God’s faithfulness has been evident each step of the way for my wife, Sharon, and me, even when the next steps were surprising.
After I graduated from the Air Force Academy, I served in the Air Force in Europe. There I met Harvey Oslund, Navigator staff, at a conference. I would often fly with several other officers to Germany for a weekend of learning more about the Bible and how to grow in our relationship with Christ from Harvey. The Oslunds modeled what it meant to live the Christian life for Sharon and me. After I left the Air Force, I was planning to go to seminary and continue in ministry.
As I was considering this transition, Harvey invited me to attend a conference at West Point. When I met the cadets, I knew my heart was in ministry to these young men rather than seminary. But coming on staff with The Navigators was definitely a faith process. Since we were in the military overseas, we didn’t have the usual church base that is part of fundraising for staff. I happened to meet someone in the Air National Guard and I was invited to join the Reserve. This meant that I was receiving active duty pay for training while we were fundraising. God’s faithfulness was so clear to us in this transition.
Our years at West Point were fruitful. When we started in 1985 there were about 20 cadets involved in the ministry. By 1991, when we finished our time at West Point, 400 cadets were part of The Navigators ministry. It was a high-energy time of operating in our giftedness and seeing God actively using our ministry. Our son was born at the end of our time in Europe, and our two daughters were born while we were at West Point.
Then we were asked by The Navigators to pilot a neighborhood-based ministry, focusing on building relationships and sharing the Gospel with neighbors. We were definitely stretched as we moved to Colorado and stepped into an unfamiliar ministry model.
During our time in neighborhood ministry, Sharon was instrumental in planning activities with our neighbors and helping us connect with kids and families.
I thought people would notice that we were good parents and that we loved our kids and then we could tell them about Jesus. What we quickly learned was that our unbelieving friends were often better parents than we were. I had to rethink my theology; the Gospel message isn’t about doing better at life and being successful and then pointing to Christ. The Gospel is about hope—and that is a conversation I can have with anyone.
After several years of neighborhood ministry, one of my tennis partners asked me to consider management consulting. He had observed my passion for leadership development. It was a completely unexpected path. Everyone else had MBAs, and I didn’t think I knew anything about business. I knew about flying, the military, mentoring, and discipling through The Navigators.
I didn’t orchestrate or plan this change, but God’s faithful hand was clear and He has placed me in a position of influence with FMI’s Center for Strategic Leadership, where I get to interact with the CEOs of the largest enterprises in the world. We dive quickly into deep conversations as we work on leadership strategy—everything revolves around life purpose and clarity. It is a thrill to be able to share faith in the context of my work with influential leaders.
Now that we are empty-nesters, Sharon also has the opportunity to accompany me at times on business trips, and God uses her life experiences to share hope and truth with those we meet over dinner.
God’s faithfulness has been clearly evident as He has guided us over the years, as the prophet Jeremiah says:
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness