Friday, May 20, 2011

Encounters With God: Brandon Baker

Today we are honored to share a guest post from Brandon Baker. Brandon is a youth minister and social worker in Temple, TX, and a regular contributer to my Twitter feed.  Please visit Brandon's blog and follow him on Twitter; his info for both can be found at the bottom of this post. And as always, please leave comments and let Brandon know how much we appreciate his willingness to share.

Go Home. Quit. 
I have often listened for a “word from God”, but I was not looking for this word. In 2006, I had never felt better about my personal competencies and ministry effectiveness, or more hopeful in the life of our congregation. Yet, after a couple changes in our leadership I became depressed, pessimistic, and discouraged.

I boarded a plane in Baltimore and headed for the desert looking for an encounter with God. Big Bend National Park in Texas was the desolate place that I hoped would bring renewed vision for all that God would do through me at my church. But after 8 long hours sitting alone on this desert mountain, all I heard was silence.

Apparently, God can’t be forced to speak. He wasn’t going to do what I wanted him to do. I wanted vision, affirmation, encouragement, and approval. But as I walked down the mountain to my tent, I was convinced of a different message, “Go Home. Quit. There’s a line of people to take your place.”

Whether it was an actual word from God, I don’t know. But it was true. I went home. I quit. And God did much more through the person who took my place than he could have done with me.

Lessons for ministry from my encounter with God:
1. God doesn’t need me.
2. God may exclude me.
3. High anxiety, depression, and frustration were signs of ego-ministry.

The Lord said to Elijah, “Go back the way you came...and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet...I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19

Brandon Baker
Youth Minister
Temple, TX


  1. Brandon, thanks so much for contributing to this series, and for once again reminding us that it's all about Jesus- it's not about us!

  2. It was a pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity!


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