Thirty-five years ago today I was born. In some people's mind that means I'm still young. But to me thirty-five is neither young nor old. It's, gasp, middle aged. So what does one do in the middle? Here are some ideas:
- Grow a middle. Right? I mean I can stop pretending to be young. I'll lose it all when I'm old anyway. So now is the time to put myself out there, show I've hit middle-age and develop a nice "pulpit" on which to lay my snacks. And interestingly enough (providentially?) since the best part of the Oreo is the middle they should be a daily part of my diet.
- Get stuck in the middle. Middle-management that is. I can aspire to great things and organizational leadership later. The best this season of life can give me on the report-card is a "C" so, to use a sports-term, being a "middling" leader right now is the best that I can hope for and work towards.
- Have a middle (child). Of course that would mean Steph would be up for that. And Ethan's too small to qualify for the role, so we'll just stick with two. For now.
- Live in the middle. Of the country. (Check that baby off my list!)
Now I know my list is rather absurd (mostly). But this has been what I've been thinking about a little bit lately. What do the next fifteen years hold? 5-19 was growth, development, education. 20-34 has been maturing, marriage and ministry. 35-49, the middle years, to me is a season for leadership and expansion.
Here's some goals that I have for the next fifteen years that I pray God gives me the grace to accomplish.
- Lead my family well - As my children move into the growth, development and education stage I know that my role as a leader to them is more and more important. The next season involves more intentional and loving leadership of my family.
- Lead a church - sooner rather than later I'm ready to be the preaching and organizational leader of a local church. I know that God has called me to be a lead pastor and gifted me to do it. It's time to get after that.
- Plant churches - If goal number two happens sooner rather than later than I hope to see no less than five men developed, trained and sent to plant other churches through the one I'm leading. That's a clip of one leader sent every three years. I hope to see a sending nature reverberate from the culture of the church I'm leading.
- Write five books. I have really enjoyed and loved working on the book I've written this last year. My skill in this area is growing and I understand more clearly the work and discipline that writing is. I want to write more and I want to grow in this gifting.
- Love more. Love God more and better. Love my family more and better. Love people more and better. Even if numbers 1-4 happen, and I'm working hard towards them becoming realities, if I don't have love then it's all meaningless. I haven't displayed the love of gospel well. I haven't loved Christ well. So I am praying that my love for God another others grows and flourishes in newer and deeper ways in the next season of my life.
So off into the wide-expanse of my middle-age. There's much to do, much to grow from, and by God's grace when I get to fifty much to consider multiplying for the next season. Lord, help me grow!