Where are they now?
Everyone has some shelf space devoted to yearbooks, chronicling memorable days gone by. These literary bombs are the result of journalism classes unleashed on a common project, with a semester grade earned for the work product that will be sold to a closed community – the student body – with a limited time horizon – Spring Break until Graduation.
The Yearbook Editor oversees the writing of text that will surround the photos and provide the captions. It’s mostly for the grade: no one will ever read the text. Decades to come, the comments autographed by friends past and pictures capturing zany clothes and bad hair will command the reviews.
The group shots are the basis for intriguing retrospectives. “Where are they now?” is a rewind that traces a fellowship circle into unexpected outcomes that prove – over and over again – how much potential exists where none was perceived.
I’ve been feeling that sense of amazement in tracing some incredible current stories – that don’t seem at all related – to moments when the players were all in a common circle…
About ten years ago, Denny Bellesi was the senior pastor at Coast Hills Community Church in Orange County, California – the church he founded in 1985. Troy Murphy was an associate pastor; Tom Dobyns was a local banking executive, and an involved leader in the congregation at Coast Hills. There were times when a camera would have caught the three men together – in the lobby at the church, at a table at a church dinner, on a project with their sleeves-rolled-up. They were all in process…
Denny was one of the first senior pastors to participate in The Master’s Program. During his time in TMP, he used a weekend message on the Parable of the Talents to distribute 100 – $100 bills to shocked service attenders to launch a Kingdom Assignment, and engage them in the biblical story. The results became national news, and Denny found his Kingdom Calling leading him out of the church he planted 20 years earlier to challenge churches – and, Christians – toward strategic, radical stewardship.
Later, Tom took Denny’s advice and enrolled in TMP. He embraced TMP’s approach to life planning that helped him navigate successive career moves in the dynamic banking world of the 21st Century. His opportunities led to the role of President at Mission Community Bank in San Luis Obispo.
Troy’s pastoral career took him from church assignments in Southern California to a ten-year stint at Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois. A few years ago, he became the senior pastor at Green Bay Community Church, and chaplain of the Green Bay Packers. He’s a visionary leader with a heart to see his church penetrate the culture, beyond the limits of the church and its programs.
In the last six weeks, Tom Dobyns has joined forces with Tom Crawford, Chris Skiff and Rienk Ayers – all TMPers from California’s Central Coast – to mobilize the launch of a new cohort of Master’s Program participants in San Luis Obispo, involving dozens of leaders in a process that could create significant Kingdom impact in the area and the world as the fellowship of Christians leaders finds collaborative potential.
This morning, Troy Murphy hosted an introductory briefing for about 40 men in his church to hear about The Master’s Program opportunity to help Christian leaders explore, expose and exploit their Kingdom Calling. Half of those men accepted an invitation to test-drive Session #1 in September, as the next step in launching a satellite site for TMP in Green Bay.
Three leaders, living their calling today in three very different locales, with their individual efforts aligned with their unique personal design. There was a day when they were in close proximity; today, their common outlook places them in disparate zip codes, but serving a unifying purpose.
Who’s in your group photos, today? What is the future that awaits each of the faces, in the moving mosaic that is modern life? What are you doing today to prepare for those futures to be eternally meaningful, setting the stage for a reunion in Glory that will celebrate the unexpected?
Where are they now?