I was in the office of a church member this morning and she was almost in tears out of worry because a member of our church's nominating committee had asked her to lunch. She knew the reason for the invitation-she was going to be asked to be on Session (our governing body of elders). This is the season in the life of our congregation when folks are being approached by our nominating committee to "prayerfully consider" serving on Session.
This woman is one of those 20% of the congregation that does 80% of the work and is getting terribly burned out. She said that she and her significant other (who is currently on session) might take a year or so off from church work. Why do we do this to ourselves and to our most faithful members? I think that part of the reason is the way we tend to go about inviting people into ministry. We use words like volunteer and recruit, which makes it seem that the ministry is just about plugging in warm bodies to do certian jobs without regard to calling and giftedness. Women and men are not recruited by Christ, but rather called by Christ to particpate in his creative and redemptive work in the world.
I encouraged this woman to ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit as she reevaluates her ministy activities. I am sure that God is not calling her to drop out completely, but is calling her to be discerning as to where she spends her energy. Ministry is work and often can be a struggle, but when one is working within one's unique giftedness, it also is a great joy, full of meaning and purpose. This woman told me she feels like she "must say yes because I should be willing to do what's needed." I told her to stop "shoulding" on herself and stop "musterbating." (This is a church member I can say such things to!)
So, I pray for all of us whose "no" button is broken- that we might say "no" in order that we might say "yes" to Christ's call.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
If you had asked me just last week if I would ever have a blog, I would have laughed until I peed. No, really. And so would anyone who knows me well. It takes me awhile to catch on to anything remotely technological. I just got a cell phone 2 months ago- and only because so many people were on my case about it. I still usually forget to take it with me.
Anyway, I changed my mind about blogging when I heard about the RevGalBlogPals the other day. I checked it out and was amazed to discover this world where people are talking about the kinds of things I want to talk about: putting faith into action, pastor/mommy stress, how much choclolate one had consumed in the past 5 hours.... So, I decided to get over myself and try to set up one of these blog thingys. You know, it wasn't so bad. It took me over an hour to do the "5 minute set-up," but my head did not explode!
So, here I am. I'm still not sure what I'm doing, but I want to be part of it! I've been craving the kind of mutual support, encouragement and laughter that I seen on other RGBP sites.
I've titled this blog 'Growing Where I'm Planted' because I'm feeling a little restless right now and I've been reminded of the advice I would get from my Mom when I was feeling this way growing up. She'd say, "You gotta grow where you're planted."
I am in a period of discernment right now. I am serving part-time (yeah, whatever) as a pastor in a PC(USA) congregation. I am incredibly blessed in my work. My congregation is a healthy, growing, fun, compassionate voice for justice and peace in our community. I have lots of opportunities to preach, which I love, and the worship is wonderful. However, since my head of staff (a beloved friend and colleague) left for another call a few months ago, I have been feeling very restless. I am not feeling called to leave this city. My family loves it here- my son just started Kindergarten in a Spanish language immersion school and my husband is happy in his work. My 3 year old is happy anywhere!
I began going to a spiritual director this past week becasue I've really been feeling the desire to go deeper in my spiritual practices. I had avoided spiritual direction because the classes I took in this vein in seminary seemed to me, at the time, to be a little "woo-woo." I wonder if anyone knows what I mean. I didn't "get" guided meditation. You know, meeting someone in a meadow and they give you a gift..... Yeah, I was a little resistant! And more than a little scared. I am looking forward to taking this journey with my spiritual director. Perhaps I will be able to listen for the Holy Spirit speaking to me in my restlessness.