“You’re A Pastor!”
That’s what my new pastor friend, Ken, told me in December, 2016, right before I officially started this Christian nonprofit called, “Mission Addiction.”
A mutual friend had introduced us. Now I was telling him about the first year-and-a-half of my journey, researching the addiction pandemic. I told him I’m a business consultant by trade and an expert problem solver. I’ve also been a children’s faith leader for years. I was becoming more and more interested in helping others feel the same heart-warming rewards as I did, from serving and giving back. Regularly, I would hear someone say something like, “I want to help, but I don’t know where or how to get started.”
I didn’t have any experience with addiction when I started my research. However, when I talked to individuals and families struggling, my eyes were opened. My heart went out to them and I knew I could help. I could see that faith was one of several root causes of the problem, as well as an important ingredient in the solution.
My research and other faith training also helped me see another key to the addiction problem. We need to spend about as much time on training and developing our recovery and volunteer community as we do serving. In other words, we need to create an army of people ready, willing, and able – to help the army of people who need and want that help. Part of our mission is to match these two groups of people at many points along the journey – support, workshops, counseling, social events, and more. It has taken more time and effort to do it this way. But it also feels like the right thing to do – for business AND faith reasons.
I was explaining all of this to Ken, as well as the rest of my analysis, when he came to this conclusion: “Edward, you’re a pastor! I’m listening to you and you sound like a pastor! And what you’re talking about doing – getting people together to go serve and meet a need in the community? That’s what the church is supposed to do. You need to accept this calling God gave you and go make this happen!”
What a life-changing conversation! I had thought about being a pastor at different times in my life, so it wasn’t completely far-fetched. Teaching the Sunday School kids, attending faith leadership conferences, going on a mission trip, and working with other addiction-related organizations – all fueled that feeling even more.
During this same time over the holidays, several other spiritual and directional things were happening to me. I don’t believe it was a coincidence. The day before our kickoff meeting in January, I was laughing at myself. “How did I get here? I don’t even have a name for this organization and people are coming to a kickoff tomorrow!” Later that day, the Holy Spirit whispered the name “Mission Addiction” to me. At first, I thought that was a nice name . . . it rhymes . . . “MA” works well as an abbreviation . . . etc. Then it hit me! I had racked my brain for a name months prior. I was looking for something that also meant being “addicted” to serving or God vs. any other sin or substance – a double-meaning. We are addicted to “His mission” – as well as working on the problem of addiction.
It’s been over three years now since I started this walk. The personal, professional and spiritual growth has been amazing! It proves what God does when we’re having a relationship with Him and we’re willing to listen.
I share this as our first blog, partly to introduce myself and this mission – God’s mission – that He named. I also share it to encourage you on your journey. My life is more rewarding than ever. I still want others to understand how great it feels to walk with Him and serve. Over 150 people have contributed to our organization so far. That includes the ones who helped launch this new website. (Thank you!)
There are other pastors and aspiring pastors in our midst. We have to accept the calling. We have to be willing to go where God leads and find our life purpose. I pray that you’ll do the same. Consider getting involved with our cause or another one that’s a great fit for you. If you’re feeling a similar urge to do more right now, to make a difference, to help others, then maybe . . .
You’re a pastor!