“I thought Jesus had died a gruesome death to change God’s mind about me when really He died to change my mind about God.”
Randall’s ability to share the message of grace is incomparable. He’s a moving speaker and author who dances well between genius quotes and radical vulnerability. He is also a mentor to giants of the faith and now (fortunately for me) my friend.
Yeah, I like the man. And I know for a fact that the world needs to listen to him more.
(Check his teaching below on Living In Mystery)
I’m excited that he shared his heart with us in this interview.
Read, follow and enjoy:
1. What was your lowest point in ministry?
Over 10 years ago I resigned the church that I had Pastored to itinerate full-time. Many in the congregation couldn’t process why I made such a decision after 25 years of relative success. The transition from a senior pastor with a degree of financial security to depending on an unknown weekly income tested my ability to trust God in new ways. To exacerbate the situation more, I had been questioning whether or not I was ever called to begin with. I was ready to quit. I learned a couple of things in the first five years living on the road. One is that our ascension in the purposes of God is always proportionate to our descending. The way up is down. Second, I had never fully trusted God. For years I prided myself in knowing how to “think my way through” difficulty. I was learning I had to trust my way forward.
2. As a church father, what do you think of the increasing Millennial expression of church?
At 58 years old I am more excited about what I am experiencing in working with millennials that I have been in almost 4 decades of ministry! They don’t want to be told what to think but to engage with leaders that demonstrate intelligent humility. They are not rebellious as many have branded them. They sincerely want to interface with fathers that don’t perceive themselves as guardians of “truth”, but fellow seekers. They are not afraid to ask the hard questions about God and the bible. Their audacious curiosity incites me think more deeply than ever before. I really think God doesn’t test to see what we’ve learned as if he doesn’t already know. He tests us to see if we are still willing to learn.
3. How do you balance travels, preaching, family, ministry?
My wife and I have been married for almost 39 years. We have 3 sons and 5 grandchildren. So we have been empty nesters for a long time. My speaking schedule requires thousands of miles of travel. She doesn’t like to go on the long international trips because it can be so grueling just getting there and then the meetings can be very tiring also. I have been limiting of late how many days I am away from her. And when I am home I am gladly fully present to her. We spend time on the beach, play cards, and watch classic movies. She is my best friend and spiritual mentor. People know me as a communicator from the various venues I speak in. She doesn’t like being in front of crowds. Very few people know that she has taught me more about life and love than anyone I have ever known.
4. What would you do if the leaders of ISIS wanted to come over for dinner?
I understand in the Middle Eastern culture that having a meal with someone has completely different implications than here in the west. We are very casual about who we have a meal with. We have meals with people we hardly know with no intention of developing a relationship. They, on the other hand see the sharing of a meal together as being a very intimate experience. I would first feel honored and ask God for the grace to suspend all the bias I may have due to the way they have portrayed by our media. I think most of the time our “enemies” are our enemies only because we don’t know their story.
5. What does the perfect church look like?
A “perfect church” is somewhat of an oxymoron as far as the expectations church people seem to have. Its like being “clearly confused”, “act naturally”, or “virtual reality.” I am learning more and more these days about the spirituality of imperfection. God has a weakness; its our weakness, He cannot resist it. Perfection in the New Testament is not a word that connotes being flawless but rather continuing to mature. So perfection is not about our efforts to be “perfect” but Gods ability to perfect us through a very individualized curriculum. It is important to recognize not everyone grows or learns the same way. Spiritual growth is not formulaic. It’s not a one size fits all. The same amount of water it is takes to grow a rose-bush would drown a cactus.
6. Who do you read most? And why?
For many years I have always been reading several books at any given time that are very diverse in subject matter. Of late I’ve been reading Richard Rohr, Carl McColman, Thomas Merton, Peter Enns, Brian Zahnd, and Robert Farrar Capon. Next on my list is Ken Wilbur’s book on Spiral Dynamics.
7. Favorite show on Netflix
That’s a hard one. My wife and I have several favorites. A couple we really enjoyed was Breaking Bad and Justified. May surprise some since they are a little dark.
8. What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?
That he loved the mother of his children well and that he never ceased to embrace the mystery of all that God is and is in.
Find more about Randall at www.randallworley.com
Get his phenomenal book: Brush Strokes of Grace: Finding Grace In A Graceless World