I was realizing today how much things have changed in the past year. 14 months ago I lost my job. I must confess I was upset for about an hour. It had everything to do with the shock, and how it was done. But I got over it. One of the big reasons I got over it quickly was that I knew this was a way God was giving me to fulfill my dreams.
Just 2 days before October 8, 2010, I was up early preparing for a sales rally when I verbally expressed what I have been feeling for years. It went something like this, “God when am I going to be able to do what I want to do!” The Father and I both knew that I was talking about serving full-time at Common Heart, doing what I loved. And it also meant completing one of the only regrets I have had, that I did not get my college degree. And so armed with Unemployment Insurance and the Workforce Investment Act I began to follow both of these dreams.
Just 14 months later, here I am looking over what has happened and what lies ahead. I have just finished my Associates of Arts degree at Central Piedmont Community College with a 4.0 GPA. I am heading to Wingate University, Matthews Campus to finish that Business degree I started in 1979. The plan calls for part-time night school with a completion date in Fall 2013.
On the full-time serving front, I have been able to devote myself to Common Heart. In this short time, we have moved to a facility almost 3 times as large as the one on Garmon Rd. Common Cupboard has more volunteers, and has a greater reach into our community than ever before. We opened Common Things Thrift Store. Through the store we have increased our exposure in the community. More and more people are getting excited about Common Heart and Common Cupboard through the great public relations (just good old-fashioned kindness extended by Deb (my wife) and our staff). The Commonplace has become a hub-bub of activity. We have an amazing group of volunteers that makes it all happen.
We also held our first Common Cupboard Golf Classic last April. Folks had a wonderful time and we raised some needed funds. This past year, not only have we increase volunteers reaching out into homes through Common Cupboard, and created a whole new staff of volunteers for Common Things, we have added our first part-time administrative volunteer helping me to coordinate the new endeavors.
In July we held the first Commonplace Festival as a way to connect more with the community. Many attended and the exposure we received through The Charlotte Observer in preparation for the Festival had (and continues to have) an amazing impact. The fall continued with our Annual Banquet, expanding in to larger facilities. Due to the banquet and the Classic we have increased the local business community support. The business support continued during our Great Turkey Countdown which this year reached 402 families with over 100 delivery teams and 150 packing volunteers.
To move away from the program / achievement side to the personal side of Common Heart. I have personally ministered to more people than I have in a long time. Being freed to serve has freed me to be what I have been called to be. Common Heart born of my passion to see people equipped to serve has equipped me to serve. I joyously head in to “work” every day. I have been able to see two competing tendencies in my personality come together in a wonderful way to lead this organization. I have tended to love one aspect, what I know as the “innovator” and despised the other I know as the “field marshal”. The best of both has had to come together. I have been seeing the real synergy that these two aspects bring to me as a leader, and I am starting to love my inner ” innovative-field marshal”.
My wife is excited as she too is able to be involved intimately in the day-to-day activities of Common Heart through Common Things Thrift Store. She is seeing her dream of a family business come to life as we not only work together, but so does my parents, our son Kyril, and our nephews Logan and Lucas working together on various aspects of Common Heart. I can not imagine not going in to work at The Commonplace.
I love what I do. I love connecting people with opportunities to serve. I enjoy meeting new people and seeing how God puts things together. Leading this organization, as the dreams of my heart are coming true, is exciting. As the new year approaches we have several new and exciting things on the horizon all pointing in one way or another to the birthing of what has been stirring in my heart for so many years. I will share more about it in the upcoming posts, but I can tell you that what I see ahead will give Common Heart a greater way to “bridge the gap together”, putting followers of Jesus to action meeting needs, serving the community, seeing lives improve and faith grow stronger.
So here I am at the end of the year looking ahead. Here at the new year I am looking down the road and although I see a fork in the road, I can only imagine one way ahead. The one fork leads back to full-time employment, and the other leads to leading this ministry fully engaged in the dream. I can not imagine going back to a full-time job. I can only see following this road I have been on for the past 14 months. For this I need help.
I have been working hard to develop the funding and the outreach of Common Heart and it shows. We have a viable nonprofit with volunteer leadership. The board agrees that we are now at the point to create the full-time salaried position of Executive Director. They have authorized the salary if we raise the funds.
One of the things I tell our volunteers is that they are missionaries of God’s love in our community. That is what I am too! And now I find myself actually looking for the financial support to be that missionary. We have built Common Cupboard to equip followers of Jesus to be missionaries. We have started Common Things to invite the community in to experience with us God’s kindness while being the public face for the Cupboard. And in the coming months as the dream becomes even more real through the further development of Common Heart, more families in our community will see their dreams come to pass through the kindness of God working through the active faith of caring followers of Jesus.
I am excited. I am prayerful. I am looking for the support of my friends as I step out in faith again to see the dream that is Common Heart become an even greater reality. Will you pray with me? There is a lot of work ahead. As I walk toward the fork, looking for work and looking for the support, I am hoping that one becomes the on ramp for a dream.
In the next few posts I will be sharing more about the dream that is coming true in the next few months. I will build the “Bridge” for you so you will see how Common Heart is developing and I will be asking for your prayers and support. Please pray with me. Please consider becoming one of my supporters by committing to pray for us and pledging to financially support Deb and I by giving to Common Heart monthly. To find out more about giving to create this On Ramp to a Dream click here –> On Ramp.
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