Have You Thought About Walking Away?

Walking AwayI made a new friend recently. During our conversation, he told me about his decision to walk away from a very successful business because he felt God calling him to something different. He did not know where God was calling him, but he knew he had to follow. I think you can draw inspiration from his story – whether you have ever considered walking away or not.

Mark Cress’ Story

In 1993, Mark Cress was part owner of an Inc. 500 company. At 37 years old, he was extremely successful and it appeared he had nothing but blue skies ahead. But then he started to realize that God was calling him to something else. Once he and his wife made the decision to follow God’s call, things changed rapidly. Within months, he was walking away. He had sold his business to the employees, sold his house on the lake, and enrolled in seminary. In less than a total of three years, he had started the organization that is now Corporate Chaplains of America.

Corporate Chaplains of America (CCA) now ministers to more than 800 different business locations. Those locations represent thousands of employees served on a weekly basis. Can you imagine the impact God is having through this organization?

My Story

As I listened to Mark tell his story, I saw a few clear parallels to my own story. At the same time, God sent us down different paths.

All of my life, I had been working toward taking over my family’s business, an automobile dealership group in Georgia. In 2001, I was General Manager of two of our seven locations. I planned to expand and take the company to new heights!  I had visions of grandeur and everything looked like it was headed that way.  But when I began spending time in God’s Word, I realized that everything I wanted and was working for was only temporal.  None of it would really matter in 1,000 years.

My Revelation

I realized I was only giving God the Christian requisite one day per week (actually, just Sunday morning) and an occasional Wednesday evening.  The rest of the time was spent trying to juggle my job in the car business and my family at home.  Even when I added the daily quiet times, God was still not the central focus of my life.  This was not the way He wanted it!

Searching For Answers

I began searching for answers.  If God wanted all of me, what would that look like?  I had heard of people getting “called” into full-time ministry, but I did not feel that call.  I knew of others, like Mark Cress, that were “called” into the mission field, but I did not feel that either.  What exactly was God asking me to do? What was I created to do?

Was I Walking Away?

To tell the truth, I did not have a clue!  I only knew I was not comfortable with the status quo and had to change it. I sat down with my father and explained that I was walking away from the business.  Because I was already in a significant leadership position within the company, I told him I did not want to do it effective immediately.  I wanted him to have time to replace me and make any other arrangements that may be necessary.  This would likely involve downsizing the business and could take a couple of years.

I did not feel God calling me to leave right away, only to let go and be prepared to walk away.  I had no idea where I was going or when.  I only knew I wanted to be spending more of my time working for God – whatever that entailed.

Called To Stay In The Business!

Fast forward eleven years, and I am still in the business! It was almost two years after that conversation with my father that God showed me where He wanted me. Though I thought I was walking away, He showed me that He had placed me in the position I currently held for a purpose and a season. He wanted me to do all I had envisioned in ministry, but He wanted me to do it through the business. As a good friend recently told me, God wanted me in the car ministry!

So that is exactly what I am attempting to do. I have said it many times – I do not have it figured out. Yet I keep showing up. I am determined to allow God to have the eternal impact He desires, through this business. I am only the steward of this business for now. Until He changes my direction, that is the role I will play.

Eternal Impact Either Way

See, Mark Cress followed God’s plan and he is enjoying the fruit of that decision. There is incredible eternal impact coming from his decision to step out of his business and start CCA as a non-profit organization. For me, walking away is not in the cards (at least for now!). God has called me to stay in business and I expect there will be eternal impact from that decision as well.

My point is this…regardless of where God calls you, you can have an eternal impact. There is no reason to think that you have to be a paid staff member of a church to do ministry. Seek God’s guidance, but know that He just may want you doing ministry right where you are!

What would you do?

Do you think this move was too drastic?

Have you thought about walking away?

The Journey Begins…


This is the last in a series of 13 posts that describe, from the beginning, our ongoing journey to integrate our Christian faith into our family automobile business.  This series of posts lays the groundwork for the context of this blog.  This final post wraps it all up and gets it started at the same time!

3 Sources of Godly Wisdom


I made the decision to turn my business over to God.  I was going to run it as a Christian business with an eternal purpose.  Now what?  What does that really look like?  To tell the truth, I had no idea what a Christian business was or what it looked like. I did not even know where to start, so I went to look for help.

An Effective Offsite Brainstorm


After reading Loving Monday by John Beckett, I was blown away at the various ways he was able to integrate his Christian faith into his business.  I began to think about how I could do the same thing with our business.  As I prayed about it, I began to get a flood of ideas about how to integrate my faith into our business.

God was bringing change!


I was sitting in Kansas City, MO at a Promise Keepers conference.  I was early because I wanted to get a good seat.  My brother was sitting next to me and I was feeling good!  He and I had a heart-to-heart talk the night before and I had confirmed that he is indeed saved and wanting to grow in his faith.  Because finding that information was the whole point of me making the trip from Atlanta, I could then relax!

Now, I could enjoy the rest of the conference…or so I thought.

Are you listening to God?


As I mentioned in my last post, I had been actively searching for my purpose for a couple of years (’01-’03).  I was doing everything I knew to do in order to allow God to speak to me.  I was studying His Word, praying, participating in Bible studies, leading others in Bible study, teaching, etc. and it seemed I was still not sure of what I should be doing with my life.

Get your fortune here!


Between April 2002 and the fall of 2003, I continued to go through the Impact Discipleship study and take others through it as well. I continued studying God’s Word on a daily basis. I started journaling on a regular basis. I was reading everything I could get my hands on in an effort to find my purpose. I had decided to walk away from the family business and was looking for other work that allowed me more time to volunteer and work for God in whatever capacity he had planned for me.

I do not have the gift of evangelism!


I have always feared being called to be a missionary or even worse, a street corner preacher.  Before you get mad, I am NOT saying there is anything wrong with either of these…I believe both are called and used by God.  I was simply afraid it would be me!