Our little side ministry had a big week last week.
I started Armchair Theology with the goal of reading the Bible cover to cover. I’d tried and failed several times before. But I lacked the structure and accountability to persevere. In those days I thought pure determination was enough. And I interpreted failure to finish as a failure of character. Since then I’ve read Atomic Habits by James Clear and see that what Armchair created for me was an attainable daily habit, a community to hold me accountable and the immediate reward in the form of likes and shares.
Before I knew it, I’d written commentary on the entire cannon. Twice.
The podcast felt like a natural evolution, another way to help people get over that Leviticus-sized wall and read the whole Bible. To date we’ve recorded free audio commentary on every chapter of scripture through Job. It’s been one of the most rewarding achievements of my life. Dozens of times I’ve thought: There’s no way to make this scripture meaningful or relevant (or even appropriate) for a modern audience. Turns out a lot of scripture is never read in church, and probably shouldn’t be. And every time I’m amazed learn something new and inspiring.
But it’s not just the insight or inspiration. Ross and I get to meet a ton of awesome guests. We’ve interviewed authors and rabbis and scholars and rebels. We’ve made friends from Canada to Jerusalem and built a network that this boy from Dadeville, AL has no business being a part of.
Last week we interviewed Isaac Morehouse, founder of Praxis (among like 27 other things). He created Praxis as a college alternative to help people find their passion and live it. It’s basically a spiritual gifts class but for your career. And, irony of ironies, helping people do what they love is exactly what he loves doing. No surprise, it’s really taken off. Isaac has been invited on several cable news programs to talk about it.
I met Isaac in November at a conference completely unrelated to ministry and before he even finished speaking he had an invitation in his inbox to be on the podcast. He’s the one who challenged me to do a 30 day blog challenge.
And I’m so glad I took him up on it.
Writing everyday has reconnected me with friends I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s reminded me how much I love writing. It’s forced me to remember my blessings and process life and ask hard questions and probably write something that you really disagreed with.
It’s reminded me of a dream I used to have – to be in ministry without taking a salary from the offering plate. If I could snap my finger and have one wish for my career, it’d be to lead a church that gave almost all of it’s offering away. No salaries. Low overhead. Huge impact. I’d make a living through side-hustles like Paul. Only my tents would look like writing and content creation. If God thinks that’s a good idea, maybe he’ll open doors.
This week God opened a couple: in addition to talking with Isaac, Ross and I opened a joint bank account with hopes to begin writing Bible study curriculum to go along with the podcasts for use in churches and small groups. This blog challenge is partly practice for that work ahead. Between now and then we’ll probably move this blog to a weekly Armchair Theology newsletter (look for an invitation soon), rerecord some of the early podcasts on Genesis when we were still learning how to do this, and make a whole host of boring business decisions that must be made for this kind of thing to take off.
On top of all that, this week the podcast crossed 10,000 downloads. I’m floored. That anyone besides my mom listens at all is a miracle. That 10k have is really humbling. And it’s the kind of encouragement that we really needed. Neither Ross nor myself are comfortable with self-promotion. We’ve never paid for advertising. We hardly ever talk about it in church or on Facebook. But in this season, we’re trying to courageously take this opportunity God has given us and be the best stewards with it that we can.
This week’s episode with Isaac was on the Psalms of Praise. We talked about how your whole life, career, calling and everything should be an act of praise. In it Isaac said: “As a Christian, you have a superpower, because if you fail that’s not your identity. You have an identity that’s anchored in Christ. So whether you fail at a company you try to start or a job you pursue or a hobby you try to turn into a career or a podcast that you produce, failure when you’re rooted in something so much deeper is a lot less costly because you know that’s not what it’s all about.”
You have a superpower friends. It’s rooted in your identity as a child of God. So muster up all the courage you can, with the gifts and resources you have and start doing what God has made you to do.