This may be the single most difficult season that we have experienced in 4Tucson so far. It has certainly been a very difficult season for me personally. I am using this season to revisit the vision God gave me in 2007 that has become the foundation of 4Tucson. My first citywide presentation of the 4Tucson model was in January 2010, when few believed it was possible to get Christians in the city to work together. We can all agree that we have come a long way in eight years.
I am taking the opportunity during this season to reflect on my role in carrying the 4Tucson vision to completion. This is a 20 to 25-year plan. A pastor friend of mine visited the office to pray with me. He shared that through this process I would be vulnerable to a wide range of emotions. At the time I had no idea how accurate his counsel would be.
In the consultant’s report to the Board of Directors, TJ Addington shared statements by my co-workers and friends – statements about deficiencies in my leadership style, deficits in my personality type, the negative aspects of my strengths and shortfalls in my character. It was harsh. It was humiliating to hear statements made by my peers read out loud in front of the Board of Directors, each of whom I deeply respect. It was equally embarrassing to share TJ’s Executive Summary with you in the Corporate Newsletter.
After hearing the consultant’s report to the Board, I offered my resignation. There were more than enough negative sentiments supplied in the report to justify accepting my resignation. It was the consultant’s recommendation to the Board that I not be kept in role of CEO of 4Tucson. My emotion at that moment was overwhelming disappointment that I had failed in what God called me to do. I had failed the people who believed in the vision.
After taking a few days of contemplation and prayer, the Board meet again. They each unanimously affirmed me to continue in my role as CEO of 4Tucson. I experienced two emotions back-to-back when the Board went around the room, each voicing their vote of confidence. The first emotion was overwhelming gratefulness that the Board would allow me to finish what I started. The second emotion, almost immediately following the first, was deep distress. I knew instantly the challenges ahead if I remained CEO.
A few days later, in my personal quiet time, I experienced the crushing emotion of inadequacy. I recalled in my mind the seemingly endless list of statements that were made against me. “Why would God call me to something that He knows I am inadequate to accomplish? Why would the Board encourage me to keep going after hearing the list of my inadequacies? Why would I be foolish enough to believe God could use me? Maybe it would be best if I quit after all.” These were all the thoughts that ran through my mind.
About a week later, I started feeling self-righteous indignation. While many of those negative statements were people’s perceptions, and many were true, I recounted them through the lens of my best intention, “I have tried so hard to the do the right things, the right way. I have given it my best. Don’t I get any credit for the good things I have done and done well?” Then, within minutes, I had feelings of resignation and failure, again. “Surely the dozens of people who know me best and have observed my shortcomings can’t be wrong. There is truth in at least some of the statements, if not most,” I replayed in my mind.
This week I have spent time reflecting on a question posed by one of the Board members: “Even if you believe God called you to this task … even if the Board has been unanimous in affirming you to stay in the role as CEO … and even if a consultant could help you with your glaring deficits, do you want to do this job?” When he posed the question, my immediate answer was, “Yes, I want to complete what I have started.” This week, however, I am not as confident. Emotionally, I just want off this roller coaster.
I have received phone calls, personal visits and emails from people who have invested themselves, their finances and their reputations into 4Tucson. Most are extremely encouraging. Others have shared their considerable doubt about the future of 4Tucson with me in the role of CEO. The divergence of these conversations have fueled my feelings of uncertainty.
Before I started 4Tucson, I was asked by a pastor friend of mine, “Mark, is Jesus enough for you?” He said, “It is easy to say we love God and that we trust Him when things are going well. It really tests one’s faith when things are not going so well. What you are talking about doing in Tucson is going to test your faith to its limits. Will Jesus be enough for you?”
I can honestly share with you that through all of these emotional ups and downs, my confidence and faith in God has not wavered. My confidence that God has given me this vision has not faltered. If every precious thing in my life is taken away, what Jesus did on the cross is enough for me. If 4Tucson fails, after giving it my all, Jesus’ love for me, is and always will be enough for me. Even if I die trying to fulfill the vision God has given me, Jesus is enough for me. Every other good thing I receive in life is just a bonus.
So where am I emotionally at this moment? As I write this, with tears running down my cheeks, all I can say for certain is that I am willing to be obedient to God’s call to implement the vision of biblical city transformation through 4Tucson, until such time as He releases me from that call. The decision to be obedient doesn’t feel good emotionally. Everything inside me is crying out for God to release me from the call.
It has become abundantly clear in this season, that I cannot fulfill God’s call alone. God has brought some extraordinary people to serve with me in 4Tucson.This next season of 4Tucson will see God bring many more extraordinary Christians who what to see the vision of biblical city transformation in Tucson fulfilled and who are willing to be obedient to God’s call in their lives to make it happen. What we are attempting is not easy. It will test the faith of everyone willing to take this journey with me.
From this experience, I recognize that I have some personal deficits that must be worked on if I am to become the leader God needs me to be to fulfill His purposes. With many of my weakness exposed, God has seen fit to continue to use me. I want you to know that I am committed to grow in the areas that have been uncovered. I recognize that I need help to do that, and the Board has hired TJ to help me.
Often, I have asked people to pray for our city. Today, as sincerely as I am able, I ask that you pray for me. I cannot do what God has called me to do without His divine intervention and your faithful intercession. The job is just too big. I also cannot do this without you. If the vision is to be accomplished, it means I will need faithful Christians who are strong in areas where I am weak to help me. I need your help more than ever. I need your support more than ever. Would you also pray for God to reveal your role in transforming our city? Together, I am confident that the best days for 4Tucson are still ahead.
Thank you for letting me share my heart with you. I will keep you informed of my progress.