I wore the same blue shirt today that I did on Thursday. It says “Hail to the Unknown.” Most people probably didn’t notice, but it was absolutely intentional because these were very important meetings.1 It was at these two meetings that we announced the same thing that I’m sharing with you all right now. As of July 1, 2012, I will no longer work for National Community Church.
About two years ago, I turned 25. This was a milestone for me beyond being able to rent cheaper cars. See, when I was 15, I was preaching at a youth rally and after I had finished and taken my seat, the woman running the show got up on the mic and was very gracious. She raved about the job I had just done and made a bold statement, “Ya’ll don’t know this, but that young man is only 15 years old. Imagine what he’s going to be doing in 20 years.” Her husband piped up in the front row, “20 years? 10! When he’s 25!” Something about that resonated deeply with me that night. I thought about it often throughout college. Off in the distance was this year when I would be 25 and perhaps be living up to this ideal.
Time passed and I’d mostly forgotten about it until it turned October, nearly 10 years to the day from that night. I wondered out loud on my old blog whether or not I was actually living up to that. I wanted to think that I had. I’d contributed to a book2, I’d been invited to take part in a conference, I had a pretty important role at a pretty influential church. All of those things have been amazing, but it didn’t erase this feeling I had inside.
It’s funny, when I was offered the job at NCC, I had a few friends and professors advise me not to take it. They understood what a fantastic opportunity it was to work here. And how great it would be to sit under a leader like Mark Batterson. Their argument was very simple, “It’s not what you’re good at.”
Of course, compared to some other churches the work that I do looks great. That isn’t exactly saying a ton, though. The Church is not known for it’s media prowess.3 The simple truth of the matter is that as much as I’ve progressed, I was never going to be Barton Damer. It’s just not in me. I was reaching my ceiling. This past October at Catalyst, Jim Collins summed it all up for me in one sentence. “I used to think I was good at math until I went to college and met people who were genetically gifted at math.” I’m good at all this media stuff. But I’m not genetically gifted at it. I never will be.
The time I’ve spent at NCC has been fantastic and I’ve been truly blessed to be here. The leadership and life lessons I’ve learned here have been and will be invaluable. I’m also leaving DC with a wife, so that’s pretty cool. I don’t regret a second that I’ve been here. I’m at a place where I need to take the next step. I’ve been called to preach and it’s time I started doing it.
From now until July 1, it’s on like Donkey Kong. There’s a lot to do. We’ve got a new website to launch. KP and I are scheming to blow your minds at a Catacombs event. I’m squeezing as much awesome into the next four months as humanly possible. We’re going out with a bang. Making the most of every opportunity because the days are few.4 We’ll party on out of this place.
And if anyone’s looking for a teaching pastor or young adult pastor, holla at me.
Little things matter. I’m a firm believer in this. ↩︎
Props to everyone out there who’s doing stuff that smashes my own. You are all inspirations and are awesome. ↩︎
At our staff “Pray & Play” John Hasler handed me a note with this verse on it. I’ve kept it in mind ever since. ↩︎