One of the greatest challenges with our family’s adventure has been that of purpose. Why did the Sanders family move from Wisconsin? Typically people move because of a job. Committed Christian people will move to start a church or some other officially sanctioned ministry, but why did the Sanders family move? The only answer we had for this was “God told us to”.
You can imagine what kind of response an answer like that can generate. Many people were sad that we were leaving, but excited to see what God does. Others were convinced that there was some other motive. Then a ministry failed to materialize and we were financially destroyed (see “The Shipwreck”). People, ourselves included, began to question if God truly told the Sanders family to move. Christian paradigms, such as God opens doors and spreads flower pedals for the people He directs, were the number one cause for doubt.
Jenny and I continually prayed about the “why?”. We loved Tennessee’s weather and culture, but that is not a reason for a committed Christian family to move. We have always had a heart of service to God and love opportunities to encourage others in their faith. We could not comprehend why we would be asked to move to the buckle of the Bible Belt, where seemingly everyone is a Christian.
One fall day, as I was contemplating the “why”, I was reminded of a quote. The quote was, “Live a life that makes unbelievers question their lack of belief”. I decided to Google the quote to determine who said it and immediately found Kevin Shorter’s blog. I was very encouraged because he and his family were directed to do something similar. I reached out to Kevin and he was a source of great encouragement to me.
Months later I received an email from Kevin Shorter introducing a book, titled “The Extravagant Fool”, by author Kevin Adams. The book was scheduled to be released the following month. I went to the book’s website and was able to read the first chapter of the book as well as view the chapter titles. I immediately knew that I would need to reach out to the author, as his story resonated with me.
I emailed Kevin Adams and was surprised to learn that he lived a few miles away from me. He and I connected, over lunch, and have become close friends. We both share a passion for seeing the God of the Bible presented to what I call “sleeping giants” in churches. I believe there are a large number of people, in churches, who are dissatisfied with a form of godliness that lacks power. These people are designed for greatness by God and were inspired by Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” and David Platt’s “Radical”, but have failed to launch into fulfilling their purpose. Most often the failure to launch is due to the construct of Christian paradigms that present God as safe.
God’s call is anything but safe and rational, so these sleeping giants simply become more dedicated to the programs their church offers. They volunteer for everything, practically live at the church and give of themselves like never before. Help starved pastors are more than willing to put them to work and, for a time, the giant is pacified. They are not doing what the still, small voice says (that would be crazy!), but they have busied themselves enough to no longer hear the nagging voice that calls them to step out on the waters. Eventually the busyness wears the giant down and they begin to realize they need boundaries and they learn to say “no” to all of the volunteer opportunities. This leaves them, once again, vulnerable to the still small voice calling them to greatness.
In church terms a person has a “ministry” or “calling” that identifies their purpose in God’s kingdom. Our family was asked to leave Wisconsin without that identifier, however, over the last year I can see how we have been uniquely positioned, trained and equipped to awaken the sleeping giants, detailed above. The giants need to see that, while it may be scary/crazy, God has a plan for them and it is time for them to step up and embrace it. The unique gifts and passions of the sleeping giants have been cooped up in office cubicles, exhausting jobs and meaningless church routine for far too long.
Kevin Adams and I have partnered in a ministry that is focused on awakening the sleeping giants and we will be passionately pursuing that together. The lives of our families are living epistles that testify to God’s faithfulness as well as His craziness. We will see sleeping giants awakened and, as a result, see them turn their world upside down. You might say that is our ministry.