Dave Vick, Scottsdale, AZ
During the first few weeks of the Journey, I went back and forth as to whether I wanted to continue. It was so hard for me to be honest and open with others in the Church again. Bad experiences in the past. I really thought I would quit the group. But something kept poking at my spirit to stay with it, although it probably was my wife’s prodding that kept me going. As we got into the second phase and studied abiding, that’s when it kicked in for me. Hearing the guys talk about it as well was so helpful. Their descriptions of how God was speaking to them, their perspective on the subjects, and our mutual encouragement of each other, began to give me new light. God was using them and His Word to change my fearful heart.
I have lived in fear all my life. A thousand forms of fear and panic. I can honestly say that while I still experience occasional bouts with fear, the group has given me tools to stay close to Jesus when I am afraid and know that there are others who care about me and pray for me. It is bigger than Sunday School answers to real life problems. It is life altering. The Spirit’s work through the group has given me a new identity. I am not the old Dave anymore. Ha, even my wife keeps affirming that. We have gone through some of the hardest things in our lives and God has used those events and the Journey men to teach me a new way to live. I am deeply grateful and challenged that it is ending.
One additional thing that has happened to me is in the area of ministry and making disciples. I am convinced that God is asking me, as well as other disciples, to reproduce our faith in Jesus in others. To be committed to that mission. However, because of my past behaviors of being arrogant, self-centered, and self-seeking in these efforts, my family suffered greatly. My wife has been very reluctant to see me go back into a “ministry mindset.” Through the last 9 months God has been hard at work in me, and I believe I am a different person. Better yet, my wife has told me so. She says I am more humble (you’ll have to trust her on that), less arrogant and more conscious of the needs of my family as a priority. That I am not trying to build Dave’s kingdom anymore and that I’m wanting to sincerely help and serve others, especially her. And she feels comfortable with me serving in those areas God has gifted me. When that comes from your wife who has been hurt in the past, it means God has done tremendous healing in our lives together. I am exceedingly grateful that the Journey men have been so essential in this healing and direction.
The gift assessment affirmed that my gifts are teaching, evangelism, and leadership. I am looking for ways to use them in my family first, friends and church. Family/church by going through both a journey group with my wife and other couples in the church. Plus, I have asked a few extended family members if they would like to go through the first 6 weeks. I am developing that group. I will also be joining some friends in Seattle this fall and want to start a group for them as well. I will be finishing (eventually) the book I have been working on and looking to insert that as an evangelistic tool into various platforms.
I have been a believer for 46 years. I have been a pastor and church elder. I have been involved in many small group efforts by various churches. I can honestly say that this experience has reshaped me more than all of those. Maybe it was timing, maybe it was God using this and other efforts in my life. However, I am confident that the Journey experience is all about making disciples and spiritual formation, and in so doing is the most valuable church experience to date. It’s like I’ve found Jesus again and I am committed to His mission in my family, friends, church, and beyond. I am very grateful!