique, or to gain modern relevance (can I get an amen?). The Book of Acts is utterly cheeseless; it is an amazing, epic adventure! Acts is a tale of real men serving a real God. It’s scary, hard, unbelievable, but most importantly not cheesy! I want to be like the men in Acts — so connected to God that my actions are His, where there is no room for worry, just delight in serving Him.
A great example of the epic story told in Acts is found in chapter 16, verses 16-25. Give it a read when you have a minute.
One of my sabbatical plans was to meet with several christian businessmen and a couple of retired pastors I look up too. As I scheduled these meetings I sent them questions ahead of time for them to give some thought to our time together.
Kip Unruh owes and runs a property management company where he buys, sells, builds, rehabs and manages property that he owns and that other people own. I had heard from others that Kip handles conflict incredibly well, and since I was reading Peace Maker, I wanted to get his take on the topic. Kip says that, “I tell my employees all the time that in conflict you have to hug the cactus until it doesn’t hurt anymore.” He says that conflict doesn’t have to be hard, that it’s about finding the truth, and then working towards repentance and forgiveness. I learned that Kip doesn’t just handle conflict well, he actually likes conflict because he has gained the ability to help people find peace and move on.
Kirtes Calvary was a pastor for almost 30 years, and I wanted to learn what contributed to his longevity in ministry. What stands out to me about our conversation was that he looked at his commitment to ministry like a christian’s commitment to marriage. It wasn’t something that could just end, it took work and choosing to stick with it. He also remembers thinking it was odd when other people in ministry were envious of other people’s jobs. He was content and knew where he was suppose to be. It also sounded like his life was balanced well. He referred to Pastor Chip Ingram. Chip organizes his life around three thing: his relationship with God, being a husband and father, and his personal health. Chip intentionally schedules time for all three of these priorities for the month this before figuring out his work schedule for the month. This method can seem daunting but I know that whenever you put first what God has for you, everything else just comes together. Kirtes pointed out how effective this life outlook was, and I thought it was really profound.
Matt Moore owes and runs four businesses in Kansas City, and is an old friend of mine from when I attended Covenant Chapel. Since he has so much going on, I asked him to tell me what he feels holds him back from achieving more. He said, “sleep!” Matt is a high energy, fast moving guy who can run on little sleep and enjoys the fast pace of his life. Being a husband and father of two, though, he knows he needs his sleep. This may seem like a funny answer but we are all given the same amount of time each day and it’s our choice to figure out how we spend it. Matt recognizes that he needs down time. I want to have a healthy balance in my life as balance seems to be the key to longevity in ministry and business ownership.
Working with my hands has always been life-giving and therapeutic for me. So, I intentionally set aside time to do some wood working and rebuilding a motorcycle. This fall, Perception will host a fundraiser where we’ll sell homemade things that our staff has made. Here’s a few things that I’ve been working on.
All in all, I would say I had a very successful Sabbatical. Between my intentional time spent with The Lord, reading books, meeting with men that inspire and encourage me, and getting my creative juices flowing, I feel rested and rejuvenated. Thank you for your prayers for me during this time. I am glad to be back to work, and looking forward to watching my Sabbatical have a long term impact on our work.