In January of 1993, I began my career in Christian publishing. For the next 20 years, I served as Marketing Director for a small family publishing company founded by my mother, that eventually grew to have a substantial impact. We published three national magazines, books, and hosted events. We had 50,000 families on our mailing list by the time I left in 2013. During that time, I wrote a regular column for two of the magazines and spoke at conferences on the weekend.
In July of 2013 I left that company and started Family Renewal, LLC with my wife, Brook, and sister Sony. Since that time, I have had six (soon to be seven) books published by Master Books / New Leaf Press and have sold over 40,000 copies. This move has enabled me to spend more time with my family who often travels with me on my speaking tours. Over the years, I have spoken at over 500 in-person events to over 100,000 people, and given well over 1,000 messages. I have spoken in almost every state in the U.S., four Canadian provinces, Mexico twice, Japan twice, England, Russia and Portugal.
I have been invited as a guest on dozens of radio and television shows and have been featured in many major media outlets such as TIME Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, EPOCH Times, New American Magazine, Buzzfeed, HSLDA Court Report, CBN News, American Family Radio, Moody Radio and many, many others.
I have desired to use my life to its fullest potential for the glory of God. I am grateful for the opportunities God has given me and look forward to many more years of being able to encourage and equip His people.
One thing the Lord has been teaching me in a more profound way in the past three years is the importance of not gauging my worth or value in my productivity. I have always been a “Type-A” personality who has a lot of drive and loves to accomplish important work. But I am aware that there will come a day when I am no longer physically able to do the things I have enjoyed for the last 30 years. There will come a time when I am no longer able to speak and write and influence in the way that I have. At some point, people will forget my name, and no one will remember all the work I’ve done. In fact, some day, if God grants me a long life, I will be too feeble to dress myself and will need to be served, rather than to serve. Such is the path of all human existence. While I believe there will be eternal rewards for Kingdom work we do (knowing lives have been impacted is reward enough), our value ultimately is not tied up in what we accomplish.
God doesn’t love me because I’ve done a lot of work and traveled hundreds of thousands of miles and given many sleepless nights to travel and message preparation. God loves me simply because He chose to love me. When I am an old man and am no longer known by anyone besides my immediate family and close friends, God will not love or value me less. He loves me because I am His child and good dads love their children. All of them. The hyper-productive ones and the less productive ones. It is good to do the work we can while we have strength to do it. There are many Bible verses I could quote on that point. But more important than what we do is who we are. What is my personal quiet time with the Lord like? Am I being kind to my wife? Am I leading and guiding my children well? Do I love Jesus? Do I love others?
I praise the Lord for the things He has allowed me to do these past 30 years. It has been an amazing ride and I’ve had some incredible experiences. I will carry those memories with me even when they are distant. But in the end, Christian ministry is a privilege we are all invited to. God does not need any of us. He just chooses to allow us to join Him in His work. All of us are replaceable. The work of the Lord will be accomplished one way or another, with or without us. God is not reliant on you or me, but I am grateful He chooses to welcome us into vital and exciting work that provides meaning for our lives and the lives of those we serve. Whether that is in a public setting, or perhaps more importantly, in a private one, there is meaning and value in the work itself when it is done as an act of worship.
The Lord knows what the future holds and whether my career and life will look similar in the next 30 to the past 30, but either way, it is the same God who called me, and He who calls is faithful and He will accomplish whatever He calls me (and you) to. Thank you to everyone who has played a part in the journey so far. Your love, prayers and friendship mean so much to me! May our Lord keep His hand on you as we walk this road together.
Israel Wayne is the co-founder of Family Renewal, LLC and is an author and conference speaker. He has written the books Questions God Asks, Questions Jesus Asks and Foundations in Faith.