You were made to live a supernatural story. What’s holding you back?
To see me now, the founder of Resolute, a men’s discipleship and leadership development organization, you might suspect a fairly normal, healthy history. But my life hasn’t been a fairy tale. In fact, without the intervention of one man, my story might have been something you’d have read about in the crime section of the newspaper.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. My mom married and divorced multiple times. My biological father was a notorious man in the area. My stepfather was absent. And me, well I was influenced by all this.
My mother’s father was the only Christian in my family. As he watched his daughter make difficult and wrong decisions that impacted me negatively, my grandfather decided to take action. He stepped up, and when I was 12, started picking me up from school, having me over for dinner, and eventually, having me spend the weekend. By my mid-teens, I lived in an apartment in my grandparent’s basement.
During that time I witnessed my grandfather live a very different life than my parents.
Even so, by my late teens, I’d moved out and was drawn into the lifestyle of my father.
In the depth of my heart, I knew my life wasn’t working. I felt trapped and broken. I remembered that my grandparents’ lives worked, so I returned to them, but I wasn’t ready to give God a chance.
I pulled up in front of my grandparents’ house in my junker 1957 Volkswagen truck, ugliest vehicle on the planet. Grandfather opened the door, smiled and let me in. He was quiet and first and then turned to tell my grandmother, “Our son has come home.” That was it. No lecture, but they made me attend church. A few months later after my Grandfather witnessed my progress he informed me I’d be attending a Christian college that they were willing to pay for.
I was the only non-Christian at an all Christian college, and eventually, I made the decision to follow Christ.
Then my grandfather fell severely sick with cancer only months later.
Arriving at my grandfather’s bedside, I almost didn’t recognize him, the cancer had already taken so much of him. We talked for an hour about just about everything. Then he took his last breath. When that happened, I prayed, “God, for the rest of my life I want to do for other men what my grandfather did for me. But God I would like you to replace my grandfather’s relationship to me with somebody else.”
I returned to college after the funeral, and was on campus for one hour when I met a girl from Minnesota, Christina Lynn Brannum. No kidding, the woman who would become my wife.
For the last 23 years I’ve worked in full-time ministry, but continued to be wrecked by the part of the prayer where I committed to helping men.
Three to five years ago I was wondering “Am I living out the call that God would have for my life?” Although growing in leadership and career-wise, my passion had stalled out.
So about two years ago I walked in to my senior leader’s office, where I was the head of strategic development and said, “I think my time is done,” and walked away with a nice severance for the next nine months.
Then, for the next nine months I did nothing but wait on God.
With time and money running out, it was time to find a job. I ended up with two outstanding job offers that came at the same time. I chose, then a week later, the founder of the ministry that hired me said he’d changed his mind.
I vividly remember sitting in front of this guy listening to him share why he’d changed his mind, and I wasn’t angry at him. But for the next month, I was bitter and angry with God.
I can’t even describe the pain of the prayers, hours and hours of prayer everyday where I felt like my whole identity was gone and stripped away.
Then, on Valentine’s Day my wife said, “Let’s take that last one hundred dollars we have and go out for Valentine’s Day.” No kidding. It was all we had. Three kids, house, one hundred dollars and one dinner. At dinner, Christina looked at me and said, “Vince, I think you should do that ministry thing that you’ve talked about for the last ten years.”
My response? “You’re crazy.”
I prayed for a week. Then three days into prayer I sensed the need for repentance. I had been disobedient, arrogant, and acted entitled toward God.
I’ll never forget the last day of prayer. It seemed like some sort of supernatural conversation. I sensed God say to me “I took all the options off the table so that you would do the thing that you promised that you were going to do twenty years ago. I want you to live with the sight of faith, fearing only me, doing the unknown and living in moments that you really don’t understand. I want you to push away from the security of this life and give it your all.”
A month later I founded Resolute. One year later we have eight employees, and over two hundred men that are being discipled in small groups we call cohorts. Men from all walks of life; CEO’s to blue collared guys, who are all looking for the same thing; purpose and significance.
Do you know what is required to find purpose and significance?
It requires us to live fearlessly in the face of the unknown with conviction.