Tuesday, May 29, 2012

God's New Call Part 2: Wrestling

This is part 2 of our blog in sharing what God has been doing in our lives these months.  

Check out part 1 here.   

In the fall of 2011, my networking role increased dramatically because of the Francis Chan event that I helped coordinate.  I have gotten to know so many people in the city and have really enjoyed that.  But there was something missing.  What I was doing wasn’t totally fulfilling my passions yet.  I wasn’t even sure at this point what my passions were.  I was confused and didn’t know what God had for us in the ministry. 
We were attending a Spanish speaking church plant with the intent to support the pastor and serve in any way we could.  However, in February of 2012, we felt like our time there needed to end and we stopped going.  Now I wondered where our family would go to church.  There was no new church plant developing within World Impact.  Neither was I feeling a desire to get back into church planting.  It just wasn’t clear where God was leading us.  We had started going to Hope Community on Sunday mornings for our kids to have a place to attend, and we decided that for now we would go there until we figured something else out.
At the end of February, I went to Moody with Don Davis. This trip really started to intensify my wrestling.  God used Don to start waking up a lot of the passions that had been laying dormant in my life.

One of Don’s messages at Moody really spoke to me.  He challenged the students that they should have such a deep love for Christ and that everything in our life should flow out of that deep passion for Jesus.  He suggested that maybe some of them had lost that passion.  Perhaps the students came to Moody with a craziness for the Lord, but now that had changed.  They might have become complacent in their faith.  He said, “What happened to you?”

I felt this message was speaking directly to me as I reflected on those words later on.  When I was younger I had dreams and visions for doing amazing things for God, and being totally wild and crazy for Him.  I dreamt of planting many churches.  But in my 20’s and as we were doing our church plant, I started to lose my craziness.  I felt trapped by sin, insecurity, etc.  Eventually I became cynical towards myself because I felt like I wasn’t having spiritual victory.  I hadn’t learned how to stay healthy in ministry and felt like ministry was taking it out of me.  

I realized that I was chasing those dreams because I wanted the glory, and not the Lord.  The problem is that my passions and dreams weren’t totally wrong, but the fact that I was doing them for the wrong reason.
When I left Lighthouse, even though we had planted the church, I felt like a total failure. I felt like a failure in ministry, and a failure in my family.  God has brought so much healing to those areas in the past four years.  Yet I have never recovered my confidence in my ability to minister.  

Ever since my brother’s death, I have struggled so much with comparisons.  It seemed like he figured it out at a young age. Why couldn’t I be more like him?  Why have I had to struggle so much? 
For me, the easiest option was to just be complacent.  I figured that God had passed over me I could no longer be in ministry and church planting.  

While at Moody, God started to break through all of these insecurities.   I realized I had lost my craziness and wildness for the Lord.  I had become complacent and comfortable. I now have a family and kids that are growing up. It’s easier to not be wild.  It’s just easier to play it safe, and that is what I’ve been doing. 
I wasn’t sure what God was saying to me during that week. But I started to dream about new things I could do. I knew that God was asking me to be ready for some kind of change.

As I came home from Moody, Angie and I processed a lot.  She recognized that God was doing something in our lives but together we weren’t sure what it was.  As I shared some of my crazy ideas with her, she said no to them because she didn’t feel called to them.

During this time, I felt like God spoke two different things to me.  First, it was that I needed to stop playing it safe and that I needed to step out in faith. Secondly, the Lord was asking me to abide deeper in Him and to be patient in the Lord. Angie initially shared with me the need to be patient, and then it was confirmed with several friends.

I was now in the middle of a big tension rod. On one hand, I was trying to get out of my complacency and be willing to do anything for the Lord that He would ask of us. Yet, in the middle of that God was saying slow down, rest in Me, abide in My presence - wait for Me to move.  This was extremely frustrating, but I knew I was where I needed to be.

Even though I had many different ideas of what God might be calling us to, being called to church planting was not one of them.  I didn’t see how my gifts fit with the new strategy of church planting World Impact was moving to.  It wasn’t clear to me, so I figured that I wasn’t to be a part of it. I was struggling with vision and seeing clearly. Meanwhile, I sensed Angie was more open to church planting and I wasn’t sure what to do with this.  

I’m thankful for my leaders at World Impact who processed with me about all of this. They were so helpful with questions, listening, and praying for us.  One of them, Andy Entz, said to keep being patient and open to what God wanted in all of this.  I needed to trust Him, even with the church planting vision that wasn’t clear yet.  That was so hard for me.  to be continued.....


  1. Matt,
    Thank you for your vulnerability. You are not unlike many others in ministry. I am so glad that God is healing you of your percieved ineffectiveness in ministry. You are His child, and you display His love for others in many ways every day. I know God can and will use you. God is not in a hurry, and His timing is always perfect. I'm looking forward to the plans He has for you and your family.

  2. Thanks for sharing. It is good to hear what is going on with you guys. I saw your blog for the first time today. God bless you in whatever God is calling you too. Will be praying for you.
    Sara Collins