Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beginnings

This picture sums up my ideal morning. Peaceful. Tranquil. A bit of solitude or silent companionship. The sound of wind rustling the still water and trees.

Our morning today is more peaceful than most. At 7:30 a.m., the cloud cover is guarding the boys' window from the relentless sun, and they remain peacefully asleep to the sound of the gentle rain.

Analise is settled happily in front of her "library" sitting amidst a pile of books and exploring.

Which leaves me a few moments to reflect on beginnings. This day ... the coming week ... my new job ...all of the things I anticipate beginning. Taking that first tentative step forward and learning to walk with confidence toward the call in the grace and mercy of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, what is it that I will be doing? What is this new calling as Director of Confirmation Ministry? And why? How could any church need someone to do that? Isn't that something the pastors do?

To try to make a long story short (or in actuality, LONGER if I'm true to form), our congregation is in a period of transition. Our lead pastor took a call last summer, and we have been working through the time of self-study leading to the formation of a call committee that will culminate in interviewing pastoral candidates and issuing a call for a lead pastor. During that time, our church has been operating with an Interim Lead Pastor -- supplied by the synod (of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) -- and our Associate Pastor. 

As timing would have it, our Associate Pastor and his wife are seeking a call to minister together, which led to his recent resignation, allowing the call committee to consider both positions simultaneously.

Add to that the Head to Heart confirmation program we started last fall, re-imagining confirmation as a cooperative ministry including large group sessions with presentation of information and small group sessions of 4-5 students and two adult mentors to discuss and digest the information within the context of meaningful relationships established over time. 

God used this ministry to establish deep connections and create great momentum moving into this year. Students were excited, dare I say adamant, about coming to confirmation and not missing their small groups. Leaders have established bonds with the students in their small groups and their fellow leaders, as we cooperatively worked through the first year -- learning about each other, the needs of our students, how to best reach and teach and what God has in store for us.

So when our Associate Pastor announced his departure, he and the council discerned it would be in the best interests of the confirmation students to 1) not overwhelm the sole interim pastor, 2) continue to build momentum and ownership of the amazing work God has begun within these people, 3) hire a layperson already familiar with the program to serve as the administrative, organizational and relational glue to keep the program moving forward.

And so, I was called.

And I answered, "YES, Lord!"

Isn't it crazy how, just at the moment I was considering a call to ministry and discerning how that could work while still honoring the care and nurture of my young family, God also called my pastor and his wife to begin ministry together, thereby opening this unique door of opportunity?

And herein, the process begins. On a rainy Saturday I place my trust in that same Lord to stir in the hearts of of our congregation a curiosity for this ministry, a love for these children, and for those whom he will call through my invitation, a willingness to say, "YES, Lord!"

What's tugging at your heart? In your restlessness, where do you look to find answers? What is your call?