When I was 22 years old, I’m pretty sure that when I envisioned what I’d be doing at age 41, I dreamt things like winning an Oscar or a Pulitzer Prize (or at least having been nominated). I would work at the New York Times as a film critic or an investigative reporter. Or I’d be a well-known and respected director/actor on stage or screen.
I certainly didn’t imagine that I’d be a pastor. I couldn’t have conceived that by this point in ministry I’d have served for six years as a United Church of Christ Conference staff. (For those of you not familiar with esoteric church lingo, conference staff = church trainer/consultant/regional executive.) I would never have imagined that this would take me to visit hundreds of churches in many different states. I never knew that I would have a nerdy fascination with developing organizations and administrative systems at just the time that the church would need to reinvent its structures. I could not have guessed that my love of communications would perfectly suit me to create online faith communities that could help mend the church’s ailing public image.
Along with finding out these unexpected things about myself, God’s call beckons me to another unexpected place and time. Today, along with the Michigan Conference UCC, where I currently serve, and the Ohio Conference UCC, where I am about to serve, I am announcing another life/job change. For at least the next two years, I will serve in a very new position in the Ohio Conference UCC in which I will be able to do so many things I love to do — “connecting people with people, need with resources, and hope with opportunity” — as the position description names. I will work part-time for the Ohio Conference starting in April from my current home in Michigan. After I move to Columbus, I will begin working full-time June 15.
I feel excited for the new opportunity and the promise of making new friends and colleagues in Ohio and, at the same time, incredibly sad to leave the friends and colleagues I have made in Michigan. I’m so grateful for the way these wonderful Michiganders welcomed me to a new place and made me one of their own so quickly. I am deeply indebted to my wonderful colleagues on the Michigan Conference staff who invited this stranger into their ministry.
Thinking further back, I am so grateful that in my 20-something naiveté, I asked the evocative question, “God, what DO you want me to do?” I’m grateful I still ask that question over and over and over again. God’s call is always unexpected, challenging and joy-filled. I can’t imagine doing life any other way.
I’m looking forward to where God is leading us all on this journey. Please be in prayer with me as I make this transition.