A lot has happened in the last ten years, but not like I expected. This was supposed to be the decade (37-47) during which I came into my prime. At least that’s what I thought was supposed to happen; you know…as a pastor, I would finally find myself leading a large, thriving church known far-and-wide for innovation, creativity and significant impact. My reputation as a leader and teacher would finally open doors of influence on a national level. This was the season for me to write a best-selling book about the challenges of life and ministry. Younger brothers and sisters in Christ would turn to me for advice and encouragement. Older saints would welcome me into their esteemed company as a peer; a journeyman who has paid his dues.

My family would be the prime beneficiaries of this newfound success. There would be financial security, minimal stress and a multitude of opportunities to enjoy time together enjoying the fruit of our labor.

All this before I turned 45…

That was the plan. This is the reality:

I’m 47 and after resigning from one church, getting fired by the next, starting a third and watching it fold, I’m now leading a small struggling community. They are wonderful people, but half the time I’m worried that we won’t last another month. And speaking of half…my income from this job is half of what I need to survive. I have another job that I began in an attempt to make ends meet. So far that job has cost me more than thirty thousand dollars and I’ve yet to earn a paycheck.

People my age are supposed to be hitting their stride; financially, career-wise and in every other meaningful way.

Me. I’m limping.

Thankfully, my family is strong. But we’re not without our struggles. Four of the five members in my family have had to deal with life-altering health issues. My wife teaches school because its clearly her gift, but also because if she doesn’t we don’t survive. That’s a heavy load on her strong-but-slender shoulders. We’re tired. And the fatigue takes its toll on our relationships. But what concerns me more than this is the wounds they’ve sustained as pastor’s kids and pastor’s wife. We all wrestle regularly with bitterness, cynicism and ambivilence about church itself.

Ok…so…things have not gone according to plan.

But I’ve recently discovered, in the midst of my pain and disappointment, a most surprising thing.

I am alive.

No, not just a pulse and brain waves; I have a life inside me that has become more real, stronger, more powerful than I thought possible.

Deeper…

I know what I know. And I know that I’m loved, broken, called, flawed, empowered, cracked, forgiven, weak, redeemed, fearful, capable, blundering, strong, arrogant, resilient and anxious.

And I know that the Father is well aware of all these things and yet, He still calls me His own.

As a kid I loved loved jumping off high places into deep water. The fear and exhilaration of hitting the water at a high speed and then sinking deeper and deeper made my heart race. But the best part came when my feet hit bottom; the solid ground under me gave me something to push against and propel me back to the surface.

I couldn’t wait to catch my breath and do it again.

It feels like I’ve been sinking for a while, but at 47, my feet have touched the bottom and I find it solid. I find HIM solid. I find the truth and power of the Gospel, of the Kingdom of Heaven…solid.

So I push off, catch my breath,(I’m still such a kid!) and look for a higher cliff and…

deeper water.


I’m 45 years old. I hold a masters degree in theology, and there are some (not many…but some) people who would consider me a success in my chosen career. For over 20 years I’ve been a professional religious person; a vendor of spiritual goods and services if you will. They call me “pastor” and mostly I like the way that sounds. I’ve conducted numerous weddings and funerals, and usually those in attendance love my performance. I’m kind, tender, insightful, sincere and funny; not so funny at the funerals though.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve counseled. Suicidal teenage girls, couples in crisis, terminally ill patients and parents alike have come to me for advice and wisdom. As far as I can tell, I’ve been pretty helpful.

I preach too; lots and lots of messages filled with witty stories and down-to-earth points that can be easily applied to everyday life. Many times I’ve been told (mostly by old women) that I’ve got a real “gift.” Several times I even got to be the “guest speaker” at camps and weekend retreats. These gigs were really cool; I could talk longer, tell more stories and because the people couldn’t go home right after the sermon, but had to stay at the camp, they said even more nice stuff about my preaching. And sometimes they’d ask me for some counseling too.

So basically I feel pretty accomplished in my own mind and its important for me to feel this way because the friends I grew up with are all very successful. Greg is an executive for a car company, Jeff is the CEO of a huge insurance agency, Chris was a professional football player, Jana is a recording artist, Paul has a PhD, so does Ralph and of course my dad’s a doctor so you can see why being successful is such a big deal.

A few years ago I decided to plant a church; it was my second one. The first was a smashing success; in only three years we had over 500 people coming! And to hear people talk, that’s what mattered most; you know…numbers. So, being a “successful” church-planter, I thought I’d try it again. The plan was simple: get a part-time job to supplement my income until people started coming by the 100’s to hear me preach and get some counseling. Then I could go full-time and continue my winning streak. I got a part-time job as a “Transportation Specialist.” That’s code for “school bus driver.” Now I wasn’t a regular driver, but a substitute. I did that mostly because it allowed me the freedom to do the preaching and counseling stuff.

This was way harder than I thought. It took a lot out of me to get up at 4:45 every morning and wait for a call to drive. When it came, I filled the bus with diesel and me with caffeine and headed down the road. Now don’t get me wrong, driving one of these bad boys is no simple feat. This job is a multi-tasker’s dream; reading route directions, managing upwards of 60 kids high on pop tarts and juice boxes while maneuvering a 30,000 pound rig through narrow city streets is way harder than it looks. It’s just that…well… as a trained religious practitioner I felt had so much more to offer than my driving skills!

Driving the bus was supposed to be a temporary gig. But it lasted longer than I expected. Hundreds of people didn’t come to my church. Maybe a couple dozen; and they weren’t really impressed with my teaching or counseling skills. But they liked me so they stayed. So I kept driving, but it got harder and harder. Here I was, a professional with so much success, sitting behind the wheel of a school bus!

Mostly I tried to tune out the noise the kids made. I only had to control them long enough to get them to school. Then they were the teachers’ problem. But I couldn’t tune out the noise completely; sometimes my filter failed and a message would sneak through. Some just made me laugh and helped pass the time. One day a little girl sitting right behind me appointed herself the deputy bus driver and proceeded to report on every rule violation while en route;

“Stephen won’t sit down,”

“Candace called me stupid!”

“Ashley’s picking her nose and eating it!”

But then there was the day when a kid said something that shook me to the core. I don’t think he meant anything by it, but I can’t be sure. I think he was in first grade; maybe kindergarten and he had a slight speech impediment that made it hard for him to pronounce the letter “s.” And to add insult to injury, the little miscreant couldn’t even see over the back of the seat in front of him, but judging from the impact of his comment on my self-image you would’ve thought he was a full-grown seminary professor! What he said had nothing to do with my professional abilities, but it rattled every ounce of confidence I possessed.

He called me “buttdriver!”

More than once!

“Buttdriver, can I change seats?
Buttdriver, are we almost there?
Buttdriver, I got a SpongeBob lunchbox and my mom gave me HoHo’s today cause she forgot them yesterday, but she says that next week I can’t have them on account of I have to go to the dentist. His name is Dr. Pete. Do you know Dr. Pete?
Buttdriver, you’re not as cool as our REAL driver!
Buttdriver, Samantha puked on Monday and I think there’s still some left on the seat.
Buttdriver, what’s your name?
Buttdriver, have you always been fat?
Buttdriver, can you hear me?”

Now I am a highly skilled and educated religious professional, most certainly NOT a buttdriver! But in that moment, my kindergarten passenger saw me for all that I really was; just a guy driving his school bus. He saw me as someone he hoped he could talk to about normal everyday things. He saw me as someone that might (just might) care about his simple six year-old world.

Once I got over the shock and insult, I started to wonder if the little degenerate was really a little prophet in disguise. Maybe he was sent by God to get my attention…to shake me loose from my addiction to reputation and image. Maybe he was God’s voice telling me to get over myself. Maybe he was some kind of spiritual terrorist letting me know that he had penetrated my carefully crafted world of piety and sophistication; a kind of two-legged dirty bomb with enough explosive power to destroy my arrogance and inflated sense of self-importance.

Once, when trying to explain to someone why I do what I do, I wrote this parable:

This is the story of two women; one was named “Fence-builder” and the other “Well-digger.” They lived in the same town, on the same street. Fence-builder was a strong and proud woman. Every day she went out to her fields to build and maintain her fences. Her calloused hands and broad shoulders revealed a life of dedicated work; the acreage she possessed was considerable. She felt no small amount of pride when she looked out at her fields. The fences were of the highest quality. She spared no expense; using only the best posts and wire. The gates that separated her fields from others were sturdy and secure. And with these fences, she was able to keep what was hers and keep out what was not. Her flocks rested securely inside the fences. Safe from thieves and predators they seemed to prosper; for a while anyway.

Well-digger also had herds to care for. And like Fence-builder, her hands were calloused and her shoulders broad. She too knew what it meant to work hard, but her work was different. Well-digger’s herds were strong, healthy and prosperous. There seemed never a shortage of young ones scampering about under foot. More often than not, it was crowded around the wells that Well-digger built. To the untrained eye, it probably looked chaotic and poorly planned. But she knew what she was doing. She had a keen eye for the needs of her flock and as soon as it seemed like there were too many mouths to fill at one well, she would simply move a little further away and dig a new well. Predictably, a small portion of the herd would come to check out the new source of water (usually the younger ones!) And there, finding room to stretch their legs, they would stay. Soon the numbers at the new well would grow. And from time to time, stray animals from other herds would wander to the wells. There was always enough water to go around. Sometimes the strays would regain their strength at the wells and return, refreshed to their herds. Sometimes they would stay at the well.

Both women carried on for some time; each devoted to her career. Each concerned about their herds. But soon Fence-builder began to notice that her herd was looking less and less healthy. They seemed weary and distressed. They struggled with more illness than usual. And their growth seemed stunted. She did all she could hauling feed and water several times a day; she tried as best she could to fill the rusting and leaky troughs in the corner of the field. But there never seemed to be enough. And in the stress of trying to provide for this struggling herd, Fence-builder herself began to mirror the same maladies as her herd.

One evening, in a moment of exasperation, she knocked on Well-digger’s door. “Come in friend,” said Well-digger. The two sat down at the kitchen table and before Fence-builder could say a word, Well-digger handed her a large cup filled to the brim with crystal clear, cold water. Fence-builder took a polite sip and found the water to be more refreshing than she thought water could be. She suddenly realized that she had worked hard all day and had not so much as touched a drop of water. Her thirst was overwhelming, and forgetting for the moment why she had come, Fence-builder drank the entire cup in one gulp. Water poured down her throat, out the sides of her mouth and down her sweat-stained shirt. Finished, she looked up sheepishly from the empty cup and saw Well-digger smiling. “How can I help you my friend?” Fence-builder took a deep breath and proceeded to share her concerns. “Your herd seems so happy and healthy. Mine is troubled. They are weak, and injured. They don’t produce like yours. I care about them. I just don’t know what to do.” Well-digger thought for a long time about how to respond. Incidentally, the silence gave Fence-builder a chance to refill and drain her cup again with that clear, cold water!

Well-digger finally spoke: I used to be a Fence-builder like you, but I got tired of spending so much time keeping what was mine and keeping out what’s not. I learned that fences are more a means of control than care; you can capture a herd with a fence, but they will always try to escape. And usually they’ll hurt themselves in the process. Herds were not made to be controlled like that. Then one day I discovered an old well in a distant corner of my property. It took a lot of work at first, but I cleared away the growth and debris that had covered the opening and I dug just a bit deeper and found that it was connected with a deep and constant source of water. Before I could even finish the process, the herd had wandered up and began to drink. They were so thirsty, and I was so tired from the digging, that I forgot about building more fences. I realized that what the herd needed (and wanted) most was to satisfy their thirst. And you can’t drink from a fence. From that day forward, I decided that the best way to use what God has given me was to spend my life digging wells. The work is hard, just like yours, but the results are more consistent. And besides, I always have a source of fresh water for myself!

Fence-builder pondered this for a long time. She wrestled with the implications of Well-digger’s advice; it meant nothing short of a career change. She had spent her life learning how to build great fences; she read fence-building books, went to fence-building conferences, listened to fence-building music, put fence-building stickers on her wheel-barrel, wore fence-building t-shirts to work, and even graduated from a fence-building college! To leave all this behind was frightening…to say the least. She didn’t say much more that night.

Fence-builder thanked Well-digger for the water (she drank 2 cups more before she left!) and went home. Slowly, over the next several days and weeks the wisdom of her neighbor’s words began to sink in. Fence-builder worried less about the fences and began to spend her time digging wells. The work was hard and uncomfortable at first, but as soon as the water began to flow, her herd began to thrive. In time, the fences fell into disrepair, their gates hung open and crooked on their hinges, but the herds were thriving, full of life and so not thirsty!

I DREAM OF A CHURCH…

Defined by relationships, not an address

Led by shepherds, managed by leaders

Where the Christian life is understood to be a journey

Where worship is genuine, unfettered and communal

Where new congregations are birthed before buildings are ever considered

Where spiritual conversations are as common as talk about the weather

Where we pray more than we talk about prayer

Where we expect the supernatural to happen because we actually believe God is in our midst

Where the people have a reputation for being flaming liberals; liberal with their time, their resources, their talents and their love

That attracts more Kingdom investors than Christian consumers

Where humility is the vibe

That is winsome and attractive to those who don’t yet know Jesus not so much because of what’s happening up front, but because of who’s sitting beside them

Where the timeless truths of Scripture are not held hostage to traditions and preferences

Where women are cherished, respected and have the full freedom to serve and lead in the manner God intended

That understands and embraces the uniqueness of every generation

Where the failure to multiply ministry is socially unacceptable

Where artistry, creativity and curiosity are deliberately encouraged and not limited in their expression to a stage

Where the true “seekers” are the members; seeking to love their friends and neighbors into the Kingdom…just like Jesus

Five years ago I was forced to wrestle with some pretty hard questions regarding full-time vocational ministry. The toughest was whether or not I was “called.” You see much of my training and almost all of my experience suggested that without a paying gig where people called me “pastor,” I must not be called to do this anymore. I bought that lie for a few months and then went back to Scripture (this time, not as a “professional”) What I learned was this: my calling to shepherd did not depend on nor guarantee a paycheck.

Like waking from a bad dream, I began to realize that my calling had nothing to do with a W2.

Scripture is pretty clear that the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit are given at His discretion and for His purposes. But while there is precedent for some of these roles to be financially underwritten by other members of the church, the gifts of say, “pastor” “teacher” or “leader,” do not come with the promise of monetary support. And when money becomes the driving motive for ministry, it costs…a lot.

John Piper minces no words;

“The professionalization of the ministry is a constant threat to the offense of the Gospel…the love of professionalism (parity among the world’s professionals) kills a man’s belief that he is sent by God to save people from hell and to make them Christ-exalting spiritual aliens in the world.”

Because it takes so long to “become” a pastor, (in the vocational sense, though not necessarily in the “gifting” sense) we’ve adopted the mentality that full-time ministry means a full-time paycheck. For many, that is still true; but not for all.

Our world today is justifiably suspicious of “organized religion.” Buildings, budgets, programs and personnel can easily become the consuming issues for many churches. Consequently these become the issues that consume most of the time of those in professional ministry. But for all our efforts, we’re losing ground. Len Hjalmarson notes that since 1991 the population of the United States has grown 15%. During that same time the number of adults who do not attend church has grown from 38 million to 75 million; a 92% increase.

Maybe there’s a better way through this wilderness.

What I’m learning is that effective ministry in this wilderness requires new skills and new thinking and in many cases might not equate with a full-time job. And while that may sound like the end of a career, embracing this reality could very well be the beginning of fulfilling a true calling.

The word, “amateur” derives from the same Latin word “amour” or love. It describes a person who does something out of love and no other motive. Amateur athletes compete for the love of the game. Amateur musicians play for the love of music. Amateur golfers…well I’m not sure why they try, but the point is, if you say you are called to ministry, are you willing to do it even if you don’t get paid?

The generations that are coming behind us are not looking for spiritual engineers and CEO’s, they’re looking for men and women of deep character and honest passion who are willing to come along side them in their quest for God. They’re searching for spiritual friends who can listen, encourage, pray and, maybe sometimes… teach. And you don’t necessarily need an office, staff and a budget to do these things.

Now I can already hear your objections. Believe me, I had them too! “I’ve been doing conventional ministry for 15 years. Are you telling me to give all that up?” “How am I going to pay my mortgage and feed my family?”

The answer is simple.

Get a job.

Maybe you can’t afford to give up all your ministry income, but could you cut back on some of your hours, and reduce or redirect money to some other needed area of ministry? In your spare time, drive a school bus. Work at a sporting goods store. Put on the old tool belt in your garage and swing a hammer a couple days a week.

If nothing else, it will test your motives. It’s easy to take a late night phone call from a church member in crisis when your name is on the church letterhead. It’s not so easy to take that same call when you’ve got a 5:30 a.m. start time as a bus driver. But you take the call, you sacrifice the time, because you’re called, not paid to do so. You do it for love not money.

Cairn #2: Effective leaders are guides, not vendors of spiritual goods and services.

Like Lewis and Clark, I feel like an explorer; I’m seeing and experiencing things I’ve never experienced before. Along the way, there are countless discoveries to be made, many risks to take and numerous friends to be made. Leadership in this wilderness is more about walking WITH the people God has called you to lead. I used to think that as a leader, I had to have all the answers, but I’m learning that it’s more important to love the people I’m leading and to ask the right questions.

Neither Lewis, nor Clark had answers for the people they led through the wilderness. But they were diligent leaders; disciplined in the skills necessary for survival, caring in the way they dealt with people, and zealous to accomplish their mission. I was taught that it was the job of the leader to “cast vision.” That made perfect sense to me when I was around visionary people all the time. But as important as vision is (and by that I mean the capacity to communicate in a compelling way a preferable future) I’m coming to realize that THAT vision has already been cast; it’s called the Kingdom of Heaven.

I’m discovering that my time as a leader is better spent learning, living and then teaching the people who follow me what Jesus meant by “Kingdom.” Doing so in this ministry wilderness demands a rethinking of our role in the Christian community. Until recently, the dominant template for this role has been “pastor-as-CEO;” like the leaders of large companies, we’re expected to have all the tools. We’re called on to be excellent administrators, effective planners and delegators, shrewd financial strategists, compassionate listeners and innovative teachers.

Jesus didn’t say “I am the good leader…” or, “the good vision-caster…” or, “the good strategist.”

He said, “I am the Good Shepherd,” and I think he meant something very specific by it.

Shepherds simply lead, feed and protect their flocks. And taking into account the ancient Middle Eastern context of the term, “shepherding” means spending time, being vigilant, and being patient with those you lead. Being a shepherd means being more of a guide than a general. My uncle is a third generation rancher on the Rocky Mountain Front in Northern Montana. He drives his cattle in the direction he wants them to go. Used to do this on a horse, but he’s fallen off too many times, so now he rides a four-wheeler. But the process is the same; he gets behind them and pressures them to move in the direction he determines.

I saw, in rural Turkey, a different picture; shepherds walking in front of their sheep. They moved slower, and on one level, it seemed a lot less efficient, but their “leadership” seemed a lot easier on the animals.

Wilderness leadership means assuming the role of a skillful guide. Lewis and Clark broke the conventional leadership mold of their day. They weren’t just pioneers of the American West; they were pioneers in re-imagining what leadership could be. They were effective leaders not because they knew exactly how to accomplish their mission, the journey was as much a mystery to them as the rest of the crew. And they didn’t “cast” any vision; Jefferson had already done that. The genius of their leadership was in their willingness to walk ahead of their team (Lewis did this literally for much of the journey), a willingness to care for the needs of their people; both Lewis and Clark played the roles of doctor, counselor and disciplinarian and friend. The result was a successful journey that altered the fate of an entire nation.

Doctor, counselor, disciplinarian and friend; this is a more helpful leadership template given our strange surroundings. In a sense, it’s more “shepherd-like.” Doctors bring healing. There are a lot of wounded people. This we know. Counselors are skilled at, not only listening, but at teaching others to listen. We would do well to sharpen our listening skills; especially when it comes to (as Jesus’ friend John challenged the church to do) “listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Church.” Disciplinarians keep the focus on the mission. And maybe this is the greatest risk; that we would forget that we are the “sent ones.”

The night before they began paddling up the muddy Missouri, Lewis wrote these words: “we were now about to penetrate a country at least two thousand miles in width, on which the foot of civilized man has never trodden; the good or evil it has in store for us was for experiment yet to determine, and these little vessels contained every article by which we were to expect to subsist or defend ourselves…I could but esteem this moment of my (our) departure as among the most happy of my life.”

He had spent more than two years recruiting and training a small band of men; men on whom he would depend for his very life, men without whom he could not complete the journey or accomplish his mission, men he would ultimately call his friends. And judging from the detailed notes he left behind, it was his friends that made the journey bearable…fun even.

I don’t remember when I first saw one, but I’ve seen lots. They’re easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for; little piles of rocks which serve as strategically placed markers left along the trail by previous travelers to mark the path when the path itself seems to disappear. They’re called “cairns” and you will find them in almost any alpine trail in the world. The custom dates back to the ancient middle east where the Hebrew people were told to set up markers to define boundaries (see Proverbs 22:28) or build rugged but lasting monuments to the miraculous things God did in their midst. (1Sam. 7:12) The practice has been handed down by countless generations and cultures.

We could use some cairns in ministry these days.

A lot has changed in the past 20 years. The landscape is different; global events are transforming our world, values are shifting and the language used to describe these changes is evolving by the minute. Not all of these things are good. Not all of them are bad. But it is so very different from where came, and for many of us it can feel at times like the trail has disappeared.

I think this is especially true for men and women older than 35 and who are disillusioned with conventional church. By that I mean a ministry style that is driven by what one author calls “attractional events.” It’s a style that pours an inordinate amount of time, energy and resources into events and programs designed to attract people to a place where little more is required of them than to come-sit-listen-give-and-leave.

There is a growing number of what I affectionately call “old guys” (a gender-neutral term by the way) who, given the current condition of our Christian culture, no longer see this as the only, or even the best way to accomplish our mission as the Church. These are the men and women who find themselves caught between ministry paradigms; one that says to the world, “come” and another that calls out to the church, “go.” I’m grateful for the “old guys” who’ve gone before me. Guys (again…gender-neutral) like Brian McLaren, Jim Petersen, Randy Raysbrook, Sally Morgenthaler and the like are fellow travelers in this wilderness. They’ve left dozens of cairns cleverly disguised as books and articles that have helped me navigate very unfamiliar territory. I’d like to do the same for others. I’m not nearly as smart, but I’ve been on this path for a few years now, so allow me to take my turn and pile up some rocks for you… (BTW, there will be 4 of these posts)

Cairn #1 Conventional church thinking is like gravity.

Its one thing to read a book about a changing cultural landscape and all its complexities, it’s another thing to actually do effective ministry in such a context. It’s easy to get excited about reaching the next generation with the Gospel, but doing so REALLY DOES demand a whole different set of skills as well as temperament. One reason this is so hard is because of the pervasive nature of conventional church thinking.

A couple of years ago I thought I had sold the people in my church on the idea that “the front door of our home was the front door of our church,” An unconventional, but seemingly Biblical concept; so I figured it would be a good idea if, over the summer, we took that literally and ate meals and shared the mundane details of our lives together rather than sitting in an auditorium. It bombed. Pretty much everybody felt like they weren’t “going-to-church” but simply hanging out and that wasn’t good enough. Its not that eating and sharing out lives together were bad ideas, its just that those things (in the minds of our people) were supposed to happen AFTER church.

On another occasion, rather than three points, a poem and a prayer I tried to engage our folks in simple but honest dialogue during what was supposed to be the sermon time. One couple got up, left and never came back and those that stayed were uncomfortable at best. And they all felt like I wasn’t “in the word” enough. Never mind the fact that asking questions was one of Jesus’ favorite teaching methods!

Conventional church thinking exerts a force like gravity. Those who have grown up in a typical ministry setting are used to a passive, consumer oriented environment that is, frankly, quite comfortable. Shaking free of that downward force is hard. When push comes to shove, church people (even those who profess a desire for something more) tend to be most comfortable with what they know. And they stubbornly resist any attempts to change that thinking. I wonder if that’s why, in the church planting industry, they talk about a “launch.” Sometimes it feels like you need the force of a rocket ship to separate people from the familiar practices and customs of church as we know it; like breaking free of the Earth’s gravity.

Well…I don’t have that much power…or skill…or charisma.

What I’m learning is that it really IS a Spirit thing; if He doesn’t bring about the change, if He doesn’t force people away from comfort and convenience to calling, it’s not going to happen. So pray. Pray for discernment. Pray for the wisdom to know the difference between form and function. Function is sacred; loving God and each other. Form is not; pipe organs, coffee carts, VBS and PowerPoint. And pray for courage.

Its hard to lead a community of people away from something familiar into a wilderness of new possibilities. But think for just a minute; have you ever been in a wilderness? It tends to be spectacular; filled with great danger and overwhelming beauty. The first time I saw a cairn was on a trail in Glacier National Park. Most of this park is wilderness and cannot be seen through a car windshield. Ironically, most of the people that visit never get out of their cars! What a shame.

Many of you reading this blog over the past season of my life have provided thoughtful, heartfelt and wise insight. Though I don’t mean to exclude younger leaders, I would love to hear from more of you “old guys;” you know who you are. We may not write books or speak at trendy conferences, but we’ve been out her in this wilderness for a while. We’ve learned some things…let’s pile up some rocks for those that will come behind us.

I would love to devote a section of this blog to “Cairns;” links to your blogs or other helpful sights that can serve as trail markers for others. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Shalom,
tp

p.s. thanks for your prayers regarding the hip. I’m home, healing and impatient for my recovery to be complete. Nevertheless, the surgery was a success and I’ve got a 10″ scar on my hip that looks like a shark bite. I thought about posting a picture, but isn’t there enough ugliness on the internet already?