September 11, 2008

The Start Date

I have an official start date. It's October 1st. It's been set for quite a while now and was even officially approved at a meeting a few weeks ago. Though I still wish my start date would have come sooner after graduation, I think it's a good start date.

My first Sunday will be October 5th, which is World Communion Sunday. I think that celebration will be a great way to kick off a new season of ministry in the church.

But back to the start date. Right now I'm wondering, how realistic it is to not do anything until the start date. I know a minister has to have a start date. I've even discovered that the bueacracy of the denomination I serve likes ministers to start on the 1st or 15th of a month.

But when the start date is a little ways off, many things start to creep onto my platter. Like some emails about meetings being scheduled in October and the upcoming church newsletter and forthcoming church bulletins and new minister orientation in the area. Now obviously some things need to be planned ahead. But when I start receiving emails about things to attend and do, I feel like I've already started my job.

Part of it is my own doing. As one heading into a solo pastor position, the task of preaching every week will be daunting at first. So the other day I hauled out my lectionary calendar and the hymnals the church uses and started to look at what I'll be preaching from now until the end of the year.

But the start date, I think it's just when I'll officially start getting paid, because I've already started ministry to and with the congregation.

September 07, 2008

It's September and all's quiet on the blog front

It's been a month and a half since I've blogged and even before that I haven't been doing a really good job at keeping up with things here. There's a number of contributing factors:

  • I've accepted a call to serve a church (yeah!) and have been very busy traveling around and attending meetings. I've also been trying to figure out what shape my blogging will take as I head into this call.
  • I've moved home to live with my parents during this time of transitioning from student to pastor. My parents don't have wireless internet and I've had to share the family computer with internet with three other people.
  • In the next month I will be ordained, move to another state, settle into a house, and start my work as a pastor. The amount of planning and number of details this entails is quite overwhelming.
So, until things slow down just a bit (wait ... that may not happen until after Christmas) or until I have a more steady source of internet, I'll end with this question:

What do I want people to call me? And will my preference even matter (as in people will call me whatever they are most comfortable with anyways)?

(and if you are so led to comment, please do not use any part of my real name)

July 20, 2008

Confusing Conversation

Dan the Car Sales Man: I just need you to answer a few questions to get your financing all worked out.

Me: Okay.

Dan: What's your place of employment?

Me: _____ Church. But are you going to call them?

Dan: Do you really have a job there?

Me: Well, yes and no. The church has offered me the job and I've accepted it, but it still has to be approved by a committee before it's all official. So you can't call the church.

Dan: Okay, that should be fine. The bank just wants to know you have a job. Now do you know approximately how much money you'll be making?

Me: Well, yes. But here's the thing. I'm going to live in a manse, a house owned by the church. And that's part of my compensation. So I won't have to pay rent or a mortgage.

Dan: But do you know what your salary will be?

Me: Take home cash will be $$$.

Whew. I think I thoroughly confused the guy.

July 18, 2008

New Car

My car died. She had been a good car. Sally the Saturn had been with me for a little over 6 years when she just refused to start anymore (quad-driver, computer problems and simply old age). Though I bought her used, she got me through my last two years of college and all four years of seminary. And now she's gone on to benefit a charity.

And that means car shopping.

I thought when the time came I would buy another "previously owned" vehicle. But with a job on the horizon and the need to feel secure about my mode of transportation in a state that gets some fierce weather in the winter, I decided to look at some new cars.

I spent some time doing some research and then a day test driving my top choices. And here s/he is:

2008 Chevy Equinox in Silverstone Metallic

I'll pick the car up on Monday! And then the car payments will begin ... but for now I'm excited about a new car!

(Note to car sales people: Talking about how badly you need to use the bathroom to relieve yourself, and in not so polite terms, is not a good way to attract customers. Also, the manager encouraging his employee to blow off the customer wandering around outside so the two of you can go get a good seat at a restaurant in a voice loud enough for other customers to hear is not impressive.)

June 17, 2008

My Summer Vacation in My Summer Home

It's been a month since I've posted (and with good reason).

I'm on vacation right now. I'm not anywhere exotic sipping fun drinks on the beach.

I've simply declared June my month of vacation. I'm staying in my summer home (aka the apartment of friends who are abroad). I'm sleeping long hours and waking to the sounds of birds rather than my alarm. I spend my days reading fiction, watching DVDs, working out at the Y (if I can muster up the motivation), catching up with and hanging out with friends, and just plain relaxing.

I can't remember the last time I had a true summer vacation. So I thought I would get one more in before I officially enter adulthood and the work force and full time ministry.

May 18, 2008


There's been lots of movement in my life lately.
  • My parents flew down on Wednesday and were in town until this morning for all of the graduation festivities.
  • My apartment is empty; it echoes as I walk through it. The walls are dingy; the cupboards are bare. I sit on a borrowed end table that will be returned to its owner this afternoon. The majority of my possessions and all of my furniture is en route to the Midwest, to spend some time in my parents' basement.
  • Yesterday I sat among classmates as we received our diplomas and hoods, moved our tassel from right to left, and recessed out of the church sanctuary as those having mastered all things divine.
And this is the right time for all of these movements to occur. Last year I could have been part of the graduating class, but this year was the right time for that walk across the stage.

Now, I pray for the Holy Spirit to move in the call process.

May 14, 2008

Signs of the Times

Truck will be packed up on Saturday afternoon. Apartment must be packed up before then. I own a ton of books. I keep thinking of more things hiding in closets and cupboards that need to be packed. Grateful for my parents who are flying in today to help finish up the packing.

Really enjoying this last week with my fellow seminarians before we scatter all over the place. Lots of planned and impromptu get-togethers and parties, relaxing and chatting. And really, where else would a hymn sing be this much fun ... ?

As graduation approaches, more and more people are asking about my plans for the summer. And I'm okay saying "I'm not too sure." I'm still working through the call process/job search. Besides doing that, June will be a well-deserved sabbath. I don't remember the last time my planner was so empty.

May 12, 2008


I'm done.
  • The last of my seminary exams, final papers, and projects were done by noon on Thursday, May 8th. It felt wonderful to finish up. Yet, I know I'll also miss the afternoons of research in the library. Which maybe means I'm just done for now ...
  • I taught my last dance class at the Y that day also. My dance kids performed on Friday, May 9th and did an awesome job. They are adorable and I will miss them. I also participated in the teacher's exhibition/show. Being able to express myself through a dance was a great end to the week.
  • And perhaps the most telling indicator that I'm done: I had a wonderfully relaxing Sunday. I went to church and stayed after for lunch and fellowship. I laid on the couch and read a book (fiction - for fun!). I took a nap. I watched some tv. I called my mom. Ahhh, the sabbath.

April 26, 2008

Falling In Love ...

Not with a person.
With a church.
With specific churches.

Churches that I had applied to.
Churches that I was really excited about because of their ministry and vision, the positions open and the people I had talked to.

And now I'm back at square one because it turns out that those churches are not where the Spirit is leading me. I gave myself a week off from the call process. I needed a break. I told myself I wouldn't get so excited about specific churches again because it led to too much disappointment. I told myself that I would be excited about the church universal because of some of the great things I've read and heard about specific churches and people doing, but I wouldn't get attached to a specific church.

But I've done it again.

As I read about churches who are searching for pastors, one in particular jumped out at me. I'm hoping my excitement about this specific church is the movement of the Holy Spirit.

April 05, 2008

This is bigger than me

I've been struggling with the call process recently ...
  • doubting that the committee structure is a good one
  • anxious about time and dates as graduation continues to creep ever nearer
  • deeply saddened that a church I really felt called to has decided to discontinue our conversation
And so I practiced some good self-care; I went to the movies with a friend and laughed and laughed. Horton Hears A Who ... good stuff. Wonderful imaginary characters and, as it turns out, some deeply theological messages. From believing without seeing and hearing to acknowledging that there are things in the world bigger than we are, it was good all around.

There's nothing like a whole box of Junior Mints (right before dinner) and a "children's" cartoon movie to help make a gloomy day better.

And so I was reminded:
This is bigger than me. This is not bigger than God.