Dinner With My Publisher (Sounds Kind of Hoity-Toity Doesn't It?)
The first day of this journey I stopped in Louisville to have dinner with my publisher, Nevan Hooker. Nevan not only owns Minister's Label Publishing, but he is also the man behind ONLY144.com, which is a website making available resources of all kinds for children's ministry. While I can't say either one of us got rich trying to ride the coattails of Bob Russell, we both learned valuable lessons from the experience. I hadn't talked to Nevan in a couple of years, so this was a chance to figure out what those lessons were (beyond me not ever wanting to go though the process of writing a book again in someone else's voice).
I won't get specific in regards to Nevan (his story will someday make a pretty good book itself) but in the case of this book, his willingness to be entrepreneurial not only closed a few doors, but opened a few new ones. That's what we talked a lot about over a nice dinner. If you are willing to, as Nevan so aptly put it, "throw some spaghetti up on the wall to see what sticks", life is bound to get a little bit messy. Nothing ventured is nothing gained, but everything gained has a cost, and sometimes the price paid is pretty dear. The price might just be money or time, but it could be a relationship, profession, and even the threat of your sanity. That's way life works sometimes, I suppose. When you think outside of the box, some chapters in relationships and institutions close, and while pages turn to reveal a new chapter of growth, hope, and opportunities.
In Nevan's case one door closing (working in a huge church in Louisville) because he was seeking to open a lot of new doors, led to new doors being open (or namely, the creation of ONLY144.com). For Nevan there have been rewards and costs, but ultimately it's enabled him to do what he set out to do. It was interesting and informative to listen to him reflect on all the changes this has meant in his life. It was also interesting to find out for the first time the degree of risk he took to publish that book as he was seeking to make things happen.
Leaving dinner I couldn't help but reflect on the chances I've taken, and both the cost and reward of those risks taken. Giving up on law school meant getting the chance to go to seminary. Giving up on taking a small church meant getting to take advantage of the opportunities that come to staff people and associates in larger churches. Walking away from the WOC meant learning a lot about myself in the pressure cooker that was the IGRAC, and ultimately getting to live and serve in Goshen at First UMC. Giving up the chance to go to Indianapolis meant getting the chance to find out what it's like to live and work in Lima in my current capacity. On and on it goes..... the road not taken and the journey made.
In any event, it was great to see Nevan and here how well things are going for him. Here's hoping a national fascination with Bob Russell sweeps the country and our book gets downloaded by the millions. But in the event that doesn't happen, you'll be in my prayers Nevan. Can't wait to see what your next adventure holds.