13 October 2011

This isn’t a post about Steve Jobs. Or maybe it is.

Here’s the short story: after almost 12 years of working for The City Church, I’m going to exit employment and enter the technology/web space. I’m still not sure exactly what I’ll be doing, but I have several opportunities in front of me, and I’m excited for the future. The long version of the story starts on July 10th, when God dropped an idea into my head that I couldn’t ignore. It was one of those disruptive ideas that, anecdotally, has the potential to change the face of the Internet – to put a dent in the universe. I told my wife and a few close friends, and everyone I told agreed.

There’s a story Jesus tells in the Bible about a master who gives three servants each money (“talents”) and then goes away on a journey. The three servants each steward the money differently, and one ends up just burying the money because, as Jesus tells the story, he knew his master to be shrewd. When the master returns, the three servants report what they’d done. The first two servants had invested the money and had gotten double the return. Obviously the master was pleased. The third, however, got a stern rebuke and the money that had been given to him was taken away and given to another servant.

There are many lessons in the story, but for me, I learned I cannot bury that which has been given to me.

After weeks of prayer and counsel with mentors and pastors, evaluating the risks, and considering the season that both my family and the church are in, I’ve made the decision to leave the job I’ve had for over 10 years in order to pursue this idea God gave me. Starting October 31st I’ll no longer be employed by The City Church.

It’s a bitter-sweet decision. I’ve always felt that working for the church has been more than a job. It’s been a calling. And while I realize I don’t have to work there to still contribute to the vision, the job made it more practical. The word “volunteer” has been used a lot in this process, and I’ll obviously be doing that, but applying my skills in a volunteer capacity won’t yield near the return as being able to work 40+ hours a week does. And that’s a hard thing to reconcile. I’ve been able to do what I love, for a purpose I believe in, while getting paid for it.

Jobs are temporary though. Our callings – what we’re designed to do – go beyond our jobs. That’s what I’m learning.

I feel accountable to this thing God’s given me. I don’t want to “bury my talent”. Even though I may not be able to execute on this idea immediately – it still requires some time to formulate and develop – I have to start the process.

In November I’ll either have taken another job working for a startup, or will be self-employed and taking freelance projects. Or there might be a completely different opportunity for me to take by then. In the meantime, I’ll be working to brand (or rebrand) myself online; discovering my new voice and personae. That means my website (and this blog) will likely get an overhaul. You’ve been warned.

As I said, I’m excited for the future. How can I not be? I’m doing what I feel I’m supposed to, and my wife is in agreement, it’s great timing, and I have great opportunities in front of me.

I wonder if this is how Steve Jobs must have felt in 1976.