Nothing was wrong.
But something wasn’t quite right, either.
Spring of 2020 was a mash-up of graduation celebrations, didn’t-get-the-job disappointments, Zoom-teaching wins and losses, COVID-related boredoms that bred creative pursuits, and such. You could see the breakdown and you could see the beauty even if the breakdown got all the headlines.
Summer hit and, for the first time in five years, I had…
The marriage was good even if we’d fallen into some ruts (some lockdown related, others due to the normal failure to pay attention to the relationship). Teaching high-schoolers online in the inner-city had challenges but also sparked creative ways to connect with my students. I got into the best shape I’ve been in since I was in my 30s and then I rediscovered how much fun learning is when you pick your topics (MasterClass, anyone?). And then the plan I had for post-graduation fell through and I had…
…time to think about what might be next.
See, I thought I would be full-time in academia once I had the right letters after my name. I had a shot at one job and it fell through and then COVID crushed the job market for professors. There are job posting boards for professors that haven’t posted new listings since last May. Then many institutions even scuttled using adjunct professors (which occasionally allowed me to scratch my academia itch) for not only last year, but this next school year. I just figured I’d teach another year of high school and begin the job search when the pandemic eased up.
But I was antsy. Something wasn’t quite right.
So, update the resume. I open up my mind to what else God might be doing in my life that might not be in academia. Check the recruitment search firms and websites every now and again. Pray…because it’s finally come to that. Seek. Listen.
So, update the resume. Check the recruitment search firms and websites every now and again. Pray…because it’s finally come to that. Seek. Listen. The Fuzzy Front End is here again (https://mckinneydiner.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/parachutes-fuzzy-front-ends-again/).
Recruitment search firm has a job prospectus that’s intriguing. Click a few buttons. Look at that church’s web site. Apply. Doesn’t hurt to kick the tires, right? Even if it’s the only job on about 14 different web sites that might be a good fit for you and there’ll be a zillion applicants you probably can’t compete with anyway, never hurts to throw your hat in the ring, right?
No need to bore you with the details of the interview process that started in August and went through December of 2020. You do need to know this, though: I was unflltered during this particular process. See, I didn’t need a job. I had one. And one that I liked. And one that was fulfilling. And one with a lot of people I like working with.
And you better believe if I was going back into working professionally in a church, well, you better believe they were going to get the real me. They may not like what they see, but what they see will be real. And I was. And manalive so was Tracy. When you’ve been a professional Christian for over two-decades, you are well-aware of the damage that churches can do to your family, so it might be best to put our cards on the table.
And manalive was the search committee and staff transparent and authentic about who they are and what they’re about. They pulled back the curtain for us and were equally forthcoming that we may not like what we see but they would be real, too. It was a mutual admiration situation. Prayers. Seeking. Listening. Offers.
The fuzzy front end became the next logical step.
So, yeah. I’ll have “pastor” in my job title again starting February 15. Those of you that know me & Tracy also know that when God says “GO!” clearly we’re pretty quick to pack up, strap in and get on with the adventure.
But in no way will it change the way I live my life or do my job. I was a pastor as a school teacher…and frankly, had many more opportunities for ministry every day on campus than I did when in previous church gigs. (As an aside: Frankly, so do you).
See, Foundations Church in Loveland, Colorado is dreaming about making disciples of Jesus on a large scale. So am I. So, this should work. There really aren’t enough words in the thesaurus for “excited” for me to use here. I get to use my gifts and talents to serve people that want to dive in to the abundant life that Jesus said He came to give us.
And we get to move to a place known as a haven for artists, with a low cost of living, family friendliness, an “urban” feel in a suburban setting and a “blue collar” mindset in a white-collar scene. In other words, we fit…both the place and the new family that just adopted us.
There’s a real peace that comes from knowing that everything is…
So, after 26 years of living in DFW, it’s time for us to go. The moving van comes Thursday…and we’ll be in The Sweetheart City on Valentine’s Day. (Loveland gets a LOT of mileage out of their name this time of year…but also the Chamber of Commerce gets a lot of mileage out of it all the time).
And for all of you that keep telling us, “That’s so cool how you and Tracy just up and GO! But I could never do that…”
Yes. You can.
Just pay attention. Seek. Listen. Pray. Then pack up, strap in and get ready for the adventure.
It’s time. And maybe not just for us…because you can always find new adventure in re-framing how you view loving your neighbor wherever you happen to be. You don’t have to move to live adventurously.
Here’s a few photos…