The older I get, the more I love the church.
While some people get burned out on the negativity that happens when Christians congregate, I’m a glass-half-full guy; I’ve seen too many lives transformed by the church to dismiss it because it isn’t perfect. I believe strongly in the church and that's something I've modeled my whole life.
Last fall, I had the opportunity to reevaluate my career path. I started getting job inquiries from non-Christian organizations and I was truly intrigued. For a guy who’s spent his whole education/career in church-centered vocations, stepping away from this subculture was somewhat appealing. You don’t have to be paid by a church to be an effective minister. Examples are everywhere: we decided to stop getting paid by our church years ago and the experience has affirmed this. My idols are my parents, and though they are deeply involved in church, both worked in secular careers throughout their lives. And I’ve come to deeply appreciate my friends who have staked out ministries in their secular jobs.
It was during this time that Kelly and I talked about our marriage and family direction. What do we value? How do our vocations affect what we’re called to do pastorally? We determined that we held just two imperatives for our small family:
We’re called to live in Cincinnati. This is our mission field.
We’re called to serve with Echo Church. This is our family.
Beyond that, we’d do anything the Lord calls us to do.
And even this revealed something to me: I’m passionate for the work of the church—and not just Echo. My years at a small urban congregation and working at a ministry training school instilled in me a kingdom perspective that drives me today. No one church or one ministry can accomplish all that God needs to do. And I’m at my best when I’m equipping churches and church leaders to grow.
This is why I have accepted a position as Vice President of Ministry Development with the Church Development Fund.
I’ve known about CDF for decades. With over six decades of experience, CDF’s mission is to help churches grow by helping them financially. They focus specifically on churches in the Restoration Movement, the (un)denomination with which Echo and CCU are affiliated. Since they’re headquartered in California, I never imagined I’d work for them. But my new position puts my responsible for the territory of Ohio/Kentucky (and some Pennsylvania). So we can stay in Cincinnati and continue with Echo.
I really believe this is the Lord opening a door for me. When I started interviewing, I kept waiting for something to dissuade me; I paid close attention to see if there was anything that would confirm this was a bad move. Instead the opposite happened: I found myself getting more and more excited. The work is custom-made for my current skill-set while providing opportunities for growth. And even when I showed my quirkiness (since I included it on my CV, we spent ten minutes in the interview discussing the Leadership Suplex and professional wrestling), they were still enthusiastic about me joining the team. And right now I’m in Las Vegas with the team, meeting at one of our Movement’s great churches, and learning more about our work.
I am beyond excited about growing professionally and contributing to the CDF family.
So about what I’m leaving behind: you already know how much I love CCU. I’m extremely proud of the work I’ve done there. Some of the best people I’ve ever met are the result of that place. But this doesn’t end the relationship: I’m going to continue to adjunct teach and will continue to support the university (especially financially). I’ll miss my colleagues, but they continue to great work. CCU existed before me and it’ll continue on when I’m gone.
I’m thrilled that I’m moving on to a company where I can continue to use my passions for the kingdom.