Such is the start of several conversations I've had lately with folks who wonder why I'm not serving one particular church, full-time.
"But you're good at it. Why would you not?"
"The church needs you. Why are you keeping your gifts from it by not applying for ___ job?"
"Did you really go to seminary just to supply preach?"
I know that folks don't mean to be rude or insulting with these questions. What they're saying in a round about way, "You're good at this. Why don't you do more of it?"
For it's often the struggling preachers, or the new to ministry preachers or even the older retired ministers who engage in intentional short-term ministry. (And I don't think I fall into any of these categories).
So I get it. From the outside looking in, it might appear like I'm wasting my education, ordination or even time. For it's true: I don't know many 30 something female ministers who have chosen interim ministry as a way of life or even really enjoy supply preaching.
But I do! And here's the thing, I'm not wasting time. I'm exactly in the place of life I need to be.
I'm creating what doesn't exist.
It's great ministry to have one foot partly in the church and another foot somewhere else.
For me that somewhere else includes as much time as I can muster together thinking, writing and writing some more. It's the place where my book Birthed came from-- squirreling away hours of the day to loose myself in words with hopes that one day they would be of encouragement to someone else. And I would like to write more books.
That somewhere else includes dreaming, planning and working on the administrative details of a foundation I began last year. I've been quiet about it for a while waiting on my 501(c)3 status to come through before I mentioned it to you. But three weeks ago I finally got my paperwork!
Our Courageous Kids was born!
Our Courageous Kids is something you'll hear a lot more about in the future. But for now, this what I most want you to know: orphan care has become a great passion of our family. And out of this passion, my hope is that Our Courageous Kids will become a collective voice of empowerment for children that you'll consider partnering with!
It's mission is to come alongside orphanages around the world to provide grants for life and enrichment opportunities as well as scholarships for secondary education and college tuition. I want Our Courageous Kids to say to brave, brave children, you are not alone: you belong to us all and we want you to have the best future possible!
And that somewhere else includes being present with my family. Kevin, my husband, has a very fast paced schedule over at the American Diabetes Association as their CEO. I want to be as supportive to him as I can and available to travel to uplift him and those who are living with diabetes, a horrific disease. I want to have time with the children who are important in our lives. And I want to keep the bonds strong with friends who have become our family in places all over the world. I want all of these things because I know these special people make me more human. They know and love me unconditionally. And I love every minute I get to spend with them.
While there will always be large membership congregations that require full-time staff, such I think, will become more and more rare.
When I think about where the church will be in the next generation and then the next, I think that more of us will become part-time, embodied in the world ministers than full-time staff members with health and pension benefits.
Sure, financially it can be awkward at times to piece together different kinds of work and pay the bills, but as we as ministers become less dependent on the institutions to support us, we re-gain our prophetic voices.
We can say and do things that the Church needs to hear without fearing we'll not eat if we do. And we might just find ourselves becoming more human in the process. I know this has been my path. And I'm loving it.
What do you need to create that doesn't exist?