Nic Chumney started attending Christ’s Church about 16 years ago after moving here from Texas to work as a manager with the Internal Revenue Service. He was baptized here about 8 years ago. Divorced in 2013 after 16 years of marriage, he remains a single dad to his son, Tyler, 19, who is a student in the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program. He serves as a Starting Point volunteer and is an enthusiastic member of our in-depth men’s discipleship program, Deeper Life University. He (is) (was) a key volunteer coordinator for our church’s hosting of the Moeller “Prime Time” Cross Country Invitational, an event expected to draw between 6,000 and 8,000 guests to our campus August 24.
Life changed for you when your wife divorced you, didn’t it?
It was really difficult for my son. His mother left us and went 1,300 miles back to Texas. For some time he was asking himself, “Why is this happening? Why has our family fallen apart?” But in the last two years, he has really begun to thrive.
Did the divorce send you away from God, or closer to him?
Actually, I was growing closer to God before the split. My wife, ironically, had pressed me to step up and become a spiritual leader, and I took the challenge seriously. I started reading the Bible; when the church encouraged us to read the whole Bible in a year, I committed to the plan. I had been familiar with the Gospels, but my study of the Old Testament really helped me see the context for so much that we believe. I started to understand the nature of what’s inside me. I’m so grateful for what the Holy Spirit revealed to me as I’ve gone through the Word.
What new did you discover in the Bible?
I saw what happens when the man doesn’t take a stand. For example, when Eve was talking with the devil about the forbidden fruit, why was Adam silent? Why didn’t he say something? Why didn’t he tell her not to listen to the devil? His sin was his passivity. By contrast, Job in the ash pit rejected his wife’s admonition, “Curse God and die.” He said, “No! I’m gonna maintain my integrity. Leave me!” Stepping up means choosing right instead of wrong; do something! And often doing means standing for the right; you need to say something. I so love what we hear from the stage at our church: “Don’t sit and take. Go and make.”
Did you have the opportunity to follow this advice in your own marriage?
When my wife said she was planning to leave me, I was in the Word and was trying to step up and be a spiritual leader. So I had the words to say, “Don’t go. This is not what God wants.” If I hadn’t been in the Word, I wouldn’t have said that. To this day I believe those were absolutely the right words to say. As tragic as the break-up of a marriage is, I have a peace about what happened there, because I did the right thing. It came from Christ being in my heart.
How has the church helped you since that time?
I was able to develop relationships with the fellowship here at Christ’s Church. It was such a comfort to find Christians who would just listen to me without rushing to judge me. For example, I met Rick Dolezal at the 2014 Build the Walls event, and we became friends almost from that day going forward. He’s been a godly influence in my life; when I’ve needed an ear or I needed somebody with some godly wisdom, he’s been there to hear and help me.
Deeper Life University has me reading the Bible again. And it has provided a fellowship of godly men around me to encourage and feed me and hold me accountable. I attended Rooted and then was a facilitator in the winter session. Both experiences were great. The prayer experience, for example, was phenomenal. I never imagined three hours of prayer could go so fast! And now my prayer life has greatly expanded.
Now I’m in the Word. I listen via the YouVersion during my commute downtown. And I’ve found discussions of individual Bible books at Right Now Media. It’s such a wonderful thing to be in the Word and then to hear somebody talking about it. I don’t mind driving downtown anymore. If it takes an hour, that’s good! It gives me more time to be in the Word and praying! Bible study, prayer, and godly fellowship are the three-legged stool for growing spiritually, becoming Christ-like, having Christ inside you.
Has all this changed your approach to others?
Yes. I’ve invited some of my neighbors to Rick Dolezal’s football parties, and I decided I’d like to do something similar. So I’ve invited neighbors to my house for a meal and a simple chance to get to know each other. I’m an introvert, but I’m even willing to reach out to strangers! I’ve discovered all you need to do is be friendly and smiling. The world is harsh and judgmental, and people are desperate to find somebody in whom they sense kindness, gentleness, and humility.