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What's your life plan?

Nov. 16, 2017 | by David Bowman

Sitting in a pickup truck camper at Young State Park in Boyne City, Michigan, my future became clear to me. Suffering from acute bronchitis and its accompanying cough and lethargy, I spent the day in prayerful reflection. My 22nd birthday was a couple of months away. I would graduate from college in a year. I would marry sometime after that. 

Seminary would come next. I would serve in an associate position during those years to gain experience and gather wisdom from a seasoned pastor. I would then launch out on my pastoral ministry first in a smaller-membership church, then a mid-size model, and finally onto a large church which would grow bigger, broader, and better. 

That church would start other churches. I would mentor leaders. A college would invite me to teach as an adjunct instructor.  I would train leaders around the world. 

Then what? I could not see anything beyond that. However, since it was so far away, I had plenty of time to figure it out. 

Next steps

The plan worked pretty much as I imagined it back in that pickup truck camper in Young State Park, with a wee tweak here and there. 

◦ Graduated -  Check.

◦ Spent a year in college student ministry -  Check.

◦ Got married -  Check.

◦ Started seminary -  Check.

◦ Served as an associate pastor -  Check.

◦ Became a lead pastor of a small church -  Check.

◦ Moved to a mid-size church -  Check.

◦ Moved to a larger church that grew bigger, broader, and better -  Check.

◦ Experienced a train wreck -  Check.

I did not foresee the train wreck. 

That experience involved an extended illness and challenging church circumstances that forced me out of my position without another job in hand. It led to two years of marginal employment and deep questioning about who I was and where I was headed.

◦ Are my days in ministry over?

◦ Is God finished with me?

◦ Have I sinned some great sin which I cannot come back from?

◦ Will I ever be able to support my wife and children?

◦ Will we be able to help our children with college expenses?

Maybe the reason I could not see that far was the mercy of God. He did not want me to jump ship early. 

My first coaching experience helped me survive those two years. A year before my resignation, a leadership coach helped me develop my life mission and vision. The clarity was inspiring. It kept me focused and pushing forward in spite of my circumstances during those long, lean months. 

That time provided answers to my big questions. 

◦ Are my days in ministry over?  No.

◦ Is God finished with me?  Not yet.

◦ Have I sinned some great sin that I cannot come back from?  No.

◦ Will I ever be able to support my wife and children?  Yes.

◦ Will we be able to help our children with college expenses?  Yes, and for a very long time.

Greater clarity

I continued refining my sense of mission and vision with the help of Laurie Beth Jones and her team. Laurie Beth is the author of Jesus, CEO; Jesus, Life Coach; The Path, and others. She is a wonderful leader who owns a ranch which straddles two state lines. I am so grateful for her kindness and direction. 

Fast forward to Doug Slaybaugh and LifePlan from the Paterson Center. Doug is the organizational genius behind a little thing called Purpose Driven. He served with Rick Warren at Saddleback Church for many years. Doug facilitated my LifePlan and later trained me to facilitate LifePlans. It was Doug who helped me see my ministry sweet spot.

I am forever grateful for these wise guides and how they led me along the journey toward God’s special future for my life. 

Reading Church Unique by Will Mancini in 2008 led me to attend the Society for Church Consulting Summit in New Orleans to hear Will speak. I wanted to talk to him further after his keynote address. One thing led to another, and I have navigated churches through Church Unique for several years now.

Our staff directors at Tarrant Baptist Association are all trained as Church Unique navigators. We became convinced this would be as great a process for an individual’s life as it is for churches. We started working on adapting the material to fit what we envisioned. We discovered we were late to the party. 

The first time Will Mancini led a church through Church Unique, the pastor told him he needed something like this for his personal life. Will has been working on this idea since then. He partnered with Dave Rhodes to create Younique, or Life Younique (www.lifeyounique.com). 

Gospel-Centered life design

Last year, I had the privilege of attending a Younique intensive in Atlanta, Georgia. I knew this was the process I had been waiting for. I immediately signed onto the team. 

Younique has helped me see what I could not foresee sitting in a pickup truck camper in Young State Park at age twenty-one. My life experiences, the maturity gained over the years, the molding of God’s hands, and the amazing Younique toolbox provided stunning clarity for the second half of my life. I now understand how my second half can prove more significant than my first half. 

My greatest significance is in helping others discover why God created them and how they can honor him and serve others. I help others experience maximum expression of their life stories. I want you to know, embrace, and express all that God has dreamed for you since before the creation. He has a wonderful divine design for each one of us (Ephesians 2:10; John 10:10). 

◦ Have you taken time to clarify why you are on this planet?

◦ What is it that you must do?

◦ What does your special future look like?

◦ How do you turn that dream into reality?

◦ How will your life be different three years from now?

◦ What values will guide you on your journey?

◦ What steps in what timing will lead you forward?

◦ What are the four most important storylines of your life?

◦ What’s the most important thing you will accomplish in the next ninety days?

◦ What four things repeated daily or weekly will get you there?

◦ What steps will lead you to that preferred future?

How may I assist you in discovering God’s dream for your life? 

Photo source: istock

 


David Bowman

David Bowman (DMin, PCC) is a Younique Founding Master Trainer and an Auxano Lead Navigator. 



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