Important Disclaimer

Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation.

It also does not represent my children's perspective, nor my mother's; they think I am funny, but misguided.
(Quick update: only my mother thinks I'm funny now.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Leaky Ministry

Three and a half years ago, I started working on a collaborative youth ministry with students in and around Trenton, NJ. We began with 2 churches, quickly added a 3rd. A 4th church joined us for a while and then left. A 5th church flirts with our ministry now and then. It's been an incredible few years. We currently have over 100 youth and young adults from 5th grade through college age who participate on a regular basis. Our ministry has expanded outside of the churches' boundaries into the surrounding neighborhoods, bringing together a wild mix of people from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It has been exhilarating and challenging.

Over the last year, one of our churches has been in conversation with me about stepping out of our collaboration. My last day on staff with Covenant Presbyterian Church will be July 31. Because of
the nature of this collaborative ministry, all of our students will continue to be part of our ministry, even as Covenant moves on to other ways of being church.

Many folks have been asking me how I feel about all of this and what the implications are for continued ministry, especially with students who originally came to us through Covenant's doors. 

First, our students will remain with our ministry. It was never our intent for the collaborative ministry to replace church membership, but rather to supplement and support what the churches can do for themselves. I will continue as pastor with this ministry and with all of our students. 

Second, like any ending, this ending comes with a multitude of emotions that are difficult to articulate all at once. I am so grateful for the years of support Covenant has offered. I am sad and angry that
this part of our collaboration is ending. I am relieved that I will be able to continue ministering with our students. I am excited about new focus and energy this year as we reshape our ministry. And so much more that I cannot say here--endings are so full of emotion!

Third, I have learned so much in the last three years. So much about ministry, about inter-cultural ministry, about how churches work, about what I love and don't love about the business of being church. I have learned boatloads about myself, how I work and don't work well, what I am longing for as a pastor in community, what I desire for myself as an individual, balancing/integrating work and family life. I've learned about working for 5 bosses at once (not counting Jesus). 

I expect, as I continue with this ministry, that I will learn so much more from our students, their families, and the church communities that support us. 

I pray for Covenant, their leadership and membership, and for the surrounding community. I pray that they might be blessed in their future ministry, that they might be a conduit for the Spirit of God, pouring out love into the community, in ways beyond our human understanding.

I pray for peace in all of our hearts, that we might know we did all we could to honor God and one another in our relationship together over the last three and a half years. May God continue to work on our stubborn, flawed souls, teasing out the music of creation despite our best efforts.

Go in peace, wipe the dust. Christ will do the rest.

Selah.



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