There's no doubt about it. There are definitely times when you have to do less in order to have more of God! And sometimes you have to do less in order to do more.This may sound crazy but I'm finding it to be pretty true in my life.
Back in 2009, I believed that God wanted me to start a record label. I just felt like God wanted me to create a canopy for artists who had a desire to use truth in their music as a means to see people set free from different struggles. Simple, right. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I quickly found out what goes into running a record label and I came to a conclusion: I can't do this by myself. But I tried. And honestly, I think God wanted me to try so that I could come to the end of myself and really see that this was something I couldn't do alone. My wife and I started everything from registering the name, setting up the bank account, starting the business plan, setting up processes (such as the artist rider, artist/label pay percentages, etc.). And of course there was stuff like the website, the blog site, keeping up with social media for personal and label, going through the process of making a CD (production, recording, mixing and mastering), creating a White Rag and a video for it...the list goes on. And this isn't even including the actual ministry side of things like trying to walk in integrity and excellence, dealing with people, guarding the ministry from people who want to attach to it just because they think you're "doin' it big", guarding our hearts from offense when people and ministries do us wrong, making sure to the best of our ability that we're not causing others to be offended because of foolishness on our part, etc. Oh yeah, and all this while doing youth ministry. Did we manage? Barely. And even that took a toll on us.
When you're trying to do everything yourself you eventually get worn out. Fore instance, by the time I was done with my CD I really didn't want to market it. I wanted to because I didn't want my work to be in vain, but seriously...I didn't want to hear about The Freedom Project for a few months. You just get tired after a while. But I had a problem. I was kind of suspicious of people who wanted to help. I've had people who I've worked with in ministry totally flip out and live like they didn't know God. (Some of them were already living reckless and I didn't know. Finding those people out produced some sad days.) My problem of being suspicious produced another problem. Since I felt like I HAD to do things myself in order to keep everything safe and in tact, my time was eaten up with doing stuff instead of being in the presence of God. And when you have little to no presence of God, you're wasting your time doing ministry. There's no fresh perspectives. Just yesterday's manna so to speak. I could see it in my ministry. I'm rushing around trying to do things before the concert and didn't set aside time to talk to the Lord about how He wanted the ministry time to flow. Fail. At best it didn't feel right. At worse I seriously contemplated giving up the music thing even though I felt like God wanted me to continue on.
My wife and I had the privilege of attending Dasouth's SXSW event in Austin, and things began to shift when I heard Ambassador talk about the roles of labels. Check out the video below (from 23:45-25:52):
When I got back to San Antonio, I got a chance to meditate on a few of the things that we learned. God began to put it in my heart to pray for a team of people who would help with the label side of things so that I could devote more time to prayer and the Word, penning those experiences, and sharing these experiences with passion.
God is faithful. Right now it seems like everything is beginning to take shape. We are beginning to identify and build relationships with people who have skills in certain areas pertaining to youth ministry and the label. We're still asking the Lord for people to come along who know more about labels than we do. We want them to pour some knowledge into us because even though we've learned a lot we still don't know what we're doing! But the point is...we are beginning to trust people. This helps us to do less (by focusing on specific things) but become exponentially stronger by empowering others who actually have a passion to plug into different areas of ministry. So when I'm seeking to have more time with the Lord, sometimes He will bring me back to this very practical aspect of ministry. Release control. Build people not programs. Be more intentional about launching new people rather than new ideas. This is real. All of this affects my relationship with God. (Insert Mary/Martha story.)
If I want to have more time with God it means that I'll have to be radical with the stewardship of my time. I have to be radical in the fight of settling for laziness or convenience. (We all know it feels more convenient to do things yourself instead of trusting others.) So please be prayerful when you think of me, Jeneil and the people that the Lord is beginning to draw into the ministry. We want to see a label that houses truth givers who are passionately in love with Jesus. However, I'm not going to do that at the cost of my own relationship with the Lord.