Ministry Opportunities for 2009 and beyond….

I presented my work schedule in the Fall of 2007, based upon a 60 hour work week with roughly 20 hours of involvement with FGCC folks, 20 hours in prayer and study, and 20 hours out in the community in various ways. I am asking for your prayerful consideration and feedback as I continue to explore this allocation of time. Included in this discussion are some new ministry opportunities that have been presented to me by our Area Minister, Rev. Dr. Larry Ross. Below I’ll try to outline them in my present situation.
In 2007 I began to experience a new movement of ministry extending some new opportunities for our ministry to extend out from the local congregation of Forest Grove in ways consistent with the vision and mission of the church.
Existing Work:
The most dramatic of those was the Barnabas Ministry, where I began to serve as a Coach/Mentor to two pastor developers of new Disciples congregations – one in Georgia and one in North Carolina. ( I have finished my work with those two projects and have been asked to come to Indianapolis for a conference where I would meet and begin working with two new projects, as well as help to lead several workshops at the conference. That event is February 23-27. From my earliest discussions at Forest Grove I heard that planting new congregations was part of the long-term vision of the congregation, and this Barnabas ministry is a way for us to be a part of that work. This ministry came into my life through an encounter I had at the NEW07 leadership event, and General Assembly in July of 2007. These encounters led to an invitation to participate in this ministry, and a feeling of being called to do so. ( This work involved two trips during the year out of town, and two hours of phone conference per month per project.
During 2008 I began serving 5 hours/week as the Chaplain of Twin Creeks Rehabilitation Hospital. My work there largely involves providing a listening ear and spiritual support to individuals who lack a local faith community to provide such ministry. ( This ministry began as an opportunity to prepare a proposal for the CEO of the hospital for him to use with his development team as they considered “what it means to provide for the spiritual needs of our patients.” He later asked me if I would consider in fact taking that position as the hospital’s first chaplain. This work began in July of 2008.
New Opportunities:
Back in 2006 I began serving on the NTA Committee on the Ministry (COM). This committee of laity and clergy works with Licensed Ministers of the North Texas Area Disciples of Christ congregations. My commitment to that has concluded. I have just been asked to consider serving as the chair of that committee, which meets 4 Mondays during the year at the NTA office in Garland. In addition, the role of chair of the Area committee also places one on the Regional COM (RCOM), which meets for three sessions of three days each during the year in Ft. Worth – for a total of 12 days per year average. This would be a two year commitment. The RCOM works with lay people or licensed ministers who are candidates for ordination – most typically Seminary Students – over a 3-4 year period. Candidates typically meet with RCOM once per year during that time. RCOM also meets to address clergy misconduct issues.
Second, I have been invited to serve as the Dean of the Lay Ministry Training Program, of which Shirley Johannsen is a graduate, and Gary Rodenbaugh, Tish Franz, Andrew Anderson, and Terri McDonald are currently participants. This would be a two year commitment of 4 Saturday sessions, plus the time involved in preparing for the sessions – maybe an additional 6 full days per year. An interesting note about this opportunity, as Larry Ross has described it – our denomination is in the process of revising the Order of Ministry ( The proposed new Order will include a non-seminary track toward ordination requiring at least 250 contact hours of training leading to competence in 15 areas of Pastoral Ministry. This position of Dean of the LMTP will have an opportunity to help shape that new training track.
You also should know that in August of 2008 I concluded my commitment to direct the NTA Chi Rho Camp program and will be taking at least a two year break from that ministry to focus on these other opportunities.
To sum up –
1) Recent ministries that are concluding:
a) Camp Director – included 1 week / summer, 2 weekends, plus approx. 40 hours prep work.
b) NTA Committee on the Ministry – 1.5 days / quarter
2) Existing ministries beyond the local congregation
a) Barnabas Coach to New Church Planters thru New Church Ministries – 8 days of travel + 8 hrs/month phone conference – pays $1000 stipend per project – 2-3/year.
b) Chaplain – Twin Creeks Rehabilitation Hospital – 5 hrs/week – pays $35/hr – max $750/month
3) New opportunities to serve
a) RCOM & NTA-COM – total of 12 days/year plus a few conference calls – non-compensated, but expenses are covered for travel, housing & meals
b) Dean LMTP – 4 Saturdays + approximately 40 hours/year in planning and preparation – non-compensated but expenses reimbursed.
4) Other Local Community Ministries in which I’m actively involved
a) Allen Area Chamber of Commerce participant
b) Convener of the Allen Area Ministerial Alliance
A few final pieces of ‘context’ – As I think about preparation of our Sabbatical Grant Proposal ( and their guiding question – “What Will Make Your Heart Sing?” I think about the ministry that I currently do in and thru FGCC, and what I hope for the future. I will be increasing my time commitment to prayer and spiritual disciplines, particularly at present following the model outlined in Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. The two things I find most rewarding in my ministry beyond my study, prayer and devotional life with God are the ministry of Preaching/Teaching, and serving as a Mentor/Guide/Coach to people seeking to discern and grow in their call to ministry and the gifts and graces God has given them. You may have encountered some of my thoughts on ‘A Center for Suburban Spirituality’ driven by the question – What would it mean for our congregation to understand itself primarily as a community of Spiritual Formation and Theological Reflection?” (See for an introduction to that discussion.) My most rewarding ministry lately has been in conversation with folks on that journey of discovery in their own lives and living and growing their faith, spirituality, and ministry in the local congregation and beyond.
I envision this discussion to be one that unfolds over time. My goal will be to discern how I can best glorify and serve God with my ministry efforts and in so doing, to serve Forest Grove as the base of my ministry. I wish to be increasingly transparent with this conversation in the spirit of words by poet Wendell Berry “The community of knowing in common is the seed of our life in this place.” ( As proverbs says: Without counsel, plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed. (Pr 15:22) I wish to live more fully my belief that God works thr
ough the wisdom and counsel of the gathered people of faith when they come together in prayer and seek God’s leading.
Any place you see to jump into this conversation, you are welcome.

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