About a year ago my family and I moved to Cleveland, Ohio. This was a big move for the McGinnis family. As I reflect on the last year I think of a few important questions that I need to share:
Question 1: Why did we move?
Work schedule was eating away at our family time.
There was a time when the pace of life at a church of 4000+ sounded like a good idea to me. But after five years of it and 5 children… it became the central focus of our family. Aime and I noticed that every time I was not in the room my children asked if I was at church. Sounds cute, but quickly felt like an indictment. (For a children’s pastor… time with your children should be right up there with eating and breathing.) We want our family and God to be at the center of our family…not work.
A shift in focus from Children’s Ministry to Family Ministry
Over the past few years, God called me to draw the target around the whole family and not just the children. This journey was gradual, but definite.
Set One: It started as a CONCERN. I noticed that few children were getting the firm Biblical foundation at home that I was raised with.
Step Two: It turned to a CONVICTION that this Biblical foundation needs to be instilled by dad and mom. For years and years we taught the Bible to children with the general belief that since dad’s and mom’s weren’t going to engage in discipleship we’ll do it. Unfortunately, we overstepped our boundaries and became the primary disciplers. As a result, the teaching just didn’t stick long term.
Step Three: It finally turned into a COMPULSION in my life. It was all I could do. Everything pointed back to “the family”.
Question 2: What did we trade?
Tradeoff #1: We traded the resources and experience of a mega-church for that of a much smaller church. This really is a HUGE tradeoff. One that to be honest, we’re still getting use to. Many times I feel like I’m in one of those movies where the city guy moves into the quaint little village to start his own little bed and breakfast. We laugh as he discovers all the joys of “limited technology”, “limited resources”, and “limited vision”. Let me tell you; it’s funnier in the movies…not so much in real life.
Tradeoff #2: Problems! I use to say that in a big church “we have the same problems as a small church… just bigger.” Well it’s true! Now that I’m back in a smaller church I discovering the same problems we had in a larger church. *The only difference is the pressure to “get it right” is much less here than it was in the larger churches I’ve served.
Tradeoff #3: We traded one community for another. This was tough as well. After 5 years you settle into a community and really begin to lay some roots. All I can say is that in one year here in Cleveland we have gained and experienced more community than we have in over 10 years.
Question 3: So was it worth it?
I can answer this one without a second of hesitation – ABSOLUTELY!
Question 4: How do I know this?
My wife has gained her husband back. (She and I have coffee together EVERY morning)
My children have gained their father back.
I know my neighbors and have actually spent time talking and hanging out with them.
I’ve attended my children’s sporting events… and didn’t have to leave early to head into the office.
I work out now.
I eat better.
I worry less.
I drink less coffee.
My anxiety that accompanied the busy stressful pace of life I lived is completely gone.
I move slower and enjoy the moment more.
I’ve spent the year painting and building furniture (something I love to do and haven’t had time to do for years)
Bottom Line: It was the healthiest decision I’ve ever made! Healthier for me, my family, and I believe the Kingdom as well.
For all of this – I’m so thankful this year!