Sorry folks. I disappeared from blogging. This summer has been hectic. But Seminary starts in 2 weeks and I am so excited. I will definitely be blogging to keep everyone in the loop.
To recap the summer:
- Had an awesome mission trip with my youth group
- Supported one of my best friends- Rev. Benjamin David Hutchison as he was ousted from his position as a pastor for being openly gay.
- Visited family
- Went on a personal leave from my position at Lowes with the intent of leaving officially by next summer
- Have read a few books: New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. I’m trying to get educated on Racial Justice issues.
- Started a GoFundMe for my transition: http://www.gofundme.com/z5g3a5n
- Played a lot of Splatoon on the Wii U
- Prepped for Seminary and completed online work
- Really started to use twitter a lot (follow me- emkelley39 )
- Officially am now a Member in Discernment in the United Church of Christ. One step closer to ordination!
Hope all are well. Will be sharing more soon!
So I have been thinking a lot recently about what are the core things I am hoping to achieve as a youth pastor. I have been pondering what ministry looks like- especially for myself as I move forward in seeking a call for ordained ministry.
I came up with 3 specific elements that constitute what I believe makes a healthy ministry/congregation/calling for the Church.
1) Community- People need to feel welcome. People want to feel safe. There should be activities going on so that everyone feels there is a place for them to be involved in the life of the Church. As many have said- Church should not only exist on Sunday. And Church can be fun. Having a Nerf War with high schoolers can build community in a unique way, just as having something like a quilting club could as well.
2) Discipleship- It is also vital that we be educating those attending our Churches or groups. I think the key to good discipleship is not forcing certain answer and doctrines on anyone, but rather guiding individuals on how to have good tools for interpreting the Bible and for being in relationship with God and the community of the Church. Acknowledge that most of us struggle with our faith. The idea that some people are always perfect in their faith is poisonous to good Christian community and towards the long term health of any Christian. Sometimes we may feel that our discipleship is not making a difference, but we are called to just keep spreading the seed that God gave us and see what God will plant in the hearts of individuals.
3) Outreach- what are we doing in our community? In our country? In our world? Are we inviting our neighbors? Are we sharing in community with those outside of the Church? Are we advocating for change in the world instead of accepting things as they are? Outreach takes many shapes, but is vital, and is an obligation of everyone- not just the leaders.
So those are a few thoughts today. What do you find are elements of good ministry? I’d be curious for feedback and thoughts.