As you may know, last year was not an easy year for me in my professional life. Being denied an internship because of who God created me to be was a knife to my heart and, honestly, there were times where I wanted to give this all up: drop out of Seminary, leave the Church, and forget about everything. However, God continued to work in my life and continued to add fuel to the fire and passion that burns within me.
Throughout the second half of the year, I was able to take some time to listen and rest. I reflected on the times in my life where I felt the most at home. I began to think about the gifts God has given me and where they shine most. Then, I began to reflect on my time at Shepherd of the Hills. The past two and a half years have been incredible here and I have loved every second of the work I have been able to do here. However, there was still a disconnect that I could not overcome.
Towards the end of October, I began to have some interesting conversations with colleagues and friends and realized where the disconnect is: I am not called to be a Pastor, at least not right now. I love serving the Church and every member who makes up this beautiful, wonderful community of Christ. However, my gifts and passion were not given to me to fill the office of Pastor. Instead, I believe God has prepared the path for me to serve the Church as a Deacon. This has been an excruciating and time-consuming decision. Yet, I am not sure there has ever been a decision that has felt as right as this one. So, I figured I would take some time answer a few common questions about what all of this means.
First, what is a Deacon and why does it matter? A Deacon is an Office of ministry that is routed in the Biblical narrative. In Acts 6, the Apostles appointed seven Deacons to serve widows who were not being cared for and who were not receiving food. Essentially, the Deacon’s position is to serve at the intersection of faith and society. That can mean a lot of different things. Deacons can fill a number of roles such as music director, youth director, faith community nurse, administrator, Seminary professor, nonprofit director, and so much more. This is so clearly where I see God calling me right now. I see my calling to ministry in the teaching and serving of specific people and populations.
Second, what does this mean for my academic and professional future? Academically speaking, it really means nothing. I will finish my course work this next Semester and will still need to do my internship next year. Because the internship is half of a pastoral internship, I should be able to graduate in December 2018 and begin my first call as soon as possible after that.
Finally, what can you do? Pray. Pray for me and all who occupy the seats of the adjudicatory bodies that control my future. I am very excited for what God has store for me, but there are still many things to accomplish in order to allow this to happen. I am confident that God will continue to provide for me and show me the path forward, but there will still be much to overcome this year.
Thank you all for your love, care, and support of me this past year. It was an emotional roller coaster and I do not think I would have been able to make it through without the Staff and Congregation of Shepherd of the Hills. Thanks be to God for all you!
Blessings to you and your family in this New Year!