Why I Changed Careers

John Stokes explains the reason he left Boeing 10 years before retirement.

Rich Atkinson

John's life used to be all about building airplanes. That's until God caused him to land another job mid-career. Now, he and his wife, Sue, are all about building godly families.

This process started in 1991 when John's Dad, Daryl, had a heart attack. Daryl exhorted John not to waste his life.

He recalled his dad's words, "John, I worked my whole life in order to retire, but I may not make it.  I wasted so much time by not focusing on my relationship with God, your mother and you kids. I see you're doing the same thing." 

Daryl died 3 days later. But it took John time to process his dad's words.

Conference Decision Started John's Life Change

The process was accelerated in 1997 when John and Sue attended a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Conference.

During the men's breakout session, John rededicated his life to Christ, to his family, and his marriage as well.

"For the first time there was radical change," says John.

The conference made such a difference in his life he had to tell others about it.

He and his wife encouraged others to attend the marriage conferences and they also got involved with Homebuilder's Bible Studies.

Learning About Opportunities Led to Obedience

When they attended the conference the next year, John and Sue learned how they could serve full-time with Cru.

As John sensed God was calling them, he had to obey.

"I had been with Boeing for 20 years and I was probably about 10 years from retirement. But as I look at it, God was calling me right now -- not 10 years from now. And if I push back and wait, who knows what is going to happen tomorrow or the next day."

From Conference Participant to Conference Planner

John and Sue attended training for new employees in 1999.

They moved to Little Rock, Ark. in 2001 to work at the FamilyLife headquarters.

Currently, John and Sue are part of the field team that puts on marriage conferences. John serves as an event planner and operations manager for the conferences, while Sue helps manage the resource center.

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