About that finding the call thing…

Jan at A Church for Starving Artists is one of my favorite churchy people who blog.  I can’t think of a single post that didn’t resonate on some level, whether the humor, the pathos, the experience or the challenge.  And I read her stuff almost every day.

The other day, she wrote a great response to some of Brene Brown’s thoughts on calling and following your passions in her latest- Rising Strong.  Jan’s questions at the close felt like a pretty good prompt…

On this glorious fall day, I’d love to hear about your call. Does God feel near or far away?  Does your current purpose in life feel courageous or comfortable? Are we practicing what we value?  Or are we spending our days doing what’s fun, fast, and easy?   Discerning minds want to know.

At the moment, I find myself in a bit of a messy middle. I was asked by a congregation to serve in a designated role for a year. On paper, this is a very odd fit.

  • I am a change agent – this is a supremely change-averse congregation.
  • I lean progressive – they lean conservative
  • I like a relaxed worship service with jeans, a piano and guitar – they prefer robes and organ with a full choir

So when they asked, I struggled a bit. In fact, I had been in conversations with another congregation whose vision for ministry and worship looked so much more like mine, and they were searching for a called and installed position.  It was hard to know how to move forward.  I feared I might be missing out on The One by staying put. But here we are, 5 almost 6 months later, and we’re doing ok. Maybe better than ok.

In some ways, knowing that I am on a contract with an end-date, I feel great freedom to push a little harder, speak a little plainer, change a little faster than I might. I wonder some weeks if I’ve written the sermon that will get me fired or cancelled one too many traditional activities in favor of a new outreach, but I don’t want to get comfortable because time is so short and the need to get some kind of momentum is so critical.

Whether I was meant to be here because of my gifts or being here has revealed some particular gifts, I don’t know. That is a mystery for sure.  The bigger question will come at the end of this contract. I suspect I will be asked to consider at least an extension, perhaps even a longer designated term. At which point, I will have to ask… Should I stay or should I go?  And what will be the more courageous of the options?

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