I am off again, this time to one of my favorite places—New England. I wish it were fall, or at least spring, but it seems to still be a bit cold back there after a long dark winter, as I hear it from many. I’m going to get to hang out with friends old and new, and talk about one of my favorite subjects—how God won us to his affection through the cross.
I am often asked, “What does it take to get Wayne to come visit our group?” It almost sounds like it is an impossible task, especially in the last few years when people thought my popularity had increased and it was all that much more difficult or costly for me to come. That is not true. While the last few years have been a nightmare trying to navigate in the shadow of the popularity of THE SHACK and the increased interest in two of my other titles, my passion to help others on this journey has not changed. And I find that far more effective in a living room of 20 or 30 than I do a conference hall of hundreds.
God asked me to engage that craziness for a season, but it has not been an enjoyable season and it complicated my life in so many ways. For the last six months I’ve been seeking to lay all of that down to get back to that which I love most, communicating with people about this journey, whether it be through writings, recordings, or personal visits. All have a different capacity to communicate and help encourage God’s unfolding kingdom in the world.
So what does it take to get Wayne to come for a visit? It really isn’t that complicated. All of my trips start with an invitation. Ask. Then both of us can begin to pray about a timing and a purpose. When God gives us both a clear “go” for the same timing, then we move ahead with the planning. That’s really it. I don’t charge an appearance fee or even make sure the group can cover my expenses. My thinking is this. If Father has it on his heart then he will provide everything we need to make to make it happen. And I don’t schedule very far out, usually 2-3 months domestically, so that I can be more flexible to engage those more propitious moments where a crisis or a critical transition make it most helpful for me to be with a specific group.
And while I already have more invitations to travel than I can probably fulfill in the next two years, I don’t handle requests in the order they were received. They all go on a list and we pray over them to see what Father has in mind. The sense that I’ve had over the last few months is that some people are reticent to follow through with some nudge Father put on their heart because they are afraid I’m too busy. If people do that, however, we’ll both miss some exciting things he might have in store.
So, no, I’m not writing this because I lack invitations, but simply to let those who have had something they think God might have put on their heart and dismissed it because they thought I’d be too busy, to think again. I’m always looking for those opportunities that have Father smile on them, to help people discover the depths of Father’s affections, help groups discover how to engage a relational community that will free God to work in their midst, to connect people in an area who don’t know others near them might be on a similar journey to theirs and to help equip those who have a heart to help others grow on this journey. And I love hanging out, making new friends, and seeing what Father is about in the world.