Hey there friend. How are you today?
I’ve gotten a few questions lately about my “story”…
Specifically about what was life like when I was in full-time youth ministry, and why did I eventually stop?
I’ll try my best to keep things short… but here goes nothing!
So as you might know already, I spent just over 17 years in full-time youth ministry.
And I have a bit of an “unusual” path to how I even got there…
Because I did it without having a college degree or any sort of formal training.
You see, I had to drop out of college and head back to Big Spring to help my parents with the family business when things got tough (this was back in 1985)…
And it was actually when I came back home that I met my wife Michelle.
Now, she was adopted – so this is where our shared passion for youth ministry came from.
We wanted to go out and help children who were left all alone like she was…
And we realized that giving lost kiddos a home to grow up in was the mission we were being called to.
So from there that’s exactly what we did!
At the start, it was difficult to find work because I didn’t have a college degree…
But eventually I landed my first full-time job at a children’s home, where we became house parents for 7 boys aged 7 and up.
They would show up at our doorstep with all their possessions in a single brown paper bag and it was up to us to provide for them.
Now, it was tough work for sure.
But knowing this was our calling and understanding that this was the best use of the gifts God had given me…
We continued on for 17 straight years, moving around to a few different homes in Texas and Arizona.
So, why did we decide to step out of youth ministry after all those years?
Well, two reasons:
First is it was during those final few years that my wife was diagnosed with MS.
She started having days where she’d wake up numb from the chest down..
Days where she was unable to get out of bed and walk around…
So trying to run a children’s home when you don’t even have the ability to take care of yourself just isn’t possible.
Plus, if you’re familiar with MS you’ll know that the weather has a huge impact on that person’s day-to-day health…
And the scorching heat of west Texas was making things way worse than they needed to be.
Now the second reason is that it started to take a toll on me too.
I believe that God gifted me strength and leadership specifically so I could do this kind of work…
But I am still just a man, and hearing all the stories of evil these children endured always left me feeling heartbroken.
And as much as I loved helping and providing for these lost kiddos who’d show up on our doorstep…
My own health started taking a turn for the worst too.
I started having stress headaches every morning when I woke up…
My blood pressure was through the roof and I started getting stomach ulcers…
And every day I wondered how much longer I could really continue like this.
So not only were we pushing ourselves past our limits…
But you have to remember that we had our own growing daughter to think of on top of all of this too!
And that was what I think pushed us to finally making the tough decision to step aside from youth ministry, at least for a little while.
This way we could take a rest and try to regain our own health as much as we could…
But more importantly to finally take some time to focus on our own family and make sure our daughter was provided with everything she needs.
Now obviously I didn’t want to abandon ministry altogether, I just needed a new way to do it.
…and this pretty much brings us to where we are now!
In fact, I like to make a joke that I started my Digital Tentmaking business so that I could work for free!
Because I wanted to give me and my wife the ability to travel and serve where the weather was best for her health..
And the only way to do that is if I wasn’t tied down to one place or having to depend on a paycheck in return for my work.
So I think that more or less covers it!
If you’ve ever wondered what my “story” was, now you know 🙂
But now I’d like to hear your story too!
What brought you to where you are now, and what does Digital Tentmaking help you accomplish?
Just click “reply” and let me know.
P.S. If you have a similar story and think that Digital Tentmaking could bless you and your family’s life the way it’s blessed mine..
Here’s the link where you can go to learn more. You’re more than welcome to let me know if you have any questions.