This has been one of the most jacked up years ever! Â My ministry schedule was basically empty for most of the Spring and I only had 2 camps booked for this summer – down from a normal 6 or 7. Â For a long time I tried to blame this on “today’s wintry economic climate” because it was easier than admitting that God was trying to get my attention. Â Somewhere around March I quit being so ding dang hard headed and accepted the fact that I couldn’t continue to blame the economy for my empty schedule because if God’s hand was still on my ministry then the economy wouldn’t matter. Â So I started practicing what I preach and started digging into the Word – searching- seeking- praying- trying to wrap my head around what it was God was trying to teach me. Â Over time I begin to realize that at least part of what God was trying to teach me was humility. Â Which is not a fun lesson to learn especially the 2nd, 3rd, or 29th time! Â Anyway I got it in my head that if I just humbled myself and let people know that my schedule was empty then God would open the heavens, the phone would start ringing, and everything would get back to normal. Â So I made a video titled “Runks Summer 2k9 plan B”, emailed it to a bunch of Student Ministers, and waited to see what happened. Â Here’s the video I sent out……
As you can probably imagine, it generated a lot of response, just not the response I was looking for.Â I got lots of positive feedback, encouragement, and funny emails but no bookings.Â What really surprised me was how many of my friends called to see if I was OK. Â It caught me off guard because at the time I was honestly just trying to make a funny video, humble myself, and do what I thought God was leading me to do but when I look at it now I can see the reasons for their concern. Â I can hear the desperation in my voice and see the fear in my eyes. Â I have a tendency to be Â glass half-empty guy. Â I don’t like it. Â I’d pay money not to be that way but because of the abuse in my past when things get bad I tend to freak out and think the world is coming to an end. Â I know that’s crazy but sometimes that’s my reality and that’s exactly what was going on when I made that video. Â I still think the video is funny and have no doubt that I was being obedient to God when I sent it out but at the time I was literally freaking out. Â I was so worried that my days as an evangelist were over and that God was done with me. Â I know that’s pretty extreme but I’m just being honest.
The crazy thing is, that stupid video turned out to be the catalyst God used to turn things around. My plan B turned out to be a stepping stone to get me to God’s plan A. Â Out of nowhere, God dropped the opportunity of a lifetime in my lap. Â A friend of mine, that saw the video, called and asked me to pray about going on a two week mission trip to India in July! I told him I’d pray about it but I knew from the second he called that this was part of God’s plan for me. Â The day after that a former student of mine from my Youth Minister days who is an internet marketing Guru offered to help me come up with a new marketing strategy, redesign my website, and start this blog. Â I thought for a while that I was supposed to write a book this summer but I think this is taking the place of that for now. Â I can already tell that this blog is going to be good for me and hopefully offer some hope and help to others. Â Then through a series of crazy events, God made it clear that I needed to leave the agency that had done my booking for 5 years and go back to doing my own booking. Â Nothing against the agency, I just wanted to get back to a ministry based approached where we discuss, dream, and plan for ministry before money, contracts, and all that junk ever come up. Â This is where lesson number 2 came in: Â Re-learning to trust God for everything. Â Once again, God has reminded me that I cannot depend on my talent, my gifts, or a big shot booking agency to make this ministry a success. Â I’ve simply got to put my trust in Him and not in myself. Â I’ve learned this before but somewhere along the way I got wrapped Â up in ME and forgot about it.
And then I went to Super Summer Arkansas. Â An event that could have easily been an ego trip deluxe but I went there broken and humbled with a renewed trust in God as my provider and it proved to be one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Â Every compliment I received, every student that was saved, every life that was changed – rather than stroking my ego brought me to my knees. Â The entire time I was there I kept pinching myself because I just could not and cannot believe that God was letting me speak at such an awesome event. Â A young youth minister friend of mine that knows my situation bought every one of my meals at the time-honored tradition of late night dining after worship at youth camp. Â It was so humbling for him to do that for me but also an absolutely incredible blessing! Â And then on Wednesday afternoon of that week, I booked the first event I’ve booked myself in 5 years. Â We shared ideas, dreamed dreams and made a plan for what is going to be an awesome event. Â Afterwards, I went outside, called my wife, and wept like a baby. Â I kept saying over and over, “Its not over. Its not over. Its not over! God is not done with us. Â He’s got more for us to do.” Â That may seem silly to some but I can’t tell you how awesome it is to know and believe again that God is not finished with me – that He has more for me to do.
Its been a crazy year and an even crazier summer but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Â I wouldn’t want to go through it again but I wouldn’t trade for what God has done in my life.Â Â My schedule is still a little thin but God is meeting our needs and I’m not worried about it anymore. Â I’m just going to stay focused on being broken, humble, and faithful and do whatever I can to meet the needs of every hurting teenager God places in front of me.
I’ll leave with you with the words of a rap from Will Smith which oddly enough seems to fit here:
“I got my X-ray vision through all in my way. No Plan B, it distracts from Plan A.”
No more plan B for me. Â I’ll stick to God’s Plan A. Â Its safer there and a lot more fun.
God Bless ya – Runks