So says the Bob Dylan song. So is my life.
11 weeks ago I found out my wife was pregnant. 10 days later I found out that there were two human beings forming inside her belly. Being a father changes one’s outlook on life. I do not know this from experience, I have just been told as much. What I can tell you is that being an expectant father changes you. But first, you go through stages:
Utter Fear (from the moment you see the two embryonic sacs [which is really week 4] until about week 8 )
My jaw literally dropped when I looked at the screen and saw two sacs. As my wife marveled in joy over the next three weeks, laughing and crying with friends, picking out 73 different nursery designs, spending 23 hours a day on babycenter.com and babysrus.com – I freaked out. I considered things like, how can I make more money, how are we going to feed two more people, how can I make more money, do we need to get rid of the dog, how can I make more money, can I emotionally handle two, how can I make more money, what kind of dad will I be and of course how can I make more money. Sometimes this stage comes back in spurts – like when writing a blog about it.
Utter Joy (from week 8 until week 10)
Something clicked around week ten and I started acting like a junior high girl with a new boyfriend. Trips to Babysrus to register – more registering online. Dreaming about names and what they will look like. Touching my wife’s newly and quickly protruding belly whenever I get a chance. Noticing babies everywhere I went and making faces at them. This was fun, it really was. I miss it.
Planning (from week 10 until present)
This stage coincided well with buying a new house, making business deals and determining future plans. This stage is hard because you don’t want to make the wrong decisions. The wrong decisions could have you in the wrong city and/or the wrong church and/or the wrong/job and/or the wrong house, etc. Understandably this has left me a tad bit freaked out considering the track record of decisions Vicky and I have made. Yet, at the same time, it has helped me look at scenarios with a bit more maturity. This has caused me to sell-out, I mean re-look at vocational ministry. SAY WHAT, ah now we get to the meat of the blog post.
Um, yeah. Problem is that I am not that guy.
So Vicky and I oriented our life spiritually (church planters), emotionally (full-time work plus trying to be missional and entrepreneurial) and financially (rent a house with a big living room) as if we were 35 years old with over a decade of ministry experience. This left us in debt spiritually, emotionally and financially. To summarize, we oriented our lives as if we were 35 even though we were 25, and it almost ruined us.
The logical next step seemed to be to move into a local church, serve humbly and move into leadership in a short period of time. We balked at a few good communities and once again bit off more than we could chew by joining the leadership of plant/venue/thingy. Once again we had to pull out, this time we were wise enough to do so before any harm came to us. What is the real issue? What were we really hoping for? What did we think God had for us?
A leadership position within a church that I had neither the wisdom, experience or maturity to deserve.
My justification for such: the church needs me. It needs guys like me who care about the gospel and who care about being authentic and all the like. Those people doing it now have it all wrong. The church needs me.
The church needs me. Right.
As Colin Cowherd says, “Say it out loud. See if it still sounds like a good idea.”
This has caused me to approach/view the local church with a different lens. Seeking ways to bless the church faithfully from the inside, rather than being the rogue outside agent taking it on by force. Perhaps, people get to be 35 and qualified emotionally, spiritually and financially by growing in those areas. Even the best engineers work their way up to management by showing themselves faithful. Why should I get a pass? Why should the church suffer by letting punk mid-twenties guys with entitlement issues go right into senior management? Why should they not be blessed by letting faithful pastors prove their faithfulness with little, so that the church has proven godly men leading it?
So what is my next step? Do I re-enter vocational ministry? I’m not sure. But my entire perspective of the church is changing. Hopefully I will be so focused on serving and blessing the church that I won’t even resemble that old punk. Yeah, well at least in my attitude. The times they are a changin, and thankfully, so am I.