It was 5 years ago today that I packed up my office at the church and moved it into my basement. For months I had the nagging feeling that my ministry at the church where I’d served for 5 years was drawing to a close, and despite attempts on both sides to find a different role for me to serve in, it was time to part ways. I didn’t have a clear plan for the future. Just a vague sense that I was to continue ministering in the way in which I was gifted. I started seeking out pastoral positions and applying, but there was never a good fit. What I did have was a shiny new album and a handful of churches who wanted to host a concert, so I started travelling and singing. There was never a long term plan. Touring was a way to keep busy and keep ministering and some funds coming in to support our family. I didn’t think it would last 6 months. I never thought it would last for 5 years. The 5 years I spent ministering at the church was the longest time I’d ever done anything besides school. I know it probably seems silly to celebrate something so small, but it feels like a big thing to me.
It’s been an incredible experience. 5 years, 3 albums, 5 provinces, thousands of miles, hundreds of concerts, thousands of new friends. And so very many opportunities to see God’s faithfulness and provision. I’ve had so many rich experiences, met so many interesting people and seen a lot of pretty country.
Most of all, it’s been such a blessing to totally devote myself to songwriting, and to trying to communicate old truths to new people.
It hasn’t been easy. We’ve made a lot of sacrifices. Mostly financial, some personal. My wife and kids have had to learn how to let me go, and how to let me back into life at home again. I’ve spent hours and hours by myself. There have been long stretches with no concerts, no income, and little hope for the future, but all through it, even in the worst times I’ve had a sense that there were hands bigger than mine carrying this along. I’ve learned to let go and just trust that things were going to be alright. And somehow they always are. Every time I thought we were through, the phone would ring and there’d be an offer of a new partnership or a concert, and we’d carry on again.
Tomorrow is a significant day for me. Tomorrow, I’ll have been a full time musician one day longer than I’ve done anything else in my life. I’m so grateful. Many of the people who were doing music when I started have had to take on other work and do it part time. So I realize that every day I get to do this is a gift I’ve been given, and I’ve tried to approach my work with a sense of gratitude, rather than entitlement.
So with that in mind, I’d like to offer a word of thanks. To God, for giving me this opportunity, who has called and sustained me, and kept the car between the lines and kept me company along the many miles. To Ruth and the kids who’ve sacrificed so much so I could pursue this work. To the close friends who’d journeyed with me, worried with me, and prayed for me along the way. To organizations, like World Serve Ministries, Voice of the Martyrs, and Incarnation Ministries who’ve made tangible significant investments into my work, to help me continue. To the pastors and churches who’ve hosted and affirmed my ministry in so many ways. To the critics and the naysayers who’ve forced me to sharpen myself. To the many, many people who’ve bought albums, come to shows, funded albums, sent warm words of encouragement, and most of all who’ve received my songs.
So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the part you’ve played in encouraging and sustaining this work for another day.