Tuesday, August 23, 2011
a place to grow
We spend a lot of time in young adult-ish clergy-esque academia-like groups talking about what is wrong with the church. Too many expectations. Too much rigidity. Too much defensive posturing. Too old. And, at different times, a lot of that is true. You don't need to be a genius to figure out that the mainline Protestant denominations are declining fast. And that Americans don't like losing at things. At the risk of sounding defeatist, I struggle frequently with the sense many churches have that if they cease to exist, God will cease to work. But anyway, today, I want to talk about some stuff that is going right.
I have been so blessed, as I have tumbled through this whole seven-years-minimum ordination thing, to end up in congregations that have accepted me and taught me. Blakemore United Methodist Church nurtured my skills, cheered me along, and blessed me in my engagement and marriage. The pastors I worked with taught me so much about ministry, and about giving your life to something more than yourself. They taught me in both word and deed, and sometimes they showed me what not to do.
And now, Countryside United Methodist Church ("a place to grow") is giving me a chance to flex and strengthen my ministerial muscles in so many ways, every day. Rather than disregarding me because I am young, or female, I am included in making important decisions. I work with an amazing senior pastor who is not afraid to let me preach frequently, attend the sacraments, and lead in the ordering of the church. This church has embraced me and helped me grow my daughter (both inside and outside my body!).
So, ask me on another day, and I can tell you everything that is wrong. I can give you all the doom and gloom you care to indulge in. But today . . . I'm so grateful for a place to grow.