They are filled with promise and opportunity. Still they are fraught with bumps and turns getting settled and learning new ways.
I’ve been absent from my blog for a long while, because I have not been able to write what I wanted to write and that made it difficult to write anything. I couldn’t write about the struggles I faced with leadership in the last church I served. I couldn’t write about the difficult, life-sucking tension of living in the two worlds of search and call. I couldn’t write about my fears and my faith related to these things because they might reveal that I was in discernment. It’s the first rule of search and call…you can’t tell anyone you are searching for fear of losing what income you do have. Not to mention not being able to complete the ministry you are leading.
Because I couldn’t write about what was meaningful, I certainly couldn’t write about fluff. So I wrote a few journals, and I talked to a counselor, and friends and colleagues, and I got back to the work of ministry in the context where I was.
Even as I write these words, I am aware that there may be those who are hurt to know I was in discernment for as long as I was (21 months). It’s a long time to be living in the in-between; with one foot in and one foot out; constantly reminding myself that I have to be the pastor in the context I am in until I’m not there anymore.
That being said, I am now settling into a new pastorate in a new setting. I am fascinated and drawn in by the long history of this congregation. I am thrilled with the promise of the diversity of this community and of the potential for diversity in this congregation. This week at Vacation Bible School we have welcomed between 8-10 Iraqi children (several of whom don’t speak much English). We have welcomed two Indian children whose parents are Hindu, but who wanted to learn about Jesus. One of the songs we have been singing this week is that “God’s grace is enough…” The practice of hospitality in this place has been and is delightful.
That is not to suggest perfection. There is a lot of work to do. But the beginning is filled with promise and opportunity and fraught with bumps and turns of learning new ways. This is true for me as the pastor and it is true for the congregation who has discerned God’s call to invite me to be their pastor. We are all looking to the promise of what can be, and we are discerning the change that comes with what is new.
What continues to amaze me is God’s intentional movement through ministry and call. For each yes that led my family and me to Kettering, Ohio, the timing was exactly right. Had anything been too early or too late, this calling might not have come together. But because God is good and God’s timing is amazing, we have been called together in a new ministry and God’s movement continues to be amazing.
Thank You, God for Your blessings of timing, for Your vision that leads forward, for Your reminder that Grater things are still to come, for Your promise that even in Your constant ways You are making all things new. Your blessings amaze me and undergird me, may Your blessings bring healing and wholeness to this community and bear fruit worth sharing. Thank You! I praise You! I am blessed by You! Thank You!