Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Opportunity

"Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional."

I love this quote.  It sums up the life Natalie and I have been blessed with.  I had a friend tell me the other day that Natalie and I haven't chosen an "easy life."  He told me that he finds strength in the way that we live life.  This was one of the greatest compliments paid to me as our life is not easy (living apart in med school, infertility, adoption, moving 10 times in 8 years, HIV adoption, Natalie working 90+ hrs per week, me balancing a career, kids, church, etc.).  To know that my friend views that we do this willingly, happily (most of the time) and with the goal of loving people is encouraging. 

For the past 2 1/2 years, I (JT) have worked for Family & Children's Place as Associate Director of Development.  FCP's mission is "to strengthen our community through healing the trauma of abuse, violence and neglect and promoting safe, healthy and stable families through research based services."  I have been honored to work with some of the best therapists and counselors our community has.  To see the cycle of child sexual abuse end at our Child Advocacy Center is amazing.  I am humbled to have been chosen to advocate for the most vulnerable population of our community: abused children.  I have seen our community rally around this cause and finish a campaign that raised $11.5 million to open a state-of-the-art CAC dedicated to the treatment of  victims of sexual abuse.  I have solicited gifts that were tens of thousands of dollars and connected many people to our mission.  As I look back on my time, I realize that I am the blessed one. 

As we all realize at some point in life, nothing lasts forever.  For the past six months, I have felt a nudge that said maybe my time at FCP was drawing to a close.  I did not know what the next step in my career would be.  Natalie and I were very prayerful in seeking what a career change would look like.  Most of you know that we are very passionate about our church, The Avenue.  We have been involved in The Ave since its infancy.  It is a church plant on campus at the University of Louisville.  I have the pleasure of serving as an elder here.  

The Avenue has to function differently than most churches.  90% of our attendees are younger than 25.  As you can imagine, our weekly offering is often low.  We joke that sometimes people tithe a half eaten bag of Doritos.  Our goal at The Avenue is to plant churches on 100 secular college campuses in ten years.  Read more about that plan here.  In order to achieve our vision, we have to generate revenue.  I was approached by The Ave staff about coming on board with the task of helping us become financial sustainable.  My title will be Business Administrator and will allow me to wear a number of different hats including: starting an Orphan Care outreach at our church (very cool), mentoring/discipling college students and young adults and connecting with the UL campus.       

Here are some reasons I am excited for this switch:

-I love working with college students.  College students are passionate about "doing" not talking.  They hate the "lip service" generation and want to be the hands and feet of Christ.  They are passionate about social justice.  They keep me young and I hope I can provide counsel and wisdom.
-I get to continue to do what I do best which is helping people find and connect to their passion.  Plain and simple, this is where I find my energy and happiness.
-Pace of life with our family.  This job will allow me to pick my boys up from school every day and have more time at home to help Natalie.  This is priceless to Natalie and me.  Since Natalie started residency, we feel like we are burning the candle at both ends.  This switch should allow a little more margin and rest.
-I get to work with some of my best friends.  Read more about those guys and girls here.

Our family is so excited about this move.  I am saddened to leave behind so many good relationships at FCP but know that I have left this place a little better than I found it. 

I will finish with the best career advice I have ever been given.  It is advice that I strive to live every day and something I have repeated to many of my friends.  I had the pleasure of working for the all-time winningest college basketball coach, Don Meyer.  He has told me at least a thousand times that the key to a successful life is:

-Find your gift
-Develop your gift
-Give your gift away to as many people as possible