This blog will be different from what I normally write on here.
The last few months have been very revealing for me. I had writer’s block for a very long time. Yes, I have been writing this blog for a year or two now; however, I often found myself searching for what I really wanted to write about. It would take me weeks to just write a short blog post. I would over-think what I was writing or stumble to have a purpose for that particular blog post.
I did some soul searching. I prayed. I sought out wisdom from people I respect. I prayed some more. I yelled at the Devil and told him he “stinks and is ruining lives” (in my best Napoleon Dynamite voice). I refused to quit.
Unless you live under a rock or you don’t know anything about me, you are probably aware that I used to work full-time in ministry. I saw some crazy stuff where I last worked (in the Church) and I have been working in the mental health field every since I left full-time ministry. I used to miss working in the Church (full time); however, my world has been changed dramatically in the mental health field.
I have met some amazing colleagues in my current field of work. Many of these colleagues I now call friend. I am blessed by their knowledge but most of all by their hearts. Many of these folks have diverse experiences and education but their spirit and compassion to help others is what I appreciate most. I love you guys (Disney moment).
I never gave up on my “call to ministry”. It haunted me all through high school and through long hours at the library in college and graduate school. Even when working in the local church did not pan out the way I envisioned it, I knew God was not done with me. I had people that confirmed my call and I had others that said I was not called to ministry. I had to discern the truth from the bullcrap. It was messy. It was sometimes heartbreaking. People like to make all types of assumptions about why you are no longer a pastor. On the flip side, other people could not handle that I was no longer a pastor. It was like I was lesser of a person because I did not have a churchy title attached to my name.
I had been pretty low key since I left professional ministry. I have about 1000 reasons for this but the biggest reason was I was finding myself again. Finding myself = not in an Oprah Winfrey way. I knew I wanted to make a difference but I wasn't sure what that looked like. So I dug deep within. I delved into reading and writing like I was just getting started. I listened to advice from people still “in ministry” and those that left the Church altogether. I learned to not be biased, shut the heck up, and listen to their stories. I knew I enjoyed the field (mental health) that I am currently in. And I knew I wanted to do more “in the Church”.
I had the chance to preach a few weeks ago at my home church and I loved it. I have another opportunity to do so in November. Different opportunities have arose that I did not have in the past. I do not take these opportunities for granted. Additionally, I believe that my time “away” was beneficial to how I view this realm known as “ministry”. So often, we view ministry as something left to just pastors and priests while the rest of us ask permission to do things or we sit back as spectators. Since I left professional ministry (as a job), I had to re-evaluate what I viewed as ministry.
Over the past 6 years, things have fallen into place. 4-C Ministries was created and then eventually we transitioned to the name of Java and Jesus. Our website features podcasts and a blog. We have conducted 1-on-1 Spiritual Direction with countless people who are desiring for a deeper and richer spiritual life. We are not done yet.
Over the next few years, I would like to expand Java and Jesus into the local community. My goal is to be speaking at different churches either on Sunday mornings or in the context of leading different workshops. I am a realist that this will not be an easy task. We are a non-traditional ministry that does not have an office building and we are not affiliated with a particular church or denomination. “Being different” scares people.
I know to keep moving forward will not be easy but it will be worth it.