Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How am I doing now?

In January 2009 I learned that I would interview with the Board of Ordained Ministry to be ordained as an elder in full connection.  I wouldn't interview until March, but asked for prayers as soon as I got the notice.  

This was one of the responses:

Dear Sister Debbie,
You've got them! Thanks for giving us targets we can aim our prayers. [Wife] and I and our family do pray, telling God how thankful we are for sending you here. For a long time, we have wondered what was wrong with us. Now we are asking why are we so blessed. Thank you. We do have so many blessings to be grateful about. You are so young and we are so old. Still, you charge in and make us stretch ourselves and to keep pushing the limit further out. Thank you. I am especially impressed that the homeless in our community have begun to find us (well, many of us) to be welcoming and accepting of who they are. You know you have made some of us to remember and accept who we are and whose we are. Relax, Pastor, know that God hears all of our prayers, including yours and that the good work he has started at Wesley in you is a long way from finished. We know that you are good for us. I pray that  the growth you are inspiring in us will make us good for you. We are looking forward to attending your ordination. 
Joy to you my sister,
PS. I probably will never write to you like this again, but it does feel good.
I'm not sure what made me look for this email the other day, but I did and was touched by it again.  I was and am awed by such a thoughtful note from a cherished church member.  But in reading it Saturday, I had to ask myself if I was still really doing such a good job.  I don't think I'm doing a bad job, or even that I'm slacking, but in some ways I don't feel very prophetic.  

I don't feel like I'm challenging people as much any more.  I suppose if I were fair, I'd say that I am challenging people differently.  And, if I were REALLY fair, I'd say that people shouldn't be challenged all the time...that there should be some time to reflect and grow and be with God rather than always having to change.  In the beginning, I think I (and my ways) was so new and different that lots of things were challenging to the congregation, not because I meant them to be, but simply because I do things differently.  And during the 2nd 6 months that I was here, I preached for a couple months on "Stepping out in faith to show God's love" and on people in the Bible who had risked for the sake of their faith. I encouraged people to be in ministry in new and different ways.  This year, I have been more focused on developing leadership (a much more challenging prospect if I can say so....)  I've also been focused on some major staffing and administrative issues that have come up that have not allowed me as much time to be creative in the ways I preach or do things in the church.  

I don't know. I'm probably just rambling here.  I feel like I'm ready for the next thing in the church (well, maybe after I finish sorting out some of the administrative mess) but I don't know exactly what that would be.  I don't feel like I'm inspiring people or bringing about the growth I would like, but don't know what I should be doing differently.  I feel like I need a mentor again, someone to process with and guide me in some sort of concrete direction.  Or maybe I just need to listen and pray more and see where it is God wants me to go....

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