Tuesday, October 01, 2002

I remember a conversation I had with a good friend way back in the early 90's when I was in seminary. There we were- poor, really young and ludicrously idealistic and somewhat lamenting the fact that our prospects for a comfortable financial future were quite bleak. I think it had just dawned on us that we were going to be in the ministry for the rest of our lives. We were doomed to have to circle "Other" on various and sundry applications when it begged our occupation. I could only picture myself in a tiny, rural church with struggling farmers for parishioners (this prophecy would become reality) and having no money. How were we going to make it in ministry? How were we going to provide for our families? Shucks, we deserved to have our needs taken care of after having worked 4 part time jobs, pastoring a church an hour and a half away and being a full time student for three and a half years. We were in training to be professional ministers and stuff.

I got a taste of the professional ministry. Oh, I don't think......okay, I know I never reached "professional" status but I sure tried to be all polished and on top of the "game." The game was really a front for trying to be something I wasn't and trying to please people instead of God.

Now it's all "stuff." I don't know if I'll ever know what it's like again to be JUST a minister.......where that's all I do and get paid for it. I sometimes gaze in wonder at my compadres with their full-time pastorates.......where I used to be. But I left that and I was supposed to.

Veritas may never get to a point where it can support a couple of pastors. I have three part time jobs........I am a professional janitor, a professional newspaper delivery boy and a professional high school basketball referee. My wife rakes in more dough than I do. I get to do ministry for no monetary gain now.

I'm not so sure about this decentralized ministry/church thing................

Alright........I'm sure now.

You know something? I am happy. Even more, I am infused with joy when I think about what I get to do. We are up here for one reason alone and that is to see God do something magnificent here in the Oxford area in us and through us as we touch people for Him. It's just life. It happens outside my ability to predict it or comprehend it. Admittedly, I do sometimes crave the naivete of those halcyon days of yore, plugging away at my professional ministerial aspirations- but I would never go back to it.

Now the healthy disengagement as I go deliver papers..................