Finding Hope Amidst Restructure

Pastor Eads and his family. Source: Baptist Press

After more than 30 years of working to support struggling congregations throughout the Florida panhandle, Lifeway Christian Resources Partner, Shannon Eads, seemed to have been hit by the perfect trifecta.

Restructuring at Lifeway had left him without a job. A routine doctor’s visit left him with a stage three cancer diagnosis, and the COVID-19 pandemic left him in a paralysis of what seemed like no horizon for home.

Maintaining the positive disposition that he is known for, Shannon said, “If I had to lose my job, have cancer, and go through Covid something big [was coming].”

Supported by his church family at Browning Road Baptist Church in Lithia, Florida, where he served as pastor, Eads began chemo and radiation therapy.

Undergirded by a prayer team of eight “dear friends” praying for him weekly and his son supporting by taking on more pastoral responsibilities within the congregation assisting with preaching and visitation, Eads felt extremely supported.

“After my diagnosis, I felt like God had taken me to the bottom,” Eads recalled. “But God, in his still voice, whispered to me and gave me a hunger and thirst for local churches equipping men.”

Eads said, “We are in a pivotal point right now. We are seeing a breakdown in the home, marriages, family and church. If we don’t reach men with the gospel, then Satan has won the biggest battle.”

Fueling his passion into writing, Eads published a book, Winning the Fatherhood Game: A Playbook for the Five Scores that Matter, written while deep in his cancer treatment. In his book, Eads encourages men to “never be limited by their past scores” and to “pursue every potential score that God has set before them.”

“Fatherhood is not for those who want to wing it. It requires a serious game plan,” said Eads. “Aligning yourself with God is the ultimate game-changer, the winning edge you need to raise children who are champions.”

Eads, who just celebrated 25 years of marriage to his wife, Michelle, said his greatest happiness was not only writing to men and fathers, but coaching his own two sons alongside him.

“The greatest joy is a father sitting down with his sons and teaching them the Bible at a young age,” he said.

As a companion to the book, Eads launched “Ministry for Men,” a small group ministry composed of men in local churches that trains men on how to effectively lead men’s ministries in their respective congregations and ministry context.

“This is all meant to be an encouragement to any father out there struggling to be the man that God has called him to be,” he said.

Appreciative of God’s many blessings throughout his struggle with cancer, Eads noted that the calling to train men is something that weighs heavy on his heart. 

Eads expressed as leaders in their homes and communities, by building healthy men, we are helping to not only strengthen each men but built communal resiliency for trying circumstances that witness God’s grace in all circumstances.

Source: Baptist Press