Follow Your Passion

Intentional Living Day 7

August 7, 2017 is the day I decided to follow my passion – here’s my story…

For quite some time, I had been asking myself “why I am I doing what I am doing?”  I had been serving in pastoral ministry for nearly 3 decades and it had been very fulfilling.  I’ve always enjoyed helping people find a relationship with Jesus Christ and watching them grow in that relationship.  I had been a student of church growth and church health and fully enjoyed helping the churches that I served grow and develop, take risks and see rewards, and follow God’s leading into new experiences of what it means to be a church that is relevant to today’s culture.

But, all the while, I had a sense that God was asking something different of me for the future.  Throughout my ministry, I had always been involved in developing leaders within the church – both churches that I pastored, and other churches through teaching, speaking, and training.  For sometime now, I have had a growing sense of the urgency for the development of leaders.  Then, on June 5, 2016, I posted an article on identifying what makes you sing.  In that post, I stated the following…

“What makes me sing is helping someone to live up to their God-given potential – whether it is someone stepping across the line of faith and giving their lives to Christ, or someone who learns a new principle or teaching that opens up the door of potential in their lives. Adding value to others and helping them achieve success in their lives is a very fulfilling experience.”

I, then, applied that statement to four areas of my life:  (1) Martial arts – helping that under-performing student discover and live up to their full potential; (2) Pastor – helping someone discover how God created them for a relationship with Him and for a purpose in this world.  As they discover that purpose in this world, they begin to live up to their full potential; (3) Coach – helping a church and its leaders discover how they can change a few simple things about their organizational systems and get great results in living up to their full potential in God’s Kingdom; and (4) Business – helping a business owner or manager discover a few simple changes that make all the difference in how they relate to their customers and employees.  Then, the business begins to find it full potential in the community.

What I didn’t realize as I wrote that blog post was the dramatic change I would be making in my life in the next year.  A few months after that post, I became an Independent Certified, Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker with The John Maxwell Team.  My original plan was to expand my leadership development training within our church and my other circles of influence.  Then, in March of 2017, following a 3-day training in Orlando, I returned home and my wife and I made a major, life-changing decision.  That decision was to resign as a pastor and go into leadership development full-time.  That meant leaving behind friendships and a church family that we dearly loved.  It meant taking a risk for greater reward.  It meant following my passion.

So, on August 7, 2017, we packed up the moving van and relocated to Middletown, PA, just outside of Harrisburg.  My wife is beginning a teaching position at a local school and I am writing from my office in our new home.  I am now following my passion as a leadership development coach, speaker, and trainer.  (Now you understand my lack of posts during this transition time.)  I am excited and challenged by the great need for leadership development both in the lives of individuals and organizations, and in the lives of pastors and churches.  I still have a heart for serving in ministry and I am passionate about serving God and the church in this greater capacity.

That’s MY story.  What’s yours?  You see, we all have something about which we are passionate.  It might not be what we are doing right now.  It might be something totally different and in a different location, but we all have a story.  What are YOU passionate about?  What makes YOU sing?  Once you find it, follow it and give yourself to it.  You might just be surprised by where it leads you! 


30 Days of Intentional Living

Day 12: Weigh Risk and Reward When Making a Difference

Intentional Living Day 12

By nature, I am a calculated risk taker!  By that I mean, I weigh the opportunity for reward before taking a risk.  If the reward potential is high and the risk seems doable, then I am the kind of person who will jump in to see something happen.  What about YOU?

If the reward of doing something different with your life was high, would you risk it?  If the reward of doing something significant with your life was high, would you risk it?  If the answer to those questions is a “yes,” then it is quite possible that you are living an intentional life.

In today’s video John shared about risk-taking and reward.  He gave three questions that we should use to evaluate whether or not the reward was worth the risk (his questions in bold, with my thoughts following):

  • Are the potential rewards greater than the risk?  In other words, if you take action at this point, does the potential outcome outweigh the potential risk to attempting that action?  Most people just stop at the word “risk.”  What sets an individual apart who wants to live intentionally is the fact that risk doesn’t cause you to stop dead in your tracks.  Instead, risk is simply evaluated before action is taken.  Which brings us to John’s next question.
  • Is what you hope to do achievable?  Part of the process of risk assessment is taking the time to determine if the desired outcome is achievable.  So, we gather as many facts and details as we can about the situation.  Then, we move forward if we believe that what we are attempting is achievable.  If we determine that what we want to do is not achievable, then moving forward is not intentional living, but, rather, simply foolish.   For example, at 49 years of age and only 5′ 10″ tall, attempting to play basketball in the NBA is simply foolish.  No matter how hard I might try, I’m simply too advanced in years and vertically challenged to play with the big boys (my lame attempt at being politically correct).  Once we have determined that the reward is greater than the risk and that the outcome is achievable, then we have one last question to ask.
  • Can you recover from the downside?  If things don’t go as planned, could you recover from the failed attempt?  That is an important question.  Put in financial terms, what happens if you put your entire retirement savings into that new stock offering and it tanks.  Can you live without your retirement money?

Obviously, we are talking within the context of people – adding value to other people’s lives.  So, is the reward of investing time and energy into someone worth the potential outcome?  Is it achievable and what happens if it doesn’t work out?  Or, as John would put it, what happens when people disappoint you?

The application of the risk/reward questions is vast.

  • Is that new hire at your company worth the risk?  They are low on experience, but high on potential.  You think you can develop them into a productive employee, but what if you’re wrong and they fail miserably?
  • That potential ministry leader at your church – what if they fail and you lose both the ministry opportunity and the people involved in that ministry?  But, what if they succeed and the ministry touches many lives?

These are the types of questions we, as leaders, need to be asking on a daily basis.  Weigh the risk against the reward, then go and make a difference.

As for John, he would say “It’s worth taking a risk for people, because people have great value.”

ACTION STEP:  Identify one big risk you are considering taking right now.  List the answers to each of the three questions on a sheet of paper.  Before acting on it, think and pray about your potential decision.  If you feel the risk outweighs the reward, then stop.  But, if your answer to each of the three questions above is “yes,” then get to work and let nothing stop you – after all, it might just change your life, the other person’s life, or the life of your church or organization!