Permit me to Speak Freely (Ramblings of a new full time Pastor)

So it has been about a month and a week or so since my transition from 17 years of building steel structures into building a building not made by hands. I tend to reflect much further down the line and usually in some ironic method. (i.e. sitting in line at the grocery store and buying a kit-kat and realizing how the Butler never had regular kit kats in the vending machine and now that I am in a new profession I can find a kit kat which would lead me to tears of gratitude.) I’m going to attempt to put to text what I do understand to this point.

First and foremost I think the day of the church announcement was especially emotional for my family because this has been a Corporate Sheffield prayer for about 10 years. That God would send me somewhere to be a support. I carry the same gene of looking 15-20 years younger than I am as my parents. As they are pushing 80 I was starting to get worried that they would not be able to see the day. When they did, and to be so healthy to enjoy it made it all the more special. I’ve been driven to every job that I have on the first day by my parents. This one was ceremonially the first one where they didn’t. We like setting stones of remembrance.

Secondly. There are worldviews that are altered, paradigms that are shifted with this transition. There is one philosophy that hasn’t recognized why extra dedicated staff in God’s kingdom work is beneficial to everyone. Then there is a misunderstanding about the nature of the work. I get some “so how do you balance both jobs?” With my response “no. This is my job. My profession is my vocation.” That one usually leads to further questions. And then when you explain “I’m the pastor of Discipleship” the response is usually “Children?”

“No Discipleship”

“You’re doing visitation?”

“Certainly. But I am the Pastor of Discipleship.”

“Oh! Evangelism!”

…  ” “

Job security is a good thing. It is kind of interesting that ‘Disciple’ is probably one of the major terms used to define those who belong to Christ in scripture. It seems like we’re coming up short on defining what a disciple is much less what it looks like. I think there is something to be said when an inner city church has a Pastor whose vision is to formulate multiple streams of spiritual formation in the lives of the people who are members… as a priority. Sounds like Gospel-centered ministry. We tend to scrutinize the complex verses in scripture and gloss over the simple directives like “make disciples by means of going, baptizing, and teaching’ or ‘they will know that you are kingdom minded, children of God, Gospel focused disciples by the way you love people who don’t look like you.’

Lastly people ask ‘are you excited’ or ‘is it everything you expected?’ And I know what they are getting at but I’m wired differently. One is because emotional excitement began to transition in 2001 when I got confirmation from God before I knew where it would happen. It transitioned to perseverance when God kept His promise inspite of how horrible I have been waiting. Expectations changed somewhere between Tomlinsons advanced Greek II course and my second biological child. Then I went to Haiti and Haiti put to reality my belief that ‘God does not need me to do anything.’

Its a reserved excitement. A provisional excited if you will. Most people who know me know I’m looking for the day I get out of here. Seen enough and know me well enough to be settled with the fact that this place is not it. Especially the stuff I like about here, I think that motivates me more than anything. The transition is all part of the process. I go to work with a better gratitude but Butler was much needed for me to get to this point.  Trying to keep the marathon pace can be difficult. I try to keep in mind my little piece is just a smudge in the grand mural God is painting as we head on into eternity. I’m excited….extremely excited. Humbled every day and the tears keep coming. But I’m more curious about what all this will mean when the trumpet shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise first….

to be continued.



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