Monday, May 11, 2009

Life Update

So, what's been up over the last year?

In brief, in May 2008 (I think) I was contacted by a church in Dunn, NC, looking for their first full-time Associate Pastor, with responsibility for music, youth, and children's ministry. I, of course, had never considered youth or children's ministry as possible avenues of service for myself. In fact, in seminary, the only two things I "knew" where that I wasn't being called to preach or to be a youth minister. Shows what I knew!

It's a church of 85 or so attenders, with a choir of 15, youth group of 6, and children's ministry (k-5th) of 20-25. I moved in mid-August and started working officially in September, and it feels like I've not had a moment's rest since! This is not really good - I'm going to have to do better Sabbathing - but it has been interesting and exciting. In a lot of ways, it feels like the culmination of work I've been doing in bits and pieces for the last 15 years - I get a use for skills I learned in pastoral care as a chaplain (esp. as it's an older congregation), a use for musical skills I hadn't used in awhile (I'm having a ball planning worship and rehearsing a choir again - I'd really missed that), skills learned dabbling in college ministry the last couple of years, things learned working with the education ministry at my old church (Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship, Lexington SC), where I was part of a small, semi-missional church where I learned a lot of other things that I'm now putting to use.

The difference is, while I was a chaplain and a church pianist and a volunteer college minister, I was doing these things in bits and pieces, at different times and places. Now all those bits and pieces get to be used in the same place. I feel more whole and fulfilled than I have in years.

It's a good church. It calls itself missional, which it's not. We have a project every month or so where we have an emphasis on a particular project or need, and raise money for it, fairly successfully. There are also times of service - and the church works pretty hard on some of them, like Operation Christmas Child, or putting together packages for Meals on Wheels at Christmas, or supporting a food bank. But the service times, while good and valid, aren't relational - we rarely meet the people we're ministering too. As a result, though there's some talk about the least of these, we're rarely meeting or going to church with people "not like us".

But there's a lot of good things going on, and a lot of potential for better (more relational, loving, Kingdom-serving things), and some of us (I like to to think I'm included here) are starting to get the mental and emotional shift necessary to understand giving not as giving money but giving your whole self, even as Christ gave His whole self to us.

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