The Unrelenting Thirst for Connection

What do you do when you fulfill your wildest dream and find it empty? As a professional tennis player, Brandon Hawk got to Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, only to find himself alone and unfulfilled. As a senior pastor of a thriving congregation, he experienced the same lack of connection with God and others whenever they weren't on the task. Having always based his value on his performance, God invited him on a very different journey. In that ongoing process it has revolutionized his extended family, dismantled the congregation he pastored, and sent his life on a very different trajectory. Brandon shares that story with Wayne and how God is continuing to free him to live with authenticity in his own person and connection with other people that he had not previously known.

Podcast Links:
Brandon Hawk's Website
Order your own copy of A Man Like No Other
Find out more about Wayne's Trip to Lexington, KY
Add your voice to our question/comment line: (805) 539-6980 or Skype us at "TheGodJourney".


  1. The comments are making me laugh cause I haven’t listened to the podcast yet and am clueless. 🙂 Will listen soon!

  2. To actually shut down a church –
    very courageous and to see that it was done out from a desire to be in relationship with people shows how relationships can suffer in certain settings. The sad thing is when people don’t see that, or haven’t yet desired deeper relationships and connections.
    Every week I am encouraged to hear you Wayne as well as your guests talk about the desire for connection and everyone is led different directions in how to address that desire. God is a God of individuals and certainly has ways to meet us right where we are.
    Can relate to what you said Brandon about needing to find out who God is to you. That path can seem wrong sometimes when you are hearing views of God that are not how He wants you personally to see Him.
    I am finding that path to be oh so right and it’s my passion to learn how God wants me to see Him, even though it is a very uncharted journey and it can be quite a process to begin to get used to such new territory.
    Another aspect that was brought up was about living according to our own capacity. That was healing to listen to as you don’t often hear it and how I am hearing from God continues to mesh more and more with my capacity at the time. It was so exhausting for me for so many years to ignore how I was really doing and push through anyway.
    Very peace producing podcast as well as more relationship focused encouragement.
    Thank you.

  3. Utah (since that was my last state in continental US I accomplished just this year)?

  4. Carol, appreciated your comments. I am finding it such a painful process and yet exhilarating at the same time. I am so excited to see Father leading me out of my own efforts, to see that this is Jesus’ work (in all of my circumstances) and at the same time to lay down my control. Right now I know there is no other person who can make those changes for me…it’s something Jesus has to do. I’m learning to see that and so my need to be “fed” by others becomes slowly displaced. It seems that right now simply to know that there are others on the same journey is encouraging. For me learning to “live right where I am” is also a “novel” experience in that I tend to want to do a lot of my own changing.

  5. You know, when you leave not only a church but a particular theological or doctrinal stance and particularly if you’re in leadership, it can be quite unsettling for those who remain. They experience a gamut of emotions–anger, disappointment, disillusionment, etc. However, your leaving can be just the catalyst for some to begin thinking through what they really believe. Your departure can reveal to them that they have actually been putting more stock in the ideas and beliefs espoused by the community versus doing the critical assessment of what they believe for themselves.

  6. I admit that I am not honest and courageous enough to completely stop going to a local church even though I can see some of the crippling effects on my heart. I can’t imagine shutting one down especially one outwardly successful! This discussion is very moving and encouraging. I have not been willing to admit there is no way around this….

    And I say West Virginia.

  7. We have a winner! Mary Jo got it first with North Dakota. Mary Jo, if you’ll use the “contact” link above and send me your snail mail address, I’ll send you a copy. And if you want it signed, let me know who you want it signed to? A lot of good guesses up there. But I’ve been to all those other places, if only briefly.

  8. I went through a “church shut-down” experience about 7 years ago. The reasons weren’t anything like what Brandon describe, rather, it was a combination of several other things; the leadership felt the congregation was in a “spiritual slump” (things weren’t as exciting as what they once were), the perception that the church needed to be less independent and more “aligned with apostolic leadership”, fatigue on the part of leadership, and the penultimate reason in the final analysis–the leadership had the attitude that they “owned the church” (not talking about a building). There was little to no consideration of relationship in the decision. A congregational meeting was called one Wednesday night in August and in no uncertain terms the people were told that as of the moment the congregation ceased to exist.

    My wife and I are not youngsters. We’ve been around the ecclesial block more than a few times. But, that was a first for us–unheard of in our experience. It propelled us (again) into rethinking the meaning and purpose of “church” by providing an entirely new set of questions to explore. I would not recommend the experience as something to be enjoyed or desired, but it will challenge most of what we assume about “church” and “leadership”.


  9. Darn, I saw the amount of comments and thought there was a good “spirited” discussion taking place. Instead it appears it was just Wayne running a raffle. lol.

  10. My guess is Montana, the one place I’m Still convinced is the most beautiful state.

  11. I keep wondering whether I am to leave the “church scene” totally, but I like where I am, and unless I know God is calling me out of it, I plan to stay. Our family is part of a small, diverse, multi-cultural church that in my mind is based totally on relationship. I view them also as family. I hope it always stays that way. We go there not out of obligation, but we enjoy connecting with one another, breaking bread together, and learning what God is doing in each of our lives. Many of us are broken people that God is putting back together, some out of prison, and about half of us are working in different callings locally or around the world. Our ‘leadership’ supports us in this. They are there for counsel if we need it. They are there to support us from below, not talk down to us from above. They are true servants of servants, the upside down pyramid. There is some ‘structure’, but it is very loose. We want to give the Holy Spirit full reign. Hopefully, we won’t fall into the religious system trap. God help us.

Comments are closed.