Yet Another Change of Pace

I’m currently considering changing the nature of this blog, its intent and so on. Part of this will be making it viewable only by members. It might actually be that I simply start a whole new blog.

Regardless, as it looks right now, given my schedule and responsibilities, I probably won’t be updating this blog as it stands right now much in the future.

The original point of this blog was for it to be a community tool for my colleagues in seminary. This didn’t really happen. Instead, it quickly became something else, for reasons almost entirely outside my control.

I feel like I’ve learned a lot in doing this blogging thing. I’ve ‘met’ a lot of interesting people and a lot of obnoxious people as well as a result of it all, which is to be expected. This is the internet, after all. Many people, in their defense, have ‘met’ me and found me obnoxious, so that’s fair.

In short, though, if you are currently in a first call, or looking toward a first call, or in seminary, or thinking about attending seminary, email me or contact me otherwise to let me know if you’d be interested in a collective blog for mutual support. I’m looking toward a career in ministry with a lot of excitement and frankly a lot of fear. 50% burnout in the first five years is unbelieveable, and says to me that once you’re out there, you don’t get a lot of support. Seminary hasn’t come anywhere near preparing me for the things I already know I’ll face in pastoral ministry (except for the field education aspect). But if anyone needs me to exegete a passage, I’m an exegetical ninja now, with well over 30 credit hours in biblical studies, biblical languages, and so on. That’s ten times the amount of coursework I’ve had in preaching, pastoral care and counseling, leading worship, teaching, formation, spritual development, and so on, but who’s counting?

Anway, I think it might be a good idea to have some kind of forum where we, the rising generation of ministers of word and sacrament, lay pastors, youth ministers and so on, can write, vent, reflect and find mutual support.

If you’re interested, drop me a line – in the comments thread here, via email, etc.

10 thoughts on “Yet Another Change of Pace

  1. I don’t quite meet your qualifications either–after five years in my first call, I’m now two months into my second–but I thought I’d offer a few jumbled reflections, anyway, if you don’t mind.–Yes, there are a lot of churches that don’t give their pastors a lot of support. I ended up in one. After five years there (which is a long first pastorate, as these things go), I’m still on my feet, though.–One reason would be the presbytery. Find a good presbytery–and by that, I don’t mean ideologically, but relationally–and they will give you the support you need, as mine did me. Denver never voted with me, but they always loved me, encouraged me, and built me up. It’s one of the two main reasons I’m still going.–Pray without ceasing. I had some major trials in my first call; I think I learned more about prayer from getting through those than from almost anything in my life, because to process them, I would spend an hour at a time talking with God. Pray hard, pray early, pray often, and you really will make it.–Don’t put down the value of those exegesis classes. Fundamentally, most of us don’t really serve the church well as technicians, not that the church often knows that; we serve the church well when we bring them the Word of God, and bring them <>into<> the Word. Immerse yourself in the presence of God, in study and in prayer, and trust God to do what you cannot do and aren’t gifted to do, and God will bless your ministry.–Which is really Christ’s ministry; we just participate in it, and the more clearly we realize that, the better off we are. The one book I recommend to everyone these days is Andrew Purves’ <>The Crucifixion of Ministry<>; coming to see much of the pain I felt in my first ministry setting not as failure on my part but as God doing a necessary work of pruning in my soul was a healing and liberating realization. Read it, and go armed with that truth, would be my recommendation to you.Anyway, though I’m in a bit of a different place, I’m always interested in that sort of conversation. As you will.

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  2. Dear Doug,Depending on how you count, I’m either (a) finished with my first call of 2 years, (b) awaiting a first call in the near or far future, or (c) consigned to being a perpetual adolescent in the under-care process.Either way, being in blog-contact with other people who are just entering the ministry has been enormously helpful to me over the last 2 1/2 years, and I’d be happy to participate in such a thing in a more intentional way.Heather

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  3. Jodie, Rob and HeatherJust so you don’t think I’m ignoring you, I’m open to those who are interested in this project being involved in it. The focus will be first-call stuff (since that’s where I see the need at the moment – *my* need that is!) but it doesn’t have to be exclusively about that.There will be a little agreement to frame the conversation which you’ll get to read over and decide whether you’re still interested. The agreement will be about things like groundrules so that people can feel a little more free about saying what they’re thinking without fear of being jumped on or talked down to – not that that happens on the internet or anything.

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  4. Doug,I’ve enjoyed our conversations over the past months, it’s been interesting. I certainly don’t meet your requirements, but am interested in dropping in now and again. If that works for great, if not best wishes.Craig

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  5. 🙂Gee, ya think?Seriously, though, yeah, that would be how it would need to work.And Heather, I hear you on the “perpetual adolescent” thing. What they don’t tell you is, that can be absolutely deadly, because you have to switch over mentally and emotionally to being adult-in-chief in a big hurry (and some Sessions operate about like small kindergarten classes, just to make it worse); if you don’t, you can end up in big trouble. (I did.)

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  6. Doug,Any way you want to call it.I have an enormous amount of empathy for first time solo pastors. You’ve heard of the sink or swim method of teaching how to swim? What if the body of water were the Colorado river rapids?It’s just not kind.

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  7. Doug,I’m another misfit, like Rob and Craig and Jodie. I, too, say I’d like to drop by now and then, but you set the rules and that’s okay by me.In Christ,Mark Brantley-Gearhart

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