An unexpected turn ...
In May of 2014, things began to change with my physical health. My normal 3-mile run, faultered to a 3 mile walk. Breathing became more challenging. Muscles throughout my body started forsaking me with constant twitching & severe cramping. This led our family on a 3-year medical journey that has been comprehensive, exhausting, & perhaps hardest of all, isolating. Doctors have given us a bucket full of diagnosis's - Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Lung Disease, Cramp Fasciculation Syndrome, Auto-immune disorder, Mitochondrial Disease, etc. Regardless of the name, our family has had to adapt to a new normal of husband & dad, doing life with a battery that simply won't charge.
This journey has been severely crushing & strangely wonderful at the same time.
- Crushing in that there has been the loss of much.
- Wonderful in that God has done remarkable soul-work in me.
I needed to hear God’s voice again. Regardless of God’s sovereign purposes in taking my health – I have received it, in this season, as a severe mercy in my life.
"His goodness, like a fetter, has bound my wandering heart to Thee."
He reclaimed the heart of a weary pastor, re-fashioning areas of my life out of step with His character. I had been bought with a price, and somewhere along the way I forgot. I began identifying with C.S. Lewis's character, Eustace, from ‘The Chronicles of Narnia.’ I had ceased to be a boy, but woke one day covered in the scales of a dragon. For a season, alcohol became the cistern I turned to in order to refresh my tired spirit. Church-planting is not for the faint of heart, and when one gets too busy (or too lazy) to cultivate their own soul, it will always lead to their undoing. For some, Alcohol is something that can be enjoyed in moderation, but for me it became a vice. It certainly took the edge off for a few hours in the evening, but in the end, it did not refresh. Nor did it place me on sure footing in the daily commitment of holiness & prayer. It was a broken cistern in my life. And in God's kind mercy, He violently tore it from me in December 2014. Oh how I identify with Eustace from 'The Chronicles of Narnia.' I couldn't rid myself of that dragon skin. Yet, God did it for me.
"The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. . . ."
And when the dragon skin comes off, God's voice returns. There is nothing better. Nothing.
Fast forward to January of 2016. As a result of not keeping a close watch on my life, I was dismissed from a ministry that our family, with the help of many, began in 2009. And yet, God had me again - ALL of me. A door was closed. Out of necessity, it was time to search for a job - one that could accommodate this new reality of a diminished body. That door turned out to be - Uber. A job I could do while sitting, and one that allowed me flexibility when I needed to rest. It was something I could do, and I was grateful to provide in some measure for my family.
I began driving for Uber in April of 2016. And what started out as simply a job, very quickly turned into ministry. My car became my counseling office - my “church on wheels” going to the people where they work, live, and play. I found myself having daily conversations with unbelievers in a way, and at a rate, I have never experienced in the previous 25 years of ministry. Individuals from every walk of life – tech workers, business owners, doctors, lawyers, scientists, consultants, burlesque dancers, bar-tenders, tattoo artists, gay couples, straight couples, drag queens, artists, millennials, and club-owners.
I now find myself sharing the gospel almost daily – often multiple times throughout a day. The question of God is something people actually think about. A LOT. And I have inadvertently created a space (God created the space), where people feel safe to ask questions & express doubts, talk about their disappointments, bad experience, & problems with the notion of God. And in particular the God of the Bible. The opportunities for gospel conversations are numerous.
I now keep a library of books in my trunk. There are occasion I hand out resources for those hungry to investigate the person of Jesus, the good news of the gospel, or wrestle with their objections to Christianity. I also carry two types of business cards as a way for individuals to continue the journey of considering:
- Business cards with my contact information. If individuals want to get together for another conversation, I will make myself available. Again, I will go to them.
- Business cards for local churches in the neighborhoods where a person is doing life. I have encourageda number of churches in Seattle, that love Jesus & preach the gospel, to make these resources available. First, for their church family, & secondly, for the uber-pastor to have on hand. Jesus loves the church - and we ought to love what He loves. We are in this together.
I have others objectives I'd like to see happen through this ministry. As additions to the ministry happen, I will delight to communicate what God is doing. There is no shortage of ideas, but for now I am doing as much as I am able, as well as what I feel God has asked of me. God seems to be using this odd ministry. It is good to be useful.
I don’t know where the Lord will ultimately take this work, but I want people to hear about our kind Savior. It is EVERYTHING. And it will only happen through us – salt & light scattered amidst the darkness, willing to speak.
Simply put, The Aim of the Uberministry is three-fold:
- Share the gospel with a city in desperate in need of a Savior. And in so doing, provoke others created in the image of God to consider Jesus.
- Encourage the church to walk in courage for the sake of the gospel. This occurs primarily though the sharing of stories from the road on social-media.
- Equip the church in carrying out our mission of making disciples of Jesus. Life is short. Eternity is forever. Today we must grow in our ability to thoughtfully engage questions, doubts, issues that the unbeliever has about God, Jesus, & the Bible. This occurs through social-media, preaching & teaching opportunities, along with recommending good gospel/apologetic resources.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" (Rom. 10:14-15 ESV)