I’ve joined Jeff Goins’: “Blog Like a Pro (BLP) Challenge,” and the first thing we need to write about is our Manifesto.
Granted, I’ve never really desired to write a Manifesto before. He defines it as “…a short, shareable document that makes an argument, that tells the world what you’re about.” It draws a “line in the sand, which forces you to clarify your message.”
Well, clarity and focus are a good thing.
When I was in Seminary, I had a professor that had us define ourselves by the roles we play. It was an self-reflection exercise. While I balked it, I now find great value in it. I find great value in being a Husband, a Father, and a Christian minister. These are three of the greatest things that I care about.
The BLP Challenge gives us three questions to think about, as we craft our Manifesto:
- What’s the problem?
- What’s the solution?
- What’s the next step?
I like those questions. I can’t help but look at them through the eyes of who I am; the roles that I play.
What is the problem?
I think that the problem is us being, or not being, who we were created to be.
Yes, there are a lot of assumptions in that. There are assumptions in every stance, argument, and idea that we have. I hope that I’m fairly aware of my assumptions. Still, given the inherent issues with them; I still hold them. I hold to the idea that there is a God. I hold to the idea that God has a preferred future, including for my life…my being. That I am created with purpose and intentionality. That I am in process, hopefully moving forward and not backwards.
That process of me becoming includes a few things.
For instance, when we were pregnant with our first son, I was given some great advice. An elderly gentleman in our church named Bob called me over and said, “Preacher…you want to know what that baby boy is going to need from you the most?!”
Look, Bob had been married for over 60 years to his wife and raised three beautiful and successful children. I figured he knew something.
I nodded my head, and said, “Sure Bob. What will my son need from me the most.”
Bob answered, “He’s going to need a daddy that loves his momma.”
I’ve never forgotten that. It matches up with what the Bible tells me to do; to love my wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. That I’m supposed to live sacrificially for my wife. That I’m supposed to honor her above all else. My kids aren’t my priority; their mother is my priority. It is part of my being.
I’m also a daddy, and their ain’t nothin’ better! I can’t begin to describe what it means for me to hold my children in my arms. I can’t begin to describe how much it hurts to be separated from my family during my deployment. I knew, the moment that I held each of them in my arms, that things had irrevocably changed. It was a good thing, no a great thing! I want to be the best dad that I can. It is part of my being.
Finally, I’m a minister…a USAF Chaplain to be exact. I used to be a pastor. I was a youth minister for a while, and even lead music in a church for a couple of years. But, being a USAF Chaplain is something that fits me like a glove. I get to teach and preach, just like a pastor. But, I also get more of an opportunity to care for others outside of my Chapel congregation. I get to care for people, completely and utterly where they are. No condemnation, just listening and caring for them. It fits into who I am, in a very fulfilling way. The best part about it is that I get to help people in the areas that I care so much about. I get to help them in figuring out what it means to be a better spouse. I get to help them in figuring out what it means for them to be better parents. I get to help them in figuring out what it is for them to be who God created them to be.
I love it.
What’s the Solution?
I think Discipleship is. I think following the Way of Jesus is. I think that living that life in front of others is a beautiful thing. I know that when I’m living in such a way that I prioritize following Christ, what the world sees is a guy that really loves his wife. What the world sees is a father that deeply cares for his children. What the world sees is a Chaplain that is known for caring for his Airmen. I don’t have to tell them that my overriding priority is Christ. They can see it in how I treat others.
Granted, it’s a lot easier to say than to do. My selfishness gets in the way. My desire for comfort, for power, for influence…all makes me less of who I am supposed to be.
But, perhaps there is some value in the struggle. Perhaps there is value in transparency. Perhaps, there is value in letting people see how we try so hard, some times fail, and yet get back up again.
If so, then that leads me to the last question
What is the next step?
For now, the next step is blogging. I have an opportunity to put a little time into it. Perhaps the words that are typed upon this digital medium will encourage someone to do differently, to try a little bit harder, to look a little bit deeper.
As I continue in my USAF career, I can be more intentional in discipleship. I have a few tools in the tool box in regards to mentoring. I can offer it as a part of my services to my Airmen. I can teach Lunch and Learns on the subjects. Most of all, I have the unique opportunity to get out on the flight-line, in the hangars, in the offices of the Airmen.
This is something that most ministers will never get.
I can live among the men and women of the USAF, and just mirror the way of Christ.
So, that is it. This can be my Manifesto. I desire to reflect Jesus back onto the world. I want to mirror Christ, so that others can see.
I’ll use this opportunity to write my experiences of living among people; while I try to mirror the way of Jesus.
Perhaps you’ll join me? Perhaps, you’ll do your own walk and mirroring along the way.
“Hope is our weapon against the darkness.”