Where Have You Been So Long?

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve written a blog post. There are several excuses I can make for that being the case. First, Vanessa and I bought a business and, believe it or not, it is time consuming. Second, the title of my webpage is “Not the Perfect Pastor,” and I’m not a pastor anymore, so there’s that. Third, leaving the United Methodist Church was painful. It would have been too easy to process my pain and grief by expressing anger and bitterness about the state of the United Methodist Church. I didn’t want that to happen, so I refrained from posting anything here.

So, you might be wondering (you might not) why are you posting now? Honestly? Because I got an email last week from WordPress that included an invoice for the webpage. I figured if I was going to pay for a website I might as well use it. That, and I need to reestablish writing as a discipline. I’ve developed other disciplines over the past couple of years, but writing is one that I actually enjoy, so I need to do more of it. I’m also not preaching as much so even writing sermon manuscripts has been lacking as a discipline. So, I’m paying for it. Might as well use it. I enjoy writing. Why not write more? Maybe when I do preach again, my sermons will be better because I wrote as a discipline. Anyway…

A New Beginning

Today is a new beginning in writing for me. I don’t know what this post (or this page, for that matter) is likely to become. I mean, really, Not the Perfect Pastor doesn’t really fit anymore. Though I’m still FAR from perfect, wearing the pastor title is no longer appropriate, but this is the webpage I’ve paid for, so I’ll use it anyway. Even though I’m no longer a pastor, I believe I still have a pastor’s heart. I see it everyday in the work I do with the general public and with my staff. And, though I’m no longer a pastor, I’m still called to ministry. The ministry I’m called to now is not vocational in nature. Actually, it’s quite freeing to not be dependent on the church for a living. It frees a person (or at least it’s freed me) to be less subtle in speaking to the body of Christ. The love for the body of Christ still runs as deep, but with God’s provision coming from outside the Church allows one to speak more prophetically, perhaps.

Speaking prophetically. I’m certain that is one of the great needs of the body of Christ in this day and age. I don’t fancy myself a prophet, but if I sense a word from the Lord to the Church, I’m bound to speak it. It might be the only gift I have to offer the Church at this point in life. Perhaps that is how the Lord is still “calling” me to ministry. My prayer is that if the Lord is calling me to a prophetic ministry, that He will give me grace to speak in helpful ways that grow the Kingdom. I know how some (all) of the Old Testament prophets were received. If it still works the same way, I’m not relishing the call.

Oh, I’m open to being a pastor if that’s where the Lord is still calling. I’ve been in conversations with a number of churches that have disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church about serving as their pastor. Vanessa and I haven’t yet sensed the need in answering that call, but we’re open and those kinds of conversations will continue, so I’ve learned to never say never where God is concerned.

I’ve also been blessed to serve my new tribe (the Evangelical Methodist Church) by preparing informational literature for the denomination to share with UM churches that have reached out to the denomination asking questions about their future. It’s a small thing, no doubt, but it has helped to affirm the Lord’s continuing call in my life. I pray it has been helpful to others, as well. I also have the privilege of serving the EMC as a member of the Mission Status Board for a small church in West Virginia. What is that, you ask? It is a board established by the denominational leadership to give guidance to a local congregation in determining its future. Yes, those kinds of things can be done via Zoom. We do live in a changing world.

So, ministry opportunities abound, but writing needs to be part and parcel of all of them. So, I start writing again. Forgive me when I vent. Be patient when I share what I believe to be a prophetic word from the Lord. Be kind in your rebukes and rebuttals. More than anything, be strong in the Lord. He is our Rock and our Salvation. Join me in this new journey, won’t you?

Until next time, keep looking up…

5 thoughts on “Where Have You Been So Long?

  1. You will always be a pastor. That is a gift from God not a word defined by this world. Man made denominations and separations among one another. God gave us the bible and those individuals He ordained to teach it. Therefore; teach, pastor, encourage, challenge, question, and guide those around you! You are now free to think and speak outside the “box”.

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