it is interesting as school draws to a close (and not quick enough), how I have had to make a dramatic shift. It has been fun and games to put on a few theological hats, argue until my face turned blue, and tried to sound all theomological. Now, however, I am realizing the weight and freedom of doing full time ministry.
I realize the weight, because I see the difficulty of helping form and send people. It is so counter to our me-centered culture where Sunday services are about “me experiencing God.” I truly believe that people are hardwired to be in community (to God, each other and the world), but I believe that the wiring has gotten rusty and loose, and at times it has caused an electrical fire that has scarred many people–further isolating them. It is hard to help equip people to be vulnerable and authentic when they have been unable to first experience true community and fellowship to know its restorative power.
At the same time, this is freeing because the ownness is not upon me and my performance but upon God’s relation to us. And since we have seen God has chosen to work on our behalf…all the way to the cross…then we are really able to live in that freedom.
As I gear up, I am amazed at the ways God has brought me through a variety of different ministries and experiences (FCA, Young Life, Warehouse242, Providence) to better prepare me for ministry than seminary ever has. I am being drawn back to the same ideas and books of providing “real relationships to God, each other and the world” (W242’s motto) through Incarnational/Relational ministry (YL) in order to produce disciples (FCA) while honoring our particular tradition’s heritage (Providence).
Now I believe that I have been given the tools not to just regurgitate these ideas, but rather extrapolate and translate for others. The other day I was walking back from class with my Bible, a journal, Barth’s 4.3.2 and Newbigin’s “Gospel in the Pluralist Society” and I realized I would be happy just reading these things over and over again.