Alan and I watched the Hangover 2 last night. In the great snowstorm of 2012 after two days of ‘working from home’ together, we had to find some way to pass the time. And while the movie itself was terrible, it reminded Alan of his self-proclaimed favorite quote of all time, spoken by the man himself, Mike Tyson: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
If I were to characterize the sixteen or so months since I last posted, that quote would capture it all. When I last left you, dear reader, we had decided to shut down Sinners and Saints after an unsuccessful season of churchplanting. We met some great people, learned a lot about what not to do, got kicked out of our denomination, and I was out of both a job and a career. Remarkably, within less than a month I had two amazing jobs. One in Global Health at the University of Washington, exploring a passion for international development that built on my seminary studies of responsible global involvement, and the second working with local churches through Catholic Community Services to invite congregations into direct service work with the local homeless community. Both have been amazing experiences, and both have provided the blessing of financial stability we didn’t have while churchplanting. While I am currently employed, I have to say I’m still trying to figure out what life is like in the aftermath of losing the long-held dream of a life in ministry. Don’t get me wrong, I believe ministry happens outside church walls and is not the exclusive provenance of the paid pastor, it’s just that I believed my calling was to serve as the pastor of a small community somewhere, living life as we learned how to serve God, each other, and our world together. It was a nice dream. I miss working with a great group of folks in full-time ministry every single day.
And yet, I hold onto hope. I stepped out on the churchplanting path knowing that the future was not guaranteed and most churchplants fail. I stepped out in faith knowing full well that I am not perfect. I stepped out in faith believing God calls all of us, every single one, into relationship with God, and that not one of us is excluded from the love of God. As I look toward the future, I don’t know what to expect or how to plan. I’m trying to be thankful for what I have: wonderful husband and family, great friends, awesome church community, and not one but two jobs exploring issues I’m passionate about. And I try to take all the plans of what I thought life would be at this point in time, and surrender them into God’s capable hands. In time, I’m sure I’ll make more plans, and I’m sure I’ll get punched in the face. I just hope I’ll keep remembering to get up and keep fighting.