Life has been pretty much a whirlwind in the last few weeks. As has been noted on the Network’s Facebook page, Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna, Minnesota has extended a call for me to come and serve as a pastor. After a lot of conversations, thought and prayer, I have decided to accept this call. My final day at Lord of Life Lutheran Church will be July 14. I will begin at Trinity on August 4.
The decision to accept a new call, to move our family, to sell a home, buy a home and start something totally new was a big decision. But we believe that this is the right thing for our family, and that the Holy Spirit put this opportunity directly in my path. It’s hard to ignore the Holy Spirit sometimes.
So we’re excited…sad…nervous and full of anticipation, all at the same time.
One of the questions I’ve been asked quite a bit was “what does this mean for your work with the Network?” Good question.
At the beginning of the process, I had to spend time explaining to the call committee what the Network was, what my role within it is, and what we do together. I explained that while I’m sensing a call to something new, I don’t necessarily feel called out of my Network role yet.
Later in the call process, one of the committee members explained that “as we spoke with your references, and they explained the Network and its impact, we began to realize what an important role it plays in the life of the church. People told us that the Network is on the front end of change in the church. We want to be a part of that. We’ve always supported the broader church…so we think that it’s important for you to maintain this role. We’d like to write it into your call papers.”
I was floored. And I’m reminded of how incredibly blessed I am to be a part of congregations who understand what it is to be church together. And so the short answer to the question is: I will continue in my role. My work with the Network has been in a constant state of evolution; every year the nature of my role with the Network has changed, as my role has changed, my family grown, as technology has shifted and as the Network has grown. So I anticipate that this will continue. As my congregation and role changes, the way the work happens will shift, we’ll rely more on our incredible volunteers, and the Network will continue to evolve. And that is a good thing.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! And please pray for me and my family in the transition.
Networked in Christ,
Part of our call as adults who work with young people is to watch for those who we think might have gifts to serve in ministry, and then
to assist them in discerning their call, and encouraging them to develop their gifts to serve. Having just experienced the ELCA Youth Gathering (more about that later), I was reminded that one of the greatest gifts within the church is the energy, passion and commitment of its young people.
Unfortunately, I think that the church has let them down. We have not asked them an important question: “How do you feel called to serve?”
I believe that the church needs to reclaim discernment as one of its core missions, and that we need to do so for all people, regardless of age.
And we need to reclaim the theological tenets of the priesthood of all believers. We need to be about equipping the saints (and sinners) for ministry.
But today I’m thinking in particular about young people who have gifts, talents and passion to serve and who haven’t found an outlet to do so within the faith community because they weren’t asked; they weren’t invited.
The church needs good children’s ministers, youth ministers, pastors, educators and leaders. And as I saw 33,000 young people stand en mass this week and proclaim boldly their faith, and leave the city of New Orleans with an unbelievable amount of energy, I wondered if were prepared to help them discover their call.
The Network has launched a new website that we hope will help. It is not the be all and end all. To be honest, it isn’t even really a resource. It is a portal. It is a place that high school and college age young people who perhaps heard the whisper of God’s voice calling to them to consider children, youth and family ministry can go and look. Listed there are resources, including college and seminaries who have programs…spiritual gifts inventories and other sites that can be helpful to young people as they consider God’s call and their future.
The site is www.thinkministry.org
It isn’t complete; it will continue to be a changing and morphing site, adding new resources as we discover them. So here’s my 2 requests for you:
- Please pass this address on to your young people who you think might be interested in ministry.
- Please send us information on new resources for vocatonal discernment (particularly for young people) so that we can add them to the site.
Hopefully this tool will assist young people as they listen, think and dream dreams about the future God calls them in to.