new season, new priorities

I’m not sure quite how I feel about it.

The time I have had with Laura, Camille and Russell has truly been wonderful. It reminds me of my inclination to teach when we first moved to Allen – to have a work schedule that paralleled those of Laura and the kids. I hope in this new upcoming season of my work life to better balance work and family time.

I’ve also been wondering about where I may be led to focus my energies in the coming years – whether to maintain things or make some changes. I’ve had a few different emphases over my ministry:

1) In college (88-92) I focused on Social Justice activities directly.
2) In seminary (92-96) I led others into Social Justice ministries.
3) In Midland (96-97) I wanted to set great patterns for ministry, but ended up just trying to keep from falling down.
4) In Gladewater (97-2002) I developed neighborhood outreach, learned to be a small town pastor, and taught college courses in New Testament and Ethics, both Christian and Philosophical.

5) Since we moved to Allen in 2002… I’ve put significant energy into the following areas in addition to the obvious and normal stuff a pastor does (preaching, teaching, pastoral care, administration):
* Training and coaching people seeking to develop their ministries
* Local ecumenical work in the Allen Ministerial Alliance
* Playing Guitar in our Contemporary worship service

* Reshaping the congregational governance under a new Constitution and By-Laws
* Teaching Bible Survey Courses @ church
* Led the youth ministry for a few years
* Dealt with an 18 month period where the church participation dropped by 50%
* Launched a second worship service (twice!)
* Writing poetry and essays

* Coaching New Church Pastor/Developers
* Community relationships through Rotary and Chamber of Commerce
* NTA Committee on the Ministry which nurtures lay pastors
* NTA Lay Ministry Training Program, which trains lay pastors
* NTA youth camps
* Coached Russell’s Soccer team
* Served as a volunteer and staff chaplain at two hospitals

What I really want to do in this next season of my own personal ministry is enter into a slower pace, not take on any new projects for myself and just be available to listen. So, to that end I want to focus my ministry on:

My own spiritual life – daily prayer and study, weekly day of silence, monthly 36 hour retreat and yearly 5 day retreat
Study of scripture and theology
Sermon preparation and delivery
Training and coaching upcoming ministry leaders (this includes working with Shirley during her Supervised Ministry Year, with lay leaders at FG, and my continuing commitment to the LMTP for this next year)
Caring conversations with people, in the congregation and in the community (this includes my 5 hours/wk @ TCRH)
Writing poetry and essays to capture my reflections on these experiences

I will of course be also taking time for self care, family and friendships
Exercising daily – at least walking, pushups and situps
Weekly time for a ‘date’ with Laura – time to talk
An activity to share with Russell (probably around sports) and Camille (maybe around music)
Guy’s night out several times per month
Spending time in the woods (at the Heard, etc)
Talking by phone to my dad & siblings weekly

2 thoughts on “new season, new priorities

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