Monday, July 16, 2012

The Bachelor

I’m a bachelor this week.  Last week Wednesday, Jessica brought the kids to Canada to her parents and then came back to attend the GEMS Conference in Chicago with a group of ladies from our church.  She came back from that last night and today is driving to St. Catharines to spend the rest of the week at her parents house with the kids.  Thus, I’m on my own…

In my season of life – mid-30’s with three young children – one looks forward to peace and quiet.  It’s a welcome reprieve to not have to worry about baths and bedtime and breaking up fights and whose turn it is to have the iPad.   So it’s nice to not have to worry about all of that.  But it will also be nice to have them all back.  It’s strange how one soon misses what one often complains about. 

All that said, I got a good list of things to do that will keep my busy.  This past weekend I finally saw the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy on DVD – something I’ve been meaning to do for a while but at nearly 3 hours each, it was tough to fit into the schedule.  I’ve also been doing some more bike riding and catching up on some reading.

In addition, this weekend I get to participate in Single Parent Family Camp (SPFC).  SPFC is a joint outreach ministry between Seymour CRC and Oakdale CRC.  We invite single parents (usually moms) and their kids to come to a local camp – Camp Tall Turf – and have a weekend of fun.  The parents travel up with their kids and we provide family games and camp-type activities.  We also, give the parents a nice dinner without their children.  SPFC starts on Friday evening and ends Sunday morning after worship and for some of these parents it’s the only ‘vacation’ they get all year.  It’s a pretty neat ministry and hopefully I’ll have some stories to share on this blog.

My internship continues to keep me busy as I’ve preached now 11 times over the past 6 Sundays.  So its been good for me to get into that rhythm of studying for and writing sermons and leading worship and doing pastoral care.  In fact, as I write this entry I’m listening to myself on CD from last Sunday morning…a painful but helpful and enlightening exercise!

So that’s the latest from here …nothing profound, but God is good and he is blessing us greatly this summer.  May he bless you as well.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Growing & Learning

Several of my classmates doing their congregational internships this summer are being asked to do them at churches that are vacant – that is, churches that do not currently have a regular pastor.  This can be a a great experience for both the student and the church.  The student gets a good sense of pastoring a church on a day-to-day basis is really like – preaching, administration, pastoral care, funerals, meetings, the whole enchilada.  It’s also great for the churches they get a ten-week respite from having to find pulpit supply (especially during those always challenging summer months), the elderly get a visit or two, the sick are prayed over.  It is, indeed, a good set-up.

However, I can’t help but think there might must be something missing in the scenario.  What happens when that student has a question about a certain aspect of ministry?  How can one really learn about being a pastor to people who are strangers to you when you arrive in June and you both know that in ten weeks you’ll be gone again.  It takes longer than that to learn names not to mention develop a relationship in which true pastoral care can take place. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is a bad way to learn, nor is it a bad way to serve the needs of the church – after all, it is the denomination’s seminary – and it is there to serve the church.  But I just want to go on record as saying that I’m very pleased to be doing my internship at Seymour – a church that is neither vacant nor unfamiliar.

First, during these past several weeks, I have – on several occasions—gone into the office of one of the pastors here and asked (what I think) is a good question.  Perhaps it’s about a sermon I’m working on, perhaps it’s about a particular aspect of ministry, perhaps it’s about whether or not pastors take the 4th of July off =).  Regardless, I’m very thankful that I have the opportunity to knock on a door and ask some questions and get some great advice.  That is a chance that many of my fellow interns won’t get this summer.

Second, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve among people that I already know and who already know me.  It’s tough enough to preach the Word as a beginning preacher to people who know me(and for the most part, I think) like me.  I think I would find it even harder to preach to pews (or chairs) full of strangers who know you’re there for just a few more weeks.  Plus, since we are members here our relationships will continue, Lord willing, long after the time of my official internship comes to an end.

It seems to me that those classmates of mine serving this summer in vacant churches have a lot tougher task before them than I do, not because they’ve got more work to do but that their situation makes their work more challenging.  I’m growing in my internship in that I’m finding out what life as a pastor is like and I’m learning in my internship because I can ask questions of people who’ve ‘been there and done that.’

It’s been a great 4 weeks so far…and I’m looking forward to growing and learning even more during the remaining six weeks and beyond.

On another note…it’s hot here.  I hope you’re all staying cool!