Several months ago I was reading another blog post by Doug Paul, whose blog I follow to some degree since he works with 3DM, who I’ve been learning a lot from in regard to discipleship. I started to write this at that time, but maybe because I was going to Canada soon after, I put it to draft and didn’t touch it until this morning when I noticed it was sitting here in internetland blog draftville.
I don’t completely remember what direction I was going in when I started it, but as I sit down and think about it, all that comes to mind is how much better things are in God’s timing as opposed to our own.
This particular post of his was from ChurchLeaders.com. I don’t know Paul personally, but he did graciously accept my Facebook invite a while back, and it seems to me we’re very close in age and at similar points in life and ministry. With the exception he undoubtably has had much more preaching experience than I have. At least where traditional pulpits are concerned.
At any rate, his post I read was Church Leadership: Is 50 the New 30, and in it he reflected on the Alexander syndrome;
Bt the age of 30, Alexander the great looked upon his Kingdom and wept for there were no more empires to conquer. Paul compares that to how in evangelical circles, we’re constantly inundated with stories of wildly successful mega church pastors who are often young (late 20?s to early 30?s). This leads to a stressed way of living for the many pastors who don’t accomplish as much seemingly over night, and feel as though they’re not measuring up or not successful.
I know for myself, not long after having reached my 31st birthday recently, I’ve struggled with the exact same types of feelings. Early in my twenties, fresh out of Bible school, I felt my 30th birthday was a far way’s off, and surely I had lots of time to accomplish significant strides by the time I reached it. I made my way over to Europe in the middle of the last decade, believing I’d be a part of a revival in the Netherlands, when in hindsight I can see now I didn’t have very clear goals or a strategy for accomplishing any such things. I just felt like I was at point A, and in order to get to point Z I had a bunch of other steps to get to, but had little to no idea the exact steps to take to get there.
In the fall of 2007 and winter of 2008 I was back fund-raising in Canada when God changed my path and put the opportunity to take a trip to Peru in case the Lord may have been directing me to go there next–which he did, and in February of 2009 I moved here and have been ever since. I know God’s put a call on my life to be a teacher to the Body of Christ, but in some ways I always have felt I’m still incubating and being prepared for something bigger. I’ve been using blogging and podcasting as a way of giving my first fruits to the Lord, knowing that as I get older I’ll be a much more effective teacher. There’s no doubt that blogging is helping me become a greater writer, and podcasting is helping me develop many other skill sets, including listening, interviewing, and teaching.
Because the accrued wisdom needed to lead a Kingdom movement is simply not possible for someone who is younger. For instance, the early church didn’t really begin to take on movemental properties, at least in my opinion, until Paul is training and sending out his team beginning in Acts 19 in Ephesus. At that point in his life, Paul is probably well over 50.
This is true with pastoring, leading, teaching and so on. But in many ways I feel this is true of my craft of writing as well, and is why I’ve hesitated to put forth any traditional books for publishing. Not because I don’t feel I couldn’t or that nobody would read my work if I did. But because in all honesty, I also feel like what’s in me is not ready. I’ve got at least three ebooks on the go on my computer which I’m thinking of releasing as something for free for people who sign up for newsletter updates on my site, or some kind of web asset like that.
But, what I’m most afraid of doing is rushing ahead of the Lord as well. I’ve read books by people out there that I’ve discovered through social media or on Gospelebooks.net, and wonder why didn’t they just wait a little while until a real editor could look over their manuscript. My mentor SJ Hill keeps reminding me that when I’m older, I’ll be grateful I took my time getting some of my message out. I’ve changed my mind about things and I’m sure I’ll keep changing my mind about things by the time I’m older, and cringe when I look back over the decades at things I taught and held tightly to. Also, with some of the ebooks I’ve read, it’s made me realize the last thing I want is for my readers to feel they’re reading the ‘beta’ version of a book of mine with all sorts of mistakes and issues.
I don’t get the rush, really. My pastor Stephen Best was telling me that one of the leaders of the Shepherding Movement of the 1970s he’s close to wishes he could go back and grab books from people’s shelves that he wrote in his thirties. He now wishes he could make them all not exist.
So, for those who think you’re encouraging me but really just pressuring me for not having attained to something you’ve attained, whether a book or a pastorate, to that I say: good things take time.
God bless you.