Note: I posted this letter earlier today at the STR blog.
When the curtain falls on the last act of a mediocre play, it’s a real downer. Not only was the experience of the play a bit dull, but now there’s nothing there to continue to hold your attention.
But if the play was well-written and if it was executed with excellence, you feel a sense of satisfaction as the curtain falls. The play was a good experience, a good moment in time.
There’s something else that happens when a good play plays itself out: you go out changed. Good theatre produces good in the audience. They leave putting into practice some new insight, some new character quality.
Today is a bit like that for me. 2008 is coming to a close. And with it, my tenure at Stand to Reason is also ending. The curtain falls, but I leave excited for what the “play” has done in me.
I look back on my time at STR with such fondness. With the help of the hard-working staff at STR, I’ve been able to train thousands to defend the unborn. I published Common Ground Without Compromise. (See my November newsletter for other highlights of my time at STR.) I’ve watched STR develop its ABC’s, Ambassador’s Creed, Making Abortion Unthinkable, Tactics in Defending the Faith, and hundreds of other helpful tools for Christians. In addition, I’ve been privileged to watch hundreds of my trained volunteers living out these resources in real time on college campuses across the country.
Please don’t take STR for granted. This is a fine organization that’s positioned to make a huge impact in the kingdom in 2009 and beyond. If you haven’t yet, please consider making an end-of-year gift. No one asked me to say that. I think STR is worth way more than any of us can give.
That’s why I leave STR with the same sense of settled excitement for the future as one who leaves a good theatre piece. In my three years as a volunteer and seven years as a staffer, STR has helped me flourish. I’ve been changed, and I not only want to live out that change. Like many of you, I also want to transfer what I’ve learned to others.
That’s why I’m taking a position as the Director of Training of Justice For All. JFA’s intern program is attracting some of the brightest young Christian ambassadors I’ve ever met. These young Christians are ready to learn to speak and train others to defend the unborn. I’m excited to help them flourish as STR has helped me flourish. I’ll continue to promote my book and speak around the country, but training others to speak will be my highest priority. (Read my December newsletter for more on this.)
Although I’ll be working for Justice For All, officing in Kansas, and blogging at a new website (www.stephenmwagner.com), I look forward to cheering for STR and partnering whenever God gives us opportunity. A number of STR fans have already joined Justice For All for campus outreach and found it to be the perfect opportunity to practice STR’s ambassador skills and tactics in real time with real people who (ahem) really disagree. STR’s trained ambassadors are an excellent addition to the JFA outreach, since they have exactly the same approach JFA does (sadly, our approach is rare among pro-life advocates, who are typically either abrasive or silent).
The Justice For All Exhibit usually attracts so many pro-choice advocates ready to talk, we seldom have enough volunteers on hand to give each person the one-to-one conversation that would help them rethink their views on abortion, human value, relativism, and God. We’d love to have you join us in 2009 for a few hours or a few days. To learn how, fill out this form and add “campus outreach info please” in the notes section.
So, as the curtain falls and I venture off to JFA, will you join me in thanking God for STR and for giving all of us (you, me, the staff at STR, and, well, any Christian) a shared mission of helping His church train Christians to be good ambassadors? And will you join us in venturing out in your own community to train Christians to defend their faith and values? I can’t wait to see what God will do through you in 2009.
Keep in touch.
Your Brother in Christ,