The New Me: Part 7, “The Woodsman”

Seven years.

What have you been doing for seven years?

For some activities it’s a long time; for others it’s merely a moment.

I’ve been serving at Bethel Baptist Church, Schaumburg Christian School, and Schaumburg Christian Day Camp for seven years and, in retrospect, it feels like the tick of the second-hand.

If’ you’ve been following the New Me Posts (which started with Part I back in May of 2012), you know I’ve been a busy boy for the past seven years. But all of that is coming to a God ordained close, and I’m excited to tell you about what’s happening next.

But, before I do . . . .

I’m not certain the best way to handle this next piece of information. It’s delicate, but yet necessary to the narrative of my life and this decision in the life of my family.

I need to tell you why we’re leaving my current ministry.

No, I’m not being fired.

No, I don’t have beef with the new pastor (I love the man dearly and will miss his ministry to my family most of all).

No, I’m not looking for a change of scenery.

Here’s the crux.

The Disagreement

I was homeschooled.

I know, that’s an amazing segue.

I was practically the poster child for the homeschooling movement, and all through grad school I researched and wrote about it. In short: I believe it’s the single best educational system in the world when it’s done correctly.

Clearly, I’m a huge advocate.

So, when I took a job as a Christian school teacher, I made sure to ask our pastor if homeschooling my children was an option. He said it was, but since my oldest was only a few months old, the discussion was premature.

Time passed.

The old pastor left the ministry, and the church and school were kept a float by God’s gracious hand.

During that time we educated our son and daughter at home – teaching them the basics.

Then the school year of 2014 started (my son was a first grader), but he didn’t go to school.

Someone noticed.

I have no idea who they were.

They asked one of the pastors if staff were allowed to do that.

It came up in a staff meeting.

And to condense a veeeeery long story into a single sentence – I was informed that I my children would have to attend SCS if I wanted to remain employed at SCS.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please realize that I believe all of the conversations that I was involved in over the months that this decision was being made were Christ-honoring. I even believe the heart desire of the people who made the decisions was pleasing to the Lord as well. Though I disagree with their decision and the foundation supporting it, I believe they wanted to do right. I love the men who found themselves in the difficult position to make this decision. I will always count them as friends. We disagree, but I do not want anyone thinking that I am attacking these men’s character or love for God. Disagreements concerning life and ministry happen. This is one of them.

Now, it’s not my intention to discuss what their reasoning was and argue against it. I will share their opinion, but my main point is to tell you how God used this situation to transform my little family.

Pastor Benson (head pastor at Bethel) believes that the Christian school is the best place to make a mature disciples.

I disagree.

I believe the home is the best place to make and mature disciples, followed closely by the church, and then everything else after that. That’s the core disagreement right there, and I’m sure time will be dedicated to this discussion in the future. But for now, let’s examine the desires involved in making the decision.

The Desires

At first, my main desire was homeschooling-fueled. I know how amazing it can be, and I know how well my wife and I could do it, and I know how well my children could thrive in it. But God providentially used this situation to make my wife and I really have to grapple with important questions – “Why do I want this education for our children?” being the most prominent.

And we realized there are a number of items and individuals further up the importance-line than the homeschool/Christian school/public school debate.

  1. We were struck by the thought that whatever option we chose, it must be motivated solely as an act of worship to God. It doesn’t matter what school I throw my kids into if my guiding focus is not whole-hearted worship. Why do you send your kids to their school? Have you ever asked whether or not God might be more glorified with your children attending somewhere else? Too often this most vital thought is often our last.
  2. We also knew our kids’ education was firstly our responsibility. That is not to say parents cannot delegate education to someone else. I can’t teach my kids piano, so that will likely be something I’ll ask someone else to do. But my wife and I needed to understand that from the start that we parents are responsible to teach our kids about life. God will not hold our kid’s teachers as responsible as He’ll hold us.

These two cornerstones became the foundation of what we wanted for our kids. From then on we needed to see what type of structure should be built on such a foundation.

The Decision

As I mentioned above, originally this was a decision between homeschooling and Christian schooling, but after prayerfully considering the most important factors, we realized that our main desire had changed (providentially so). Homeschooling would still be part of process, but our view had been sanctified.

Our final decision?

We no longer wanted to be homeschooling parents or Christian school parents.

We choose to be full-time, intentional, disciple-making parents. Click To Tweet

Let’s break this down.

  1. Full Time. This is where homeschooling becomes a fixture in our family system. When I choose to be a full-time parent, I can’t delegate 8-10 hours of my parenting day. Again, it’s not wrong to be a part-time parent, unless (like us) you know that God has given you the opportunity and expects you to take it.
  2. Intentional. Nothing can be an accident. From waking to eating to schooling to playing, we want to accomplish it all with the express purpose of glorifying God among men.
  3. Disciple-making. This is the burden God has laid on all of us that we must not delegate. Parents, are you discipling your kids? You need to.

With that desire in mind, we made the decision to leave Bethel. If it came down to being the parents God wants us to be or substituting a different plan, we knew where we stood. Of course, when I informed my pastor and administrator that I’d not be returning, I didn’t know where the Lord would have us go. Evermind was not yet able to stand alone as a full-time ministry, so I reached out to churches, camps, schools, boarding homes, and mission boards. I looked at everything that would allow me and my wife to fulfill this model as closely as possible. Of course, I was prepared for my wife to be the full-time parent with me functioning as the part-timer, but I also imagined a different scenario.

Frequently parents (dads in particular) make decisions for their families that revolve around their job. We need to move, change schools, downgrade our standard of living because “my job.” But . . .

What if, instead of sacrificing our families to the whims of our vocation, we did just the opposite? Click To Tweet

Here’s what God had planned.

The Destination 

As I searched, prayed, and networked, I contacted a ministry I’d learned of many years earlier. I remember reaching out to them because I liked their ministry niche. It’s not all too common, but the potential was exciting.

Victory Academy for Boys resides in Amberg, Wisconsin. They run a 10 month program for teen boys – most of which have rejected God’s truth in their lives and need intense, spiritual interventions. Victory takes the boys to their 120 acres in the northern woods and floods them from waking to sleeping with what it means to “do all to the glory of God.” They also work closely with the parents to assure all family members are living God’s way for God’s reasons.

So, after many months and conversations my wife and I were eventually invited to join Victory as Residence Managers!

This is an extremely exiting opportunity for two amazing reasons:

  1. Professionally – Much counseling, teaching, and preaching has a please-listen-right-now-because-you’re-going-to-need-this-later mentality. But the Residence Manager is informally known as the “House Dad.” Parenting is discipleship at its purest. Instead of, “Remember what God says later when your brother annoys you.” it will be, “Let’s use God’s truth now to deal with this issue.” In addition, I’ll be serving right beside my family. They will each have integral parts in our ministry to the boys and their families.
  2. Personally – Try to think for a moment for a job that’s not self-employed where you’re “off the clock” from 9-5. Keep thinking. I’ll wait. Seriously, since the boys go to school during the day, I’ll work with them in the morning and in the evening. This allows me to shepherd and disciple my own family during their waking hours!

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

This verse could not be more real to me now.

What Does This Mean for Evermind?

I believe the timing for this move is as providential as the rainfall and the sunrise. Not only will taking this job allow me to partner with a wonderful ministry serving amazing families, and not only will it provide for my own family in a physical and spiritual environment we love, but it will also give me a little more time to write, speak, and counsel.

Granted, we’re moving to a very remote locale (the nearest Wal-Mart is about 45 minutes away), but the Lord knows exactly what Evermind and the surrounding area needs, and I cannot be more thrilled.

With that said, please consider partnering with us by . . .

1. Praying – Petition God that He grants us the grace and wisdom we need to share His truth in His way for His reasons. Victory also needs boys to minister to. If you know families in need, please direct them Victory’s website.

2. Sharing – Like us, follow us, and share us on social media. The more people we can reach with the answers to life and godliness, the better!

3. Inviting – We know there’re a lot of godly resources available out there, but we would love to partner with your family, group, class, ministry, or program. We have a driving passion to share with the broader body of Christ what He is daily showing us! Feel free to invite us to speak at your next conference or meeting by emailing us at Staff@EvermindMinistries.com.

4. Volunteer – The Evermind Staff is an ever-growing group of volunteers who cherish and adore God above all else. Together they strive to help Evermind Ministries accomplish it’s three-fold mission to teach, remind, and apply all that is God’s truth. If you’d like to volunteer, please reach out to the Staff email.

There’s so much more I could say, and I’d love to answer any questions you may leave in the comments. But for now, I hope that this “New Me” reminds you that God keeps His promises. When we put Him first, He gives us exactly what we need. It may not always be easy (we’re going to miss our church and Overshadowed families soooooooo much), but we know it will be good.

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