It was Christmas of 2011 and my wife Christa blessed me with tickets to see Zac Brown Band in Grand Junction, CO on June 24th, 2012. As I am a big fan of the group, I was immediately pleased and began to look forward to that date. Since we live in the SE metro area of Denver, CO the concert would be set up as a weekend date for me and Christa. With six months to plan we should be able to make it a great weekend and event. Planning? When you’re talking about investing for retirement or your kid’s college fund, planning years in advance is not only responsible, but Biblical. Day to day, week to week, month to month, His plan, not yours;
James 4:13-15(NIV) Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this city or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
June had finally arrived, and I found myself on a treadmill at 5:30 AM on a Thursday. My workout partner at the time was an executive pastor at a local Restoration church. He met me on the treadmill that morning and almost immediately said, “I got an email yesterday you should see.” I asked about the email and he said it was from the CEO of The Solomon Foundation, and was the job description for Director of Construction. This is where I disclose my profession for over 30 years at that time was in many different forms of construction. I said great, send me the email. That afternoon I read the email from Doug Crozier, several times. Could there really be a position where I could unleash all the experience God has blessed me to gain, to advance The Kingdom?
The answer to that question is, absolutely! Just 25 short days later I found myself in Michigan at the Brighton campus of 242 Community Church, no Zac Brown concert date with Christa. It was my official first day as Director of Construction for The Solomon Foundation. I have to admit I was still a bit apprehensive as to how this was going to work. I certainly was familiar enough with the world of construction, but how was that going to mix with The Kingdom of God? As I walked through the 76,000 square foot dilapidated, former indoor tennis center it became clear to me that the church might just need someone on their side when navigating such an undertaking; renovate the existing facility, including an 8,000 square foot Cafe addition, School of the Arts, Cross Fit Gym, 800 seat worship center, oh, and if that weren’t enough, a full size indoor soccer field. While this was a challenging project for all involved parties, it will forever hold a special place in my heart as the first day I got to work in ministry.
Since that day back in June of 2012 I have been blessed to serve over one hundred churches from coast to coast. The projects have ranged from a simple rehab or tenant improvement in Carrollton, KY to a ground-up, 115,000 square foot City Center in Carrollton, GA. I have been blessed to travel the country alongside of several men that have given their lives to the ministry, learning to many invaluable life lessons to share in 1,500 words. I’ve seen a young pastor in a church of 150, less than 3 years old, meeting in a school, react when notified his church was going to have their own building. I watched an entire small congregation stand and applaud when they got word their loan was approved and they would soon be able to move out of the YMCA. And experienced the overwhelming emotion of a young pastor and his wife when they were told they could build the church they’d only dreamt of. And all along the way, every great moment experienced with one great take away all the glory to God.
I’ve always been draw to the five core values of The Solomon Foundation;
- Honor God.
- Help people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Help our investors get a great return on their investments.
- Help churches get to the next step.
- Have Fun.
While to main concentration of my time is expended dedicated to core value # 4, the most important to me, not only at work, but every hour of every day, is # 1: Honor God! In working with several departments related to construction at The Solomon Foundation; Loans, Investments, HR, and the field team, it never ceases to amaze me how often core value # 1 rises to the top. As much as the organization gravitates to performing Kingdom work, there is still a business component to consider. Human nature can dictate some mighty questionable defaults as we go through life. Repetition tends to fuel and advance those defaults. Even with all that negative spiritual energy, when you truly apply yourself to honoring God, the default shifts. I have seen grace when the circumstance could easily have justified condemnation. Forgiveness in the midst of dishonesty. Encouragement in situations where it’s well beyond strike 3. And integrity modeled in the midst of chaos and cynicism. The 30 years of construction experience could not have possibly prepared me for these experiences. Only God can bring that to light.
One of my greatest opportunities since entering full time ministry has been to experience the diversity of churches in The Restoration Movement. The Solomon Foundation has served many non-instrumental, African American Churches of Christ. I’ve had first hand opportunity to meet with not only pastors and leaders of these churches, but to attend many events and services where I was in some case the only Caucasian in attendance. While it would be completely dishonest to say I didn’t even notice I was the only Caucasian, it is always good to know that situation never made me feel uncomfortable. We may come from different backgrounds. Carry on differently in a worship service. And even praise God in ways that make each other wonder, but we all have one major common denominator; Jesus Christ went to the cross and died for the sins of every man. I feel blessed each time I have an opportunity to meet a new pastor, leadership and congregation. And if God can see over the walls of color, who am I to question His motives.
We often here Christ followers say “His plan, not mine.” While I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA in a predominately Catholic and Protestant church environment, I always sensed there was so much more to faith then what I witnessed in “church goers.” I can remember being 8 or 9 years old at church, when I wasn’t in Sunday school class, watching folks stand, kneel, pray with their eyes closed and sing powerful hymns, just to leave church and treat each other badly. It didn’t seem very Godly, and certainly didn’t feel like what was “Gods plan.” Every day I thank God for the opportunity to serve. I can’t help but think about Jesus’ time on Earth, where it is written, He came to serve, not to be served. To be able to invest the majority of my time, effort and energy in ministry has been a blessing, and I pray for all to be able to have such an experience. Recently, my wife Christa has joined the Solomon Team on a part time basis, performing admin assistance. I know it can be difficult for couples to work together, as home time can be consumed with rehashing everything that is going on at the office. For Christa and I that hasn’t been the case. We enjoy our time at Solomon and the opportunity to share our work experiences, and the best part, share what God’s doing in our lives.
Well, almost 7 years later, I’ve still not seen the Zac Brown Band Live. But in those 6.5 years I have been blessed to be involved with an amazing team of people to serve over 200 churches and have a small part in seeing thousands of lost come to Christ. I often think back to that morning on the treadmill; “What if I hadn’t taken that step?” There isn’t normally a long or deep reflection. I simply smile and thank God once again for the opportunity.