I thought long and hard about the last words I want to write in 2017.

Sometimes, I’ve found, it’s easier to know the don’t than the do and go from there.

I don’t want to give a lot of advice or talk about pages on a calendar. I don’t want to reflect on the year. 2017 has been a biggie for me, and most of you already know many of the reasons why.

What I really want to say is I’m moving into 2018 feistier than ever, knowing I’m an 8 enneagram, which changed nothing really, except people are happier now for some reason, you know…to know.

I am going to disappoint some of you in 2018 just like I did in 2017 or maybe I haven’t yet, but I will. I launched something called Ministry Strong for leaders, aware that because of its specialized focus, some of my friends here would feel left out. If that’s you I say, hold on. I have something coming that is for literally everyone, and I do mean everyone, it won’t cost you a dime, it maybe requires more prayers and empowerment of the Holy Spirit than I’ve ever needed before, and it will be here in mere weeks, which makes me want to break out in huge hives.

But I have to clear up a nagging myth I think you may have about Ministry Strong: there’s a reason I’m doing it, and it’s not because I need another job.

  • I started it because I almost quit the ministry, more than one time, and mostly because I was lonely, worried about the wrong things, caught up in stupid Christian celebrity culture, questioning my worth, fearful about everything, and never once because I didn’t want to serve God.
  • I started it because when I started speaking, and even 10 years into it, I had questions and no one to ask…and I know how terrifying it feels to stand up with the responsibility of the Word of God in your hands and not a clue how to present it.
  • I started it because God is a thorough, prepared God and many ministry leaders want to just wing ministry and hope they’ll last, which is crazy, harmful, unproductive, and unbiblical.
  • I started it because I wish I had someone talk to me about how to serve Jesus strong for the long haul when I first started out.
  • I started it because mentorship is modeled in the Bible, and I want to obey God and do what the Bible says with the journey He’s taken me on. Also, because I’ve had people pour into me.
  • I started it because I watched my father resign from a pulpit of a church he deeply loved over some things he had done and his heart break in a million pieces over the pain it all caused and go live in a travel trailer for 2 years on a dusty gravel road in his own form of recovery because he had not one other pastor or ministry friend come alongside him and help him start, again. I want to be a friend to some people, now. (**Please don’t miss what I have for you at the end of this post about this.)
  • I started it because I held the tattooed hand of a pastor’s daughter in a far away state who said to me, “I’ve been clean for 45 days for the first time in my adult life” and I knew by far, she wasn’t the only one and it could well have been me.
  • I started it because my husband and I started and closed a church in 13 months and if you think that doesn’t mess with your self-esteem and belief you are “successful” in ministry, think again.
  • I started it because every single day I hear from ministry people who are carnage of their own choices or the choices of others who are this close to quitting because no one who understood ever circled around them, invested in them about how Jesus can help keep them in this and make them strong.

But I started it, mostly because of just this: God made it clear I was supposed to.

And when God tells you to do something, my friend…never take a poll.

That’s what I want my last words in 2017 to be.

Love you.

See you in 2018.

 

 

**I detailed a bit more of this story in my book from 2011, {w}hole. I’ve recorded a portion of it for you, free, here. If you have less than 10 minutes, I would love for you to listen. It will give you further insight into the heart behind Ministry Strong.