Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Doing ministry,

Today’s letter is different. It’s two extended announcements. Or rather, my attempt to solicit feedback on what you’d like your church to do.

1) Over the past year, we’ve partnered with St. Barnabas Lutheran on the first Wednesday night of each month. Together, the hope was, we’d recruit volunteers to staff IOCP’s foodshelf and thrift store, 5:30-8PM, so they could keep it open later. Other churches took the other Wednesdays.

Since then, St. Barny’s stopped sending their youth, so they’ve had less volunteers attending. Our volunteers have fluctuated, though recently we’ve been absent. IOCP needs 6-8 foodshelf volunteers each time, and 4-5 thrift store. Regulars can arrive by 5:45. 5:30 for training for first timers. If we stick with St. Barny’s, we’d probably need 5-7 each month. If we switched to Thursdays, once a month, as IOCP now offers, we’d need 10-13 (more, yes, but that would let choir folk participate). Or we could decide this isn’t for us.

Personally, I’d like Plymouth Creekers to do more volunteer service together, and more regularly. It helps build relationships, connect visitors, grow in faith. But I don’t know if church members want this too. So will you please tell me whether you’d like to participate in either of those options, and if so, how regularly you could commit? Those who’ve served before have really enjoyed it…just sayin’…

2) In just the past two weeks, we received a neat opportunity. A pastor I know and respect in Des Moines wrote me, “Shane, the family of a young man who grew up in my church moved to MN last year. Now, he’s looking for a church to do an unpaid internship this Spring. He’s a college junior, considering ordained ministry. So I told him about Plymouth Creek. He checked and liked your website. Heads up that he’ll be calling. Btw, I think he’s a wonderful young man.”

Sure enough, we traded emails, then had a video conference interview. I, too, found him bright and delightful. I asked the Board their verdict on hosting him as a full-time intern for two months (April 8-June 2), and they gave an enthusiastic, “Yes”.

What I’d like from the church, then, are your ideas on how to use his time best, particularly helping him understand what effective church pastors need to do. Feel free to send me project ideas, studies you’d attend, invitations to coffee/lunch at your place, whatever! In other words, I’m hopeful you’ll all pitch in somehow to make the experience a success. He’ll be blown away, I’m sure, by your creativity, faithfulness and wisdom!

I also asked him to write a short intro, so you could learn of him firsthand. Here’s what he sent:

Hi, my name is Hayden. I'm a junior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, studying Math and Philosophy. I grew up mostly in West Des Moines, IA, but my family, including my parents Dave and Sandy and two little sisters Bailey (13) and Lacey (11), recently moved to Excelsior, MN, which is how I became acquainted with your church! While it may not be clear from my majors, I've been working out a call into the ministry since about my junior year of high school through prayer, some campus ministries, a few classes I've taken, and participation in worship at the church I attend here at Dartmouth. Accordingly, I'm quite excited to start considering that call a little bit more concretely through my time serving at Plymouth Creek, and very thankful for your support in that process. During my time with you all I hope to gain a better understanding of what it's like to be a minister, to continue learning about the Disciples of Christ, and to grow in knowledge of the specific areas of ministry to which God is calling me, whether that be preaching, church leadership, counseling, teaching, or some combination of them all! In my free time I enjoy walking, singing, reading, praying, playing sports, and talking with others. Hopefully we can do some of those things together soon!

Until then, God bless, Hayden

There we have it, your soon-to-be newest intern! Lots of ministry ahead, amen? Good.

Grace and Peace,

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