Leaving the Company I Cofounded
Ryan Hayden • December 9, 2022news personal
The last few months have been some of the craziest months of my life:
- To start, my son Noah has been going through some yet-undefined health crisis that has required lots of two hour one-way trips to specialists. We still haven't figured out what is causing his issues.
- We had a fifth child. We now have a 13 year old, a 12 year old, a 9 year old, a two year old and a 3 month old. So on top of doing the teenager thing, we have two babies in the house again. Even without Noah's issues this would be incredibly stressful.
- Our church is showing signs of growth, including lots of visitors and purchasing adjacent property. I feel like this is a critical juncture in the life of our church and that our church needs leadership right now.
In the middle of all of that, a couple of things happened:
- I realized I wasn't being a very good business partner. My children's health issues and my commitment to my church was severely limiting my usefulness to my company.
- I realized I wasn't being a very good pastor. I was faithfully preaching, but had little left in the tank to shepherd our church.
- I realized that, if I could do anything, I wouldn't be doing software for hire. I love software, but I am no business guy, and I wanted to give my time to church work.
So, I'm in the process of exiting the company I started and returning to some kind of "full time ministry." I'm still going to have to do some work on the side (I have five kids after all), but I want my main thing (after my family) to be Bible Baptist Church. For now, that is enough.
I want to say to all of the people who I got to work with at Build Online - thank you from the bottom of my heart. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would get to start a company and work with such awesome people building such cool things. Waking up every day to solve problems with you was incredibly fulfilling. Flying around the country to do discovery meetings gave me some incredible memories I'll never forget. Seeing you grow has been amazing. You may have started as coworkers, but you became dear friends, and I'm grateful for the time we got to spend together.
To my business partners, I want to say a special thank you. We went on quite a journey together and I respect you as much as any two people I know. I'm not a gambling man, but I'd bet on your success any day. Thank you for your friendship and kindness, especially in the last few difficult months when my time has been so dominated by what's been going on with my family.
To our clients I want to say you are in great hands. The developers at Build Online are some of the smartest people I've ever met. Luke Miller is a modern Joseph, and everything he touches gets better because he is there. Further, both the owners and the team at Build Online are people of integrity who I trust to do the right thing even if it hurts them.
I remember being a poor newly-graduated school teacher who used to go to Barnes and Nobles and read books on web development that I couldn't afford. I remember driving by the local web development shop on a commute and dreaming about working at a place like that. I remember looking at some of the web apps that are out there and dreaming of what it must be like to be on there team. Somehow, with Build Online, I got to live out all of those fantasies and more. It truly was a fulfillment of Matthew 6:33 for me:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Like a young sailor returning from his first voyage, maybe I had to see the great big world to really appreciate my own little hamlet and to fully take up my place in it. The biggest thing I think I've learned from this is that I am a pastor all the way down and to be a pastor is no small thing.
I think I'll always program (indeed, I'm working on a project right now), but whatever I do will be primarily for my church and churches like it, because that is where my heart is.
I'm hoping to return to making more devotional videos, possibly doing some podcasting, and I'm even considering some advanced theological education, but for the next few months I think I'm going to take it easy, get back in shape and reconnect with my family and church family.
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