The Week Behind and the Week Ahead

The adventures of living in Boston, of being a family of three, and of life in campus ministry (an alternative lifestyle to our dominant culture for sure) continue!

Over the past week we’ve been in a mild (to extreme) state of panic regarding our housing situation. Turns out looking for housing with a 9 month old child is a lot more challenging than we anticipated. Add to that an inflated and competitive rental market and we’ve come up empty so far.

Thank the Lord for understanding landlords. They’ve modeled grace to us and given us more time to sort it all out.

In the meanwhile we head in to two weeks of “vacation”. I use quotes because while this trip will be a break from the norm, a break from the heat, and will involve some sweet time with family, it will also include fundraising, recruiting, spring break reconnaissance, and speaking.

And it will involve traveling back and forth across the country separately. I just said goodbye to the girls as I am about to get on a plane and fly to Portland for this. I am looking forward to spending time with the great Ryan McRae and hopefully being inspired and challenged. But, knowing that Amy gets on another plane tomorrow, just her and Marina, and I can’t be there to help them…well, that’s less exciting to me.

I am confident the next two weeks will be great, and I feel much more ready to enter into it knowing some of our housing questions are behind us.

Sometimes I lament the instability that being a missionary brings on my family, but one thing I know for certain: it is never a boring ride!


Last week I had the opportunity to sit in what essentially amounts to a living room with 47 other leaders and Rob Bell. And for two full days (9 am to 9 pm) we talked about leadership, creativity, spiral dynamics, how to handle criticism, exegesis, raising kids, the eucharist, and surfing (along with various other topics). It was all over the place, but completely awesome.

I really appreciated the way Rob ended our time: he served us all communion. He talked about how the word eucharist can mean “good gift.” That Jesus’ body, broken and poured out, is God’s good gift to us. As leaders we almost always are serving other people (sometimes literally serving others the eucharist), and that we need to be put back together and poured back into. And that is what those two days were all about.

I needed that.

There are a million other things to say about this time (I have over 20 pages of notes), but I’ll leave you with these three:

  1. I appreciate Rob because he doesn’t hold back. It’s immensely clear that he throws himself completely into whatever it is that grabs him…whether that’s searching for the perfect taco or preparing for a talk, he goes all out.
  2. I appreciate Rob because he knows the ups and downs of pastoral leadership. He has many metaphors to describe it too (i.e. pastors are not “ecclesiastical punching bags”)! He gets it and he wants to pastor pastors through the ups and downs as much as possible.
  3. I appreciate Rob because he walks the line between humility and confidence with a great deal of grace. He’s a totally normal dude. He makes his kids breakfast everyday and drives them to school. He remembered someone at the conference because of a conversation they had after a tour stop in 2008. He also was named one of TIME’s 100 most important people in 2011. He’s very down-to-earth, but he knows he has a voice and he is confident in what he has to say.

I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of this experience…it was life giving and timely. Good for my soul!

Conferences and Coming Home

Things I dislike about conferences:

  • People that brag about all the great things they’ve done
  • People who don’t ask questions
  • Activities organized by extroverts that make everyone talk
  • Listening to bad presentations
  • Being away from home

Things I like about conferences:

  • Space to dream
  • Interaction with ideas
  • Creativity and thinking
  • Listening to great presentations
  • Coming home and seeing Amy after being gone for 3 days!