“If there is no risk in your life, you’re probably not living in faith.”-Barry Odom-
A few weeks ago, Barry Odom, a ministry friend and co-laborer, shared this quote when he spoke at Perimeter Pointe. It resonated with me and so many others listening that day. My wife Tina described it as “truth suspended over this next season of ministry and life for our family and for Perimeter Pointe.” I couldn’t agree more!
In some ways, I see my life as a series of risks and rewards. Some risks calculated better than others. All taken in hopes of a life lived on mission and that pleases God. Tina and I moved to Atlanta 20 years ago with a group of enthusiastic, committed believers to plant a church. We have been a part of two other church plants since then, and countless ministry opportunities we were humbled to be involved with.
In Genesis 12:1, God challenges Abraham to “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” It is a call to risk. A call to leave the familiar. A call to step into a void with which, if you have followed Christ even just a short time, you are familiar. It is a clear picture of risk and faith that has stayed with me through every life transition. This passage has become a “life-verse” for me every time I reach a fork in the road and must rely on God’s guidance.
Tina and I reached a fork a few months ago. When we planted Perimeter Pointe Church, we didn’t know what to expect, other than God’s faithfulness. He has shown Himself so strong in so many ways over the last couple of years. He has assembled a core group of people committed to His mission in the Perimeter area, and we were excited to help extend His Kingdom there.
Many of you know our son, Myles has autism, which has presented many challenges – emotional, financial, social while at the same time provided unique rewards for which we are grateful. We will most likely be responsible for our son the rest of his life, and the older he got, the more we adamantly sought God for the configuration that would set him up for the best life possible. Dhati Lewis, who pastors Blueprint Church and founded the Rebuild Network, which focuses on training and resourcing church planters in urban areas, approached me with an opportunity we believe, not only positions us to provide the best life for Myles, but also puts me dead-center of my gifts and life mission. This opportunity; this fork in the road was one I considered prayerfully before stepping forward because it is across the country in San Diego, CA.
Tina asked me a few years ago what would be my ideal job. I told her training church planters and leaders. The opportunity Dhati presented literally sounded like everything I wrote in my journal years ago. It seemed to good to be true, and there was one hitch. We’d have to leave Atlanta! In 20 years, God has given us friends that feel like family. So many people stood with us, prayed for us, and loved on us during the most difficult times. We have relationships that have endured over time, and it’s hard to leave those people behind.
In addition to the relational ties, we knew God wanted to do something remarkable at Perimeter Pointe, and as much as we wanted to be part of it, our path was taking us across the country. We prayed that God would send the right leader for this church, for these people, and He has.
I met Will Kratt about a little over a year ago, and was struck by his shepherd’s heart. There’s a lot to be impressed about with Will. He has a PhD in higher education, a seminary master’s degree, and has served in church leadership and on staffs for years. But what impressed me most was his commitment to his family and his passion for discipleship. And one of the things I think qualifies him most, is his humility. He brings with him a core team of people excited about the Perimeter Pointe family and the mission we’ve been charged with. He, his wife Doris, and their three boys have already been a blessing to Perimeter Pointe, and we look forward to seeing all that God does through them in this next ministry assignment for their family. We will be officially installing him this Sunday, August 23, as the Lead Pastor of Perimeter Pointe Church.
As for the Dulas, we are preparing for a move that holds so much promise. We’ll be leaving for San Diego late-September and are doing all the things required to set up our new life there – finding a home, investigating schools for Myles, identifying new therapist and doctors. In addition to the ministry opportunity, we have found so much benefit for him out there. Many of the autism services Tina has been raising money to pay for over the last decade, are free in California. The programs they are creating for adults with autism lay out a possible path for Myles’ adulthood that excites and encourages us.
This journey; this fork, like so many others, is without a doubt risky. But that is an inherent part of faith, and if the truth be told, God has never failed us! There are so many people we will miss in Atlanta, but we will stay in touch. Our hearts are connected by eternity. And for all God has done that is behind us, and what lies ahead, we are immeasurably grateful.