Fast forward a couple of years, and Wallace released a book, aptly titled "Cold Case Christianity," in which he tells his story and applies his skills to examining the Gospels. I can't say enough good things about it. But my goal for this space is not to write a book review or biography. Rather, I want to point out an important principle that is clearly seen in the case of J. Warner Wallace (and many others). A principle which, though incredibly simple, has, without exaggeration, changed my life.
PRINCIPLE: Use your unique story and skills to affect change for the Kingdom of God.
How has this simple (common sense) principle changed my life? Well, as some of you already know, about 4 years ago I walked away from my life as a professional musician in order to finish school and get a more stable job so that my wife could stay home when our first child, Noah, was born. During the completion of my bachelors degree I fell in love with learning, and developed a particular passion for defending the faith. In fact, I loved it so much that I went on to get a masters, and I am currently working on a doctorate of ministry in apologetics. For the last 4 years, I have been a Bible teacher at private Christian school. I love teaching. At the same time, I have consistently felt discontent in what I am doing. Part of that has to do with an internal struggle to reconcile what I did for 10 years--dreaming, working, and fighting to make it as a musician--with what I am doing now--teaching and defending the faith--and how, if at all, the two will shape who I do for the rest of my life. Until recently, I had largely become convinced that they didn't go together at all. I reluctantly came to the conclusion that I needed to accept that music was just something I did when I was young and immature. Sure, it was fun, and I had some unforgettable experiences, but now I had grown up, and that meant leaving that world behind. Or so I thought.
Imagine if J. Warner Wallace had retired from his job as a detective and said, "I used to be a homicide detective, but now I am retired, and that means I need to move on, focus on my golf game, and take advantage of the early bird special at Golden Corral. That is my life now." That would be a tragedy. (By the way, I love golf and ate at Golden Corral just last week). Why should my case (or yours) be any different? Why should I relegate a huge chunk of my unique story and skill set to the dustbin of history? I am convinced that I shouldn't, and neither should you.
Roughly a year ago, I had a very vivid dream (which is out of the ordinary for me). In the dream I was at (the now defunct) Cornerstone music festival in Bushnell, IL. I was training people how to minister to musicians, specifically by answering tough questions. When I woke up, I remember being in tears. I am not really sure why. I have just attributed it to the fact that I was really sad that Cornerstone Fest no longer existed. I always hoped to take my children there one day. At any rate, after that dream, I started wondering, could my passion and skills in teaching and defending the faith be combined with my love for the music world and my experience as a musician? Surely, that is the sort of job that only shows up in one's dreams. But then I remembered a non-profit organization that had made a huge impact on me while I was a touring musician. That group is RYFO.org. So I decided to reach out to RYFO and see if they could use someone with my story and skill set. To make a long story short, my wife and I recently made the decision to become missionaries with RYFO.* I will be focusing on creating resources to help disciple musicians who are disconnected from the local church. I have already stepped down to part time at the school this year to come on staff with RYFO, and will be going full time at the end of the school year.** I could not be more excited about this opportunity to apply my unique story and skills to impacting in the lives of musicians who have such a tremendous impact upon our culture.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that everyone needs to quit their jobs and become full time missionaries. More than likely, your story and skills are needed exactly where you are. Nor am I assuming the everyone has a dramatic backstory that they can draw upon for inspiration. Not everyone is an ex-pro athlete, musician, or homicide detective. The elements in your story may be more subtle than that--maybe even somethings that you have never considered. But that doesn't make them any less significant. They may not even be something that you think of fondly. If you are very young, you might not be able to see them clearly yet. But believe me, when I say this: Everyone has a unique story and skill set that they can use to affect change for the Kingdom of God.
*I am also the chapter director of Ratio Christi at the University of Georgia. RC is dedicated to training students to defend their faith on campus,
**Our ministry with RYFO will only be possible through the generous gifts of people like you. Click here to find out how to support our work with RYFO. Thanks!