#1 Embrace the Adventure! My new license plate has a short slogan near the bottom that reads “The Last Frontier,” which has become the states most popular nickname! Home to places like Denali National Park, Mt McKinley & Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska is synonymous with the word “Adventure” & draws travelers from all over the world to hike, hunt & journey on the adventure of a lifetime! Alaska has reminded me to embrace the adventure that is serving the Lord! God often calls us at inconvenient times, to leave safety & familiarity & travel off the map into uncharted territory to reach the people he died to save!
#2 Adaptability is Essential! Alaska is a land of extremes – extreme geography, extreme animals & extreme weather! We get about 3 hours of sunlight each day in December with temps that can dip 50 degrees below zero! After moving up from Cali in the dead of winter, I quickly realized that my dress code needed to adapt if I was to survive the winter! Another nickname for Alaska is the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” due to the 22 hours of sunlight per day & temps that can exceed 80 degrees in the summer! The interior region is dry & arid, so much so that it recently cracked my Taylor acoustic right down the middle (Sob)! I swiftly learned to begin using a humidifier when storing my guitar if I want to keep playing it! To survive & thrive here, people must be able to adapt to the conditions! As it is in the natural, so it often is in the supernatural! To be effective in life & ministry for the long haul & to make the greatest impact possible, leaders must be able to adapt to new people, places, cultures & seasons! This often means letting go of old ways & learning to do new things! Great leaders can adapt!
#3 Relationships Are Everything! Due to it’s extreme climate & isolation from the rest of “The Lower 48” as they say, Alaska is a place where people need each other & where relationships are highly valued. If it’s below zero & you see someone hitch-hiking on the road, there is an un-written rule that you stop & pick that person up! Because of the long, cold & dark winters that limit travel, people spend much more time together indoors playing games, conversing & sharing life! In our first two months of living here, we received more dinner invites than we did living two years in California! That time spent together has greatly helped us to connect & bond with these people & families of our church in ways that we would never been able to otherwise! Ministry can be relentless with endless messages to prepare, teams to build, vision to cast, events to plan & admin to conquer, but at the end of the day the most important aspect of ministry above all else is loving people! Most people spell love as – T.I.M.E. In life & even more so in ministry, the quality time you spend with someone is the most productive & powerful thing you can do!