This is just the best guys. This whole “I did a thing” writing a book deal has had quite an impact on my life. It’s also had some ups and downs. I am trying to be intentional through it all. So this post is about how thankful I am to all of you have read, shared, commented, and reviewed “The Millennial Pastor.”
Sometimes I wonder how the increased scrutiny from this book will affect me as well as my family. I sometimes dwell on the negative responses a little too much. It’s hard to not be affected. I have received/heard plenty of concern over the cover of my book as well as the things I have shared in it. Some individuals have even come up to me after reading my book, stating “When you’re older, go back and read your book, I’m curious how much you will have changed your mind by then”… I couldn’t help but hear: “you are young and naive, one day you will get why the older generation did what they did to you”…
Not gonna lie… I had to bite my tongue on that one…
It’s easy to focus on the negative, but yesterday was an inspiring day full of “full-circle” moments for me. I had a number of people express their appreciation for my book, sharing what they liked about it and how it spoke to them. One instance, in particular, stood out.
It happened on Facebook because I’m a millennial… not really… well maybe it players a part… anyways…
I have a friend I was recently able to reconnect with because of Facebook. Sure, Facebook gets a bad rap for being the place where arguments and politics become cancer within our society, but in this case, Facebook was coming up roses. I grew up going to camps and other church functions with this guy. We lived in different cities so we only saw one another maybe once or twice a year. Still, I knew him well enough to give him a nickname. “Combat Chuck” by Five Iron Frenzy anyone? Now, thanks to Facebook, we had the opportunity to reconnect with him in the last few months.
So yeah… Here is Chuck’s status yesterday (don’t worry, I asked permission to share it with you all):
That meant a lot, but there was more to it. If you can’t see the rest of the comments on this post due to privacy and such, here is a screenshot:
So more backstory:
Chuck is a millennial, and he is now the lead pastor of a church. Sound familiar? The connections don’t end there. Chuck just took over a church that I was once an associate pastor in, as Charles points out in the follow-up comment. On top of all of that, Charles was the senior pastor I worked for at the “little church down the road” which is the same church that Chuck is no the lead pastor of.
So if all this isn’t enough, Chuck refers to a camp in his initial response to my comment. If you read my book, you may know what he is talking about.
In the first chapter, I talk about the moment I remember God telling me He wanted me to be a Pastor. It happened at this camp Chuck is referring to. Seems like Chuck was at the same camp, and heard the same message from the same camp speaker I did. Fast forward 15 years and here we are, both millennial pastors, both going through some of the same life experiences… Both doing our best to lead Gods people… Honoring the past, while hoping for the future.
This interaction meant the world to me!!
This… This is all I could hope for. This makes all the “why did I write this book again” questions go away. It helps the “Jesus didn’t look like that” and “why did you make such a blasphemous cover” comments disappear like the water off a duck’s back. This stuff gives me that much longer a fuse so I don’t react in anger when someone tells me I am young and I really don’t know what I’m talking about. It reaffirms that God wants these stories told, so I will continue to tell them.
So to Chuck, and to everyone else who has been so gracious in their response to my book and life story, I want to say Thank You. Thank you so much for your support, for spending money on a book, for reading it, and for telling me what your thoughts about it. Thank you for sharing your compliments, your kind words and your affirmations. It motivates me and inspires me.
In the end, it’s all about building the kingdom of heaven together as the people of God. We all have a part to play, and I can honestly say that it’s instances like this that give me the drive to continue playing my part. Together, we can honor the past, but hopefully look to what God has in store for His church in the future.
We can dwell on the bad, the disheartening things in our lives, or take note of the good, the blessing and let them spur us on in the race we are running. To quote an influential philosopher of today:
“The players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off” – Taylor Swift
In all seriousness though, If it’s wasn’t difficult, it wouldn’t be worth doing. Today was a reminder that we have to take the good and bad in stride, that ultimately we could focus on the one or the other and let it dictate our perspective. Or, we can learn to shake off the bad, and celebrate the good, the blessings of being part of a grander narrative.
Today I choose the ladder…
Until next time…