A Call to Pastor
During my undergraduate studies, while at the University of Washington, the Lord placed a specific call on my life. No, it wasn't to represent Him in the NFL as an under-skilled defensive back. He had a bigger dream. He asked me to preach His Word & care for His flock. His voice came to me in a low whisper, audible to my heart. I did not want it, but I could not shake it. I felt like the prophet, Jeremiah, who plainly said he didn't want to speak for God, but he grew weary from holding it in. I felt the same conflict, the same burden. After completing my studies at University, I launched into Seminary, where I eventually earned my M.Div. While all this was taking place, I began serving at a church close to home. I had the privelege of serving in this church for over 18 years in various roles. I then had the chance to plant a church in another part of town in March of 2009. I, of course, never did any of this alone. In fact, the Lord knew I could not, and provided the perfect friend to join me in all the trials, sacrifices, and joys of ministry. Julie and I have served together in ministry for our entire marriage. I believe marriage ought to increase ministry effectiveness for the Christian couple. So many of my short-comings have been mercifully overcome through the bride the Lord has blessed me to share & create a life with.
An Unexpected Mercy
In May of 2014, things began to change with my physical health. My normal 3-mile run, faultered to a 1 mile walk. Breathing became a challenge. Muscles throughout my body began forsaking me. Everyday activities quickly went by the wayside, to the point it was difficult even to dress myself. I had become a stranger in my own body. By December 2014, life had been reduced to simply surviving. This led our family on a 3-year medical journey that has been costly, comprehensive, exhausting, & perhaps worst of all, isolating. Without a firm diagnosis, doctors today have determined I live with an auto-immune disorder of some form. But regardless the condition, our family has had adapted to a new normal of husband & dad, doing life with a battery that simply will not charge.
This journey has been severely crushing & strangely wonderful at the same time.
- Crushing in that there has been the loss of so very much.
- Wonderful in that God has done remarkable soul-work within me.
I needed to hear God’s voice again. Regardless of God’s sovereign purposes in 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 at the end of a difficult day. Church-planting is not for the faint of heart, and when one gets too busy to cultivate their own soul, it will always lead to their undoing. For some, alcohol is something 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. I could not 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.
A Door Opens
Fast forward to January of 2016. As a result of not keeping a close watch on my life, I was dismissed from ministry. 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 did not require the mental labor of long hours of sermon preparation or of leading a small organization. It was something I could do, and I was thankful to provide financially 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 had never experienced in the last 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 many times throughout the day. The question of God is something people actually think about. A LOT. I have inadvertently created a space (God created the space), where people feel safe to ask questions, express doubts, talk about disappointments & bad experience with church, & almost always their problems with the notion of God - at least how He is described in the Bible. The opportunities for gospel conversations are numerous.
A Ministry is Born
I now keep a library of books in my trunk. There are occasions when I hand out resources to 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 & I will go to them.
- Business cards for local churches where people live. There are a number of kind churches in Seattle, that love Jesus & preach the gospel. These are the families to come alongside those willing to investigate Jesus & the new life He offers.
I have other objectives I'd like to see develop through this ministry. As additions to the ministry happen, I will delight to communicate what God is doing.
I don’t know where the Lord will ultimately take this work, but I want people to hear about a kind Savior. It is EVERYTHING in the end. And it is supposed to happen through us – lights scattered amidst a great 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 - calling any & all to consider Jesus. If willing to investigate further, then connecting them to a local church family near their home.
- 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 to walk in this spirit of Courage. As ambassadors for Jesus, we ought to always seek to grow in skill, courage, & kindness. Equipping occurs through social-media, preaching & teaching.
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)