I’ve learned in my journey with God that every single time I say no to something that would interfere with what I believe God’s call in my life is, he honors that “no” with taking care of my needs. I want to share about my most recent ministry transition from GracePointe Wesleyan Church (Owosso, Michigan) into a new church planting effort.
I’ve known for a very long time that God has built me for church planting, for discipleship and for doing everything I can to have the church today live in Christ and the foundations of the early church—which we read about in the Book of Acts. Without a doubt, it is the path God wants me to be on, but being on that path is my free-will-decision to be there and it’s also under my free-will-control to stay there.
About three years ago I was invited to join a team with GracePointe that was planting a new ministry in St. John’s, Michigan. With that invitation, I became the campus pastor to help to plant that ministry, as well as to create a culture of mission-driven ministry. At that time, I transitioned from driving a school bus while going to school for my doctorate. Following graduation, GracePointe was the next church planting phase in my life. Now, there were other opportunities for me, and some even more lucrative. However, I know that would have taken me off the path God has me on. So, I said “no.” Since then, for the last two and a half years, God has used me to help GracePoint plant itself in St. John’s. Along the way he honored my “no’s” by providing everything I needed to also stay bi-vocational.
Recently, I made the transition to leave GracePointe and begin a new church plant. There was plenty of opportunity for me to stay at GracePoint long-term and full time in order to do really good ministry. However, staying would have taken me off “the path.” Last summer I felt the very clear and distinct nudge from God: “Brandon, it’s time. You did what we set out to do with GracePointe St. Johns and now it’s time to fully dive into the dream I gave you for a network of missional communities. It’s time to go … and, Brandon, do not be afraid. I’ve got you and Jessica and the kids.”
Jess and I prayed and wrestled with what it looked like. The biggest obstacle was this—what would I do for bi-vocational income that would not interfere with ministry and also give us benefits so that Jess would not have to leave the part-time job she loves? Well, since God honors our “no’s” his answer to our (Jess and I are not only married, but we are teammates in ministry) commitment to leave GracePointe was to give me a ministry-focused job as a hospice chaplain with part-time hours, great pay and excellent health benefits. Friends, if that’s not God honoring my willingness to say no to something good than I do not know what is.
Truly, I could write a book on this with my personal testimonies of God’s providence, and maybe I will someday. All throughout history God has asked people to do confusing, weird, unexplainable things, without a visible plan and all he gives the people being asked is, “I’ve got you.” Friends, that’s all we need. To know that the Creator of everything known has me, my beautiful wife, all five of our kids—and you—in his hands is all the assurance I need. God will always honor the “NO” that keeps you on the path he has for your life. Always.
So what is God asking you to do? And what is it that you need to say NO to, so that you can start doing it and allow God to bless you for it?