I’ve had an itch to write today, so here goes…
After tomorrow my content (sermons, writings, some books, etc.) will no longer be available through Telling The Truth Media Ministry. In the history of the world this isn’t a big deal, at all. But I’m thinking about it because it is bringing stuff up for me.
One of these things is, smallness. I’m finding myself thinking about getting smaller. You see Libby and I are on a roll, voluntarily going smaller in multiple areas of our lives.
We stopped leading a church with thousands of people for… nothing, with no one.
We went from a healthy salary to… nothing, no pay check, no income.
We sold our good sized house and moved into a 357 Sq. Ft. motorhome.
We left our sphere of influence and our circle of community for 24-7 time together, alone, in our (did I mention, 357 Sq.Ft?) motorhome.
Now I’m leaving Telling the Truth so I’m going from…
Being on approximately 650 radio stations across America to 0.
Being on 26 other platforms across the realm of media to… 1.
Being heard by over 1.2 Million people every week on those various platforms to being heard by 0.
Having 30,300 people get my email devotionals every morning to 3800.
Our tax bill was much SMALLER the last couple of years, so there is an upside!
We didn’t set out to get smaller per se, it just seems to be working out this way.
I was talking to a friend recently and I admitted something to him. He asked me how I was doing and I said, “I’m finding it a bit hard going from being a ‘somebody’ to being a ‘nobody’.” I immediately threw out a qualifier, “I know theologically everyone is a somebody and nobody is a nobody, so I guess I don’t really know how to verbalize what I’m feeling, but I feel a loss.” (I’m still learning how to express my feelings, especially shameful feelings, without tacking on a spiritual qualifier.)
Let’s be honest, in our evangelical culture, everyone is a “somebody”, but some ‘somebodies” are SOMEBODIES, if you know what I mean.
There is a lot of talk in evangelical circles about celebrity pastors and the dangers our church face as a result of this phenomenon. I don’t think I was a celebrity, but I was known by lots of people and over the span of 2 1/2 decades the net result of having a couple of platforms made me feel like a “somebody”. This, my friends, is a problem. The truth is that everybody is a somebody and nobody is a nobody but the way some of our churches work, some people feel like somebodies and scores of people feel like nobodies. The irony of course, is the the guy we supposedly worship in our churches was THE SOMEBODY and he spend his life telling self-professed ‘nobodies’ that they had it all wrong… they were somebody!
I like being smaller, if the truth be told. But, I miss being bigger too (once again, if the truth be told). Smaller has its benefits though:
Libby and I, out on our own in a (did I mention 357 Sq. Ft.) motorhome have had hundreds of hours to be, to talk, to struggle, to grow, to challenge and to love. It has been SO good for our marriage.
Not being the pastor of a mega-church has allowed me the freedom to grapple with things (theological, social, personal) I would not have felt free to do so if I was still leading thousands of people.
Abruptly having no income is something everyone should experience at least once imho. Wow, what a wake up call, what a challenge, what a gift, what an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and try new things. What an adventure.
Having a house on wheels has given us the opportunity to travel to drop-dead gorgeous places and hang out there.
I’m not sure what the benefits of leaving TTT will be, but I’m sure there will be some.
But, the most important thing I have learned is this. It is easier being a real person when you are smaller! I am profoundly grateful to be a regular guy, that no one knows. I’ve made friends who like me, not because I am “the guy”, but because we shared a glass of wine around a campfire, told stories, laughed till we cried, and then did it again the next night, (and then, truth be told, every night for 3 months). My friends around that circle don’t even know what I used to do, (we tell people I led a couple of non-profits, it makes life easier on the road). I love them, they love me, and I never have to wonder if the love is real or a pseudo affection based on my performance. I am profoundly grateful to be a regular guy.
If you have been smaller your whole life, embrace it! It allows you time to be real, to love deeply, to struggle openly, to change your theology, to… be you.
If you, for some reason think yourself to be ‘bigger’… beware. You aren’t, it’s in your head, and it is devouring your soul. Get help, talk to someone, be real, and do whatever it takes to smallify your life.
“Small is the new big”, or something like that!