Don't be Shiftless.

With a son who turns fifteen tomorrow, I'm suddenly faced with memories of learning how to drive. Some dads have this idea of teaching their sons to drive by starting them out on something easy...small, automatic transmission, all that.

My dad did not have such a theory. In fact, in practice, he did the exact opposite. At 9 years old, he started me out on a 1949 International Harvester H model with a custom, wide track front end and hydraulic bucket. It looked a little like the one at the right, before he modified (he would have said 'improved') it.

The H had five gears. I believe the pattern was exactly like the one displayed here. Low was second. You'd expect that Low would be first, but first gear was Super Low. You'd kind of have to use the tractor to understand, but trust me, it fit. Third and fourth were each slightly faster, and then their was Road Gear.

We never called it fifth. We always called it Road Gear, and if you weren't pointed straight down the road when you pulled Road Gear, you'd find yourself off the road pretty quickly. There was about 90 degrees of play each direction in the steering wheel, which made Road Gear runs pretty interesting, as you sawed the wheel back and forth 180 degrees to make minor adjustments in trajectory.

Having only put the H in the pond one time, I eventually graduated to a 1949 two ton Ford with a flat head V8. The flat head V8 is unique in that, even when running perfectly, it sounds about ready to explode. The old Ford sported a four speed tranny (again, manual) with a two speed axle. I can't go into the full explanation, but the end result is ten forward speeds and two in reverse.

All that to say, it's time for a shift.

Since July of last year, I have focused my efforts on directing TheCall gatherings. I've been honored to be a part of TheCall in Las Vegas, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Orlando. It's been an incredible joy.

In December, as TheCall Leadership team that Kelsey and I serve with began to look towards TheCall DC, we had a great, open discussion about who was to lead that effort. It was obvious to all at the table - myself included - that Dwayne Roberts should take the helm for that season. In the process of the conversation, I began to open up and talk about what was on my heart...

While I have enjoyed the challenge of putting these things together, I was not made to orchestrate invasions of sound gear, to factor prices on event insurance, or to try and figure out how 5,000 registrants equals 8,000 in attendance. I knew I was operating in a logistics role because I could, but not because I should, at least not forever.

I was made to generate content...to organize thoughts and present challenges to presuppositions. Primarily, for me, this means writing, although there will also be some speaking to go along with that. Without going into the details (because they're still landing!), this will manifest itself in two primary ways.

In a week or so, I'll start to make good on that post about blogging for the Luke 18 project. The new website will be up soon. Trust me, it's going to start. For real. Last time I mentioned it, these guys found out about it (which strikes me as very, very funny, because I'm not sure who among them knows my name). I'll also work with the Luke 18 Project in a variety of other ways.

I'll be the point person for a magazine project that IHOP/TheCall is being invited to participate in with Relevant Media Group. Yes, I've taken a few cracks at Relevant Magazine (and been published by them - ironic, I know) but I have been incredibly impressed with founder Cameron Strang's desire to do this project for all the right reasons. On behalf of IHOP and TheCall, I'll write and gather content for what will begin as an online publication and eventually go to print. Quirky side note, their five year anniversary edition is coming out soon and my original article made the cut of things remembered. Extra funny because it first appeared here, on BurningMan.com.

I'll remain on TheCall leadership team, continuing to drive my team through the April 5 gathering in Montgomery, Alabama and then continuing to pitch in wherever needed on to Washington, DC in August and beyond. I love my peeps. Leading this team has been an incredible joy.

All told, I'm shifting, not hitting the kill switch.
I'm still a missionary.
I'm still convinced of the impending revolution.
I'm just finding the place on the wall that I can be most effective.


Zack said...

I'm excited for you Randy. This role suits you for real.

steven hamilton said...

speaking perhaps a bit selfishly, i'm glad for that...i think you have been graced with a prophetic perspective that both challenges and encourages the burning heart of revolutionaries for the kingdom of Jesus.

looking forward to hanging with you this summer some too...


Shelley Paulson said...

This is good, this is God.

chuck said...

So, this is going to be your blog in book form sprinkled with spoken blog appearances?

Esther Irwin said...

"I'm just finding the place on the wall that I can be most effective." Good on you, Randy. I like the aspect that we aren't stuck in one spot and you have demonstrated that well.

As for the driving lessons... well, we taught our daughter for about a year, then handed her over to someone professional that could help her unlearn our bad habits. Now she's more of a safe driver and my prayer life has extended itself in that she can drive by herself legally. But then, she's always been in God's hands and that's the safest place to be.

KiwiYankee said...

My wife forwards your blogs to me from time to time. This is an interesting one to me for a couple reasons.

Firstly, I learned to drive a Ford Ferguson tractor at the age of nine. I didn't weigh enough to keep the clutch down on the H. After backing a Ford pickup into a tree, as I recall, my Dad thought I could wait a little while longer to learn how to drive a car.

Our 17-year-old daughter just received her restricted license (New Zealand). I insisted she learn a manual. She's thinking about missions and I figured the chances were not real good that she was going to end up out in foreign country in the missions field with "an automatic" 15-year old Range Rover. Some day she will thank me for this.

Secondly, we are seeing many changes in our life and our company this year. So we are contemplating changing gears - we're just not certain what the Lord has for us around the corner, but our hands are on the gearshift knob and we are watching the cloud.
Blessings as you change gears,
Terry B.