Personal Update

Ryan Hayden • April 27, 2023

ministry personal pastoring

The last month or so I've been very silent online, both on my blog and on twitter. Despite that, it's been a very busy month, and I wanted to post an update about what I've been up to.

We have a new pastoral apprentice

Months ago I wrote about what I see are the perils of the Bible College system and suggested an alternative: pastoral apprenticeship. God has brought our church it's first pastoral apprentice - a young man named Nathan Stahlman. Nathan is married, works a job remotely and has a bachelor's degree in business and feels God is calling him to be a pastor but has no interest in Bible college.

I'm probably going to write more in the future about this, because it's been really awesome, but basically he has an assigned book every month and we meet together weekly to discuss what he is reading and talk about different subjects. I'm creating a plan for two years that should approximate what you would learn in a good Bible college program and plus is heavy on practical pastoral experience. He also is active in our church and will preach once a month (with the expectation that I coach him on preaching.)

This is not a job. In fact, Nathan has no position in our church. I'm not asking him to do anything. If he wanted to teach a Sunday school class or start a ministry - I certainly would let him. But he isn't here to be a youth pastor (or something like that) - he is here to learn to be a pastor and that is our focus.

I have been obsessed with marriage

I am in a season in our church right now where several young people are getting married. At the same time, both in and out of the church, I've watched marriages fall apart and people I love and respect fall into adultery. Through all of this I've come to the conclusion that I need to invest more in my own marriage.

So I've been reading a ton of marriage books. I've been studying the scriptures about marriage. I've been working hard at implementing changes in my own life to prioritize my relationship with Amanda. I owe my wife this, and I want to be sure that our marriage is exemplary for our church and our children. It's been really good.

I started a weekly BBQ Fundraiser

My two oldest girls have been pestering me for at least six years about going to South Africa to visit our many missionary friends there. At the same time, I've been telling those same missionary friends I'd take a trip for at least that long. But...that's a lot of money. We need to raise at least $7,000 to go.

A few weeks ago, I had an idea. What if I started a family meal service that only made one meal. Once a week, me and the girls would cook BBQ with lots of sides and then portion it out for a family for a donation to our mission trip fund. It's a real win-win: a family gets an awesome meal that is way cheaper than a restaurant (and much better) and we get to raise funds for our Africa trip.

So I've started Mission Trip BBQ. We've done it two weeks in a row now and I'm already booked for my next cook (which is over a week away) and have started booking the week after. We are racking up raving reviews on facebook, already have repeat customers, and have had people drive an hour to pick up their meals. Each week, we net at least $200 for our trip, and it seems like it's sustainable. I'm actually thinking about buying a bigger smoker so we can serve more people.

I really enjoy this. My kids are learning about business. They are learning a lot about cooking. (They can now make baked beans, mac and cheese and cornbread from scratch.) We aren't just asking people for money, it is hard work. But it's rewarding. I can imagine this growing and us doing this every year to pay for a mission trip.

I'm freelancing (badly) and looking for alternatives

We have had an expensive couple of months: multiple funerals out of state I needed to attend. Trips to St. Louis for doctor's appointments for Noah. We have homeschool books and our family vacation coming up. At the same time my salary got more than cut in half this year when I exited my business and decided to focus more on pastoring.

I've taken on a few projects to help pay the bills. But finding time to do those projects has been really, really hard for me. Web development is one of those things that just sucks creative energy out of you - and after preaching three times a week and trying to be a faithful pastor - there just isn't that much creative energy left.

So I'm really praying about finding some alternative way to make some extra money and not doing web development anymore after I finish my current projects. It's a really scary decision. Still not sure what to do.

Comments powered by Talkyard.