This is my first blog in quite some time, and it will be the first of a weekly blog that will publish on Thursdays from here on out. Thanks so much for subscribing!
- Michael B.
I grew up in a pretty great family. My parents loved me with out reservation, my big brother and I were always close, and I always had more than enough friends to hang out with. We lived in a Midwest, middle class, middle of the road neighborhood that was just like thousands of other neighborhoods. I graduated in the middle of my class, with average grades. I was an average athlete, better than some, worse than some. I wasn't overly popular, hanging out somewhere between the "geeks" and the "jocks" of my time, friends with both. The church I attended wasn't huge, but it wasn't tiny either.
I lived in the middle. Pretty normal. You know ... ordinary.
I used to think that was a bad thing. I would find myself struggling to be the best at something! When I was a kid, like most kids, I wanted to be extraordinary. I wanted to be the guy who hit the winning shot, the kid who hit the walk-off homer, the one who sang the big solo in the musical ... you know, the one that everyone turned to and watched! I really don't think it was a pride issue or a crisis of self-confidence, it was more that I just wanted to be not ordinary.
The pressure to be extraordinary continued for me in college. I attended a small Bible college in the Midwest, Cincinnati Christian University, a college smaller than my high school. It was a strange time for me as I tried to push my way to the top of being noticed, whether it was hanging out with friends, playing sports, or being a part of the performing arts. The college stage felt smaller, but the pressure to be noticed felt bigger.
After graduating college I was given a few fantastic opportunities in ministry, all at larger churches. The first three ministry I served as a worship pastor were all churches between 1,000 and 2,000 members, and God blessed each ministry I was involved in. My "career" was going extremely well, and by my late twenties I was leading a team with a few staff and interns, at a healthy mega-church of over 2,000 in attendance, building a thriving worship arts ministry complete with praise bands, choirs, annual productions, an orchestra, drama teams ... ministry was good.
Our family was growing as well. I married Karrie in 1995 and she jumped right into "ministry life" with me. After 4 years of marriage, entering our largest ministry (and church), Avery joined our family, with Sadie arriving 5 years later. We had a solid marriage, 2 beautiful daughters, a 2 story house, 2 cars, living in the suburb of Indianapolis, serving in a "mega-church." I had even earned a Master's Degree over the years.
I really thought I had achieved "non-ordinary" status!
But the truth is, I was still struggling with the idea of not being extraordinary enough. I still didn't stand out enough. I was still wrestling with what I wasn't instead of seeing all that I was.
in 2008 God shifted my heart and my family toward a new type of ministry - preaching and leadership. We were invited to a church in Bluffton, South Carolina, Live Oak Christian Church, and asked to lead them. I knew I had all the answers and that the church was going to soar in both impact and attendance, I mean, how could I go wrong? I was extraordinary, right?
After heading south in August, the economics of life shifted as the stock market crashed and our church began a tailspin. People lost jobs, retirement funds dried up, best made plans were laid to waste, and our little church of around 150 struggled.
And so did I.
I realized that I didn't have all of the answers, I wasn't the "savior" I thought I was, I couldn't make the church grow, there were people out there that didn't like me ... I discovered that I wasn't extraordinary.
It's funny, looking back, to see it from this perspective. How arrogant, right? How could I have been so blindly and blatantly prideful?
And so God started to show me something that had eluded me for my entire life, something that I knew, but didn't believe:
Being ordinary is OK ... and I'm ordinary.
Simple enough! The last 6 years have been challenging and exciting. There have been times I've wanted to run and moments I've wanted to soar. It has been both the best and the worst time of ministry for me personally and for my family.
It's been messy.
And through it all, God has continued to reveal himself to me through this simple passage of scripture:
So ... that's me. An ordinary guy living an extraordinary life because of the relentless goodness of God.
At this stage of the game I've realized that I don't have to be extraordinary.
I'm not deeply educated and I haven't built a thriving, multi-site, mega style ministry.
I don't have the perfect marriage with kids impervious to failures or struggles.
My faith isn't rock solid and without cracks or weaknesses.
And I DON'T have all the answers.
I am, in every sense, just an ordinary guy ... but I have spent time with Jesus, and HE is EXTRAordinary in every way imaginable.
This is me ... an ordinary guy trying to serve people and organizations through inspiration, leadership, and creativity.
Here's to being ordinary.