I am a victim of success. True story.
A little over five years ago, I started Love Wins Ministries with the idea that Grace was true, and that if God loves us without reservation or agenda, then the least we could do for other people, especially people who have been ostracized, is to love them the same way.
Apparently, other people like that idea too. Because five years in, our little building on 707 West Jones is packed full most days. I get invitations to speak around the country, to tell people to love their neighbors. (Crazy, I know.) I always have a line of folks waiting to talk to me, both in my email inbox and in my office.
Sometimes, I have to say no. These days, I often have to say no.
Like the guy who wrote me a few days ago. He’s a counselor in an agency that works with persons who are homeless, and he is tired and burned out after 12 years of the work. He saw a 10 minute interview I did and decided I have the answers he is looking for. He wrote me an email, asking “How do I start something like Love Wins here?”
I sigh, not because I don’t want to help him, but because I do. Because I remember being overwhelmed and rapidly burning out, and writing to Bart Campolo out of the blue, asking for help because I saw a 10 minute interview he had done. And Bart wrote me back and went on to not only become a mentor, but also a friend.
So I feel like I have some sort of obligation to help this guy. Paying it forward, if you will.
But I also have an obligation to my community and to the people I minister to and to my employees and my volunteers and my wife and my two cats.
So, I told this guy that I could not help him, but wished him well. And that someday, I would write a manual for how to do Love Wins in your town.
I have wanted to write that manual for three years now. Part of the reason I haven’t is because part of me wants to say, “It is a two part process. 1) Read the Gospels – especially Luke. 2) Take it seriously.
But the other part is because I have all those obligations I wrote about a minute ago.
It is not just that manual. I have two publishing houses that want me to write for them. Two! You know how many writers wish they had a publishing house express interest in their work?
Have I written anything for them? No. Because I have an obligation to my community and to the people I minister to and… well, you get it.
So, this is just me, saying I am a bit frustrated that my ideas actually, well, worked. Now I wish I had an idea about what to do about that.