Location. Location. Location.
Anyone familiar with the retail or real estate industry knows that mantra well. Location matters both with brick-and-mortar and cyberspace endeavors. Perhaps a story from our recent family trip to Harper’s Ferry will help illustrate why we have decided to choose our position of influence for Christ by moving to Atlanta.
We recently visited Antietam, Maryland, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of that bloodiest of battles. But few recall the Southern victory at Harper’s Ferry a few days before that made Antietam such a pivotal moment in the conflict.
Although the North controlled Harper’s Ferry, Lee dispatched his army in three parts to surround it in a daring move led by General Stonewall Jackson. As I stood on grassy knoll of Bolivar Heights, I understood clearly why Union forces finally surrendered there. In short, the South took all the high ground around them.
The view from Maryland Heights looking down onto historic Harper's Ferry.
First, the South claimed the highest vantage point overlooking Harper’s Ferry – the looming cliffs of Maryland Heights. From there, the domino effect began as Northern positions began to fall. The South could then fire on the next lowest point: Louden Heights to the east. Once they positioned artillery there, they overlooked the still lower point of Bolivar Heights to the south of the town. It was only a matter of time once the high ground was taken for the influence of the Southern guns to be felt everywhere.
Their strategic position cancelled out the other Northern advantages of superior firepower and numbers.
In my case, I’ve been praying fervently for wisdom as to where we should position our family for maximum Kingdom impact. Most readers have followed our prayerful walk of faith away from a safe and secure career in Christian education. God has called me to do what I have been doing successfully for the last fifteen years but on a broader platform. As we have been launched into what is essentially the full-time ministry of connecting real life with real faith, location matters. Where we live will dramatically affect our ability to influence the nation and the world for Christ.
My friend Hugh Hewitt devoted an entire chapter to this topic in In, But Not Of Revised & Updated: A Guide to Christian Ambition and the Desire to Influence the World. He encouraged young people to choose one of the big three cities and go to at least one of them to open doors of opportunity and learn lessons available nowhere else. His advice focused on New York City (business), Washington, DC (politics), and Los Angeles (culture). But a new option has emerged for those focused on connecting faith and life.
After much fervent prayer and wise counsel, we have decided to leave Cleveland, Ohio, our home for our entire lives, and move to Atlanta, Georgia. Our reasons sound a lot like the Harper’s Ferry example. We choose to position ourselves for maximum influence for the Kingdom of God, given the calling God has given me to write, speak, and create resources to help Christians think, live and lead, with abundant faith.
Three reasons for the move:
A bustling ministry and travel hub, Atlanta is the Maryland Heights from which we can more effectively carry out our small role in fulfilling the Great Commission.
What about you?
You too should choose your position of influence. But your vision will be unique to you. Maybe it will require a major move — especially if you’re just emerging from college. Maybe it will mean settling down. It might will involve a move out of your social comfort zone — an equally scary thought for most of us — to engage your local community. Maybe your homeowner’s association, child’s PTA group, church life-group, a local non-profit, or any of the thousands of other opportunities out there will draw your gaze. Whatever it is, we should each be intentional and choose to position yourself for maximum influence for Christ.
Of course, choosing one direction means we must leave other options behind. I confess I won’t miss the Cleveland winters all that much. I can still complain about the Browns from anywhere. And I’ll be back fairly often to visit family, friends, and ministries in Cleveland. But as C.S. Lewis so famously said:
There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
That’s certainly true for eternity. And it’s true in this life when we are seeking first the Kingdom of God.
Then all these things will be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)
It’s your call.
Choose to intentionally seek positions of influence for Christ. Pray diligently. Seek wise counsel. Then humbly commit your way to the Lord and get busy. You may want to consult my 5 Key Resources to Help You Discover Your Life Strengths first. But recall that in order for the Apostle Paul to dramatically influence Rome and all the known world, he had to actually go to Rome in the face of impossible obstacles and intense persecution.
So don’t expect it to be easy. Faith hurts.
Seth Godin once told me, “First, be loud.” In the Battle at Harper’s Ferry, the North had more troops, better artillery, and the advantage of being there first. But it was the South who spoke loudest once they had gained the high ground. At Antietam a few days later, the North took the high ground at key locations to alter the course of the war and our nation.
Location. Location. Location.
By God’s grace, our new location in Atlanta will position us for maximum influence for Christ to millions think, live, and lead, with abundant faith.
Prayers always welcome.
Where do you need to get intentional and choose your best location for effective influence? Leave a comment with a friendly click here.