Personal Legend Project: Tim Ayers

Tim Ayers, Grace Church

When my wife Courtney and I started discussing people for this project, one of the first that came up was Tim Ayers.  She grew up swimming with his children and knew him as someone who embraced his calling to the church.  Over the years, she continued to hear his name mentioned by friends who attended Grace Church.  In my time photographing his class, I could see his passion for teaching through his carefully considered words and his connection to his students, as they listened closely to his thoughts and ideas.

The following set of six questions will be answered by each of the subjects.

1)  Some people call it a “true calling” or their “life’s work.”  In the book The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho calls it your Personal Legend. What do you consider to be your true calling, or Personal Legend?

To help others navigate through the complexities and difficulties of life. As a Teaching Pastor, my calling is best seen in making sense of the Bible; teaching it in ways that bring both understanding of the text in its original context and how that message is relevant to our lives today. But the calling of ‘Pastor’ is far bigger than simply being a teacher. It involves being present with people in the joys and sorrows of life.

2)  When did you first realize that this was your calling?

In my early 20’s after watching three separate men live out the calling in a way that spoke to my heart.

3)  People often become completely engrossed, losing track of time or outside concerns while performing tasks related to their calling.  This might be referred to as being “in the zone” or “flow.”  When do you experience this most often?

While teaching.

4)  What is the greatest challenge or obstacle you’ve faced in pursuit of your life’s work?

There are two: 1) saying and doing the right thing in moments of great tragedy and 2) personal attacks that come with leading a church. It is often unimaginable what people will say; it is also unimaginable what will be important enough to someone to say something darkly critical. It is impossible to not to take things personally especially when you are consciously working to do your best.

5)  What has pursuing your Personal Legend taught you?

How little I actually know about our very complicated lives. It has taught me humility.

6)  What piece of advice can you offer to others seeking their true calling?

Do not allow obstacles to stand in your way. My pathway to living out my calling took years of effort and many unexpected twists and turns, but it was all worth the effort.  

Are you following your Personal Legend?  Tell us about it in the comments below.

Subscribe to the blog, or add us to your RSS feed to follow along as we post a new set of images each day for the next 30 days.   For background on this project, check out our first post in the series.

Author: Zach Dobson

Zach Dobson is a documentary and commercial photographer based in Indianapolis. He holds a degree in journalism from Indiana University with a concentration in photography. Since starting his business in 2006, Zach has focused on documenting people’s lives and businesses in action. Zach’s client list includes the Indiana Pacers, Coca-Cola, the AARP, ZipCar, Indiana University, Visit Bloomington, Hamilton County Tourism, Land O’Lakes, RIOT LA Comedy Festival, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indiana High School Athletic Association. Zach is a Professional Member of the American Society of Media Photographers [ASMP]. He resides in Carmel, Ind. with his wife and business partner, Courtney, and their five children.

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