Word of the Week


Even if you aren't in a religious profession, conferences are always a part of our professional lives-- especially if we want to always be on the top of your game. And, most professional folks will say that we've all gone to conferences that are lame and those that make you love more what you do.

I have to say that I've had a wonderful experience as part of my year long Lewis Fellowship and am enjoying my time with the group as it continues this week.

I love being around so many intellectually driven people who also love the church.

I love being challenged by new ideas and coming home with tons of new possibilities for ministry.

I love being humbled by the gifts and accomplishments of my peers for it makes me want to be better at what I do.

I love having the opportunity to be around ministers who know what it means to be labeled a "young pastor."

I'm sure I'll want to add more reflections about this experience as this week continues. But, for now, I want to share a statement shared with the group by Rev. Tom Berlin, pastor of Floris United Methodist Church (in Herndon- our neighbor!).

He said the that work of pastors is to love the church and teach others to love it as much as we do. Yet, often, it is in seminary that we come to love the church and get there and find that it is not what we had hoped it to be. Rev. Berlin went on to add that it is the love of the church that we learn in seminary, the vision of what we believe the church to be is what we spend our professional life trying to create. And, that on our worse days of ministry-- when everything does not go as plan and discouragement comes-- it is the vision of the church which propels us on.

I felt like that was just the right word for me at this time in my professional life.

There are mountains we need to climb at Washington Plaza to continue to grow into the church that likes up to its potential.

With us, some days things will not go as planned. Some days we are going to disagree. And, even some days, I might be caught in the middle of disagreements which I might or might have not caused. And, all of this is difficult, draining work.

Yet, I feel confident that we are about becoming a different kind of Baptist church at Washington Plaza. What we are doing is so important. There should be nothing stopping us, no matter how high the mountains are.

So, I will remember this vision that I learned in seminary and am reminded of during weeks like this: that God longs for the church to become a place that reflects God's kingdom in ways that show love, acceptance, prophetic social change, embodiment of the good news of Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for the blessing that the Lewis Fellowship is in my life. And for the joy that I have from holding tight to the fact that church has relevance and importance in today's time and generations to come.