Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Big Announcement

I haven't been able to write a whole lot lately, mostly because I've been waiting to write this post.  I stress authenticity in ministry, and it's hard to be authentic when you're keeping something be to yourself.

This one has been a long time coming, but with joy I finally get to announce that I've begun the candidacy process to become an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.  God has really been working on me over the last several years.  For a while, I genuinely thought that my call was towards being a Deacon and pursuing excellence in worship ministry.  But for a while now my focus has been moving away from a worship focus to a truer liturgy focus - really working with people and meeting them where they are in life.

To that end, I've chosen (requested, really) to focus on new church ministries.  I realize with all of my heart that the UMC's focus can't be solely on new church starts, that vital ministry needs to be cultivated and maintained in our established churches.  I do, however, feel a call towards the new frontiers in ministries, in communities that are brand new themselves and in communities that have been left behind by the church over time.

I feel blessed to have had the experience in so many ministry situations, and having a wife who has been active in many different ministry scenarios over her time in ministry.  All this has helped to form the call in me towards a new venture and opened my heart to seek the Lord's purpose for my life in ministry for myself and my family.

It was my wife who first pointed out something different in me.  I've been writing an awful lot about hospitality, how we welcome our guests, how worship is supposed to create encounters with the divine, my struggles with broken systems.  We were on a walk when she called me out - "Are you sure you're not supposed to be a pastor?"  It wasn't two weeks later that my father asked me the very same question.  I can't avoid the question, or now, the call.

I'm thankful that my ministry and seminary experience gets me pretty far down the candidacy road, but I do know at some point I'm going back to school!  For now, I'm in holy conversation and prayer with pastors, mentors, and wonderful cabinet members to help discern the way forward for my family.  There's no true time table yet, but I couldn't be more excited!

To God be the glory!