The First Days of a New Ministry
My primary focus is getting to know the people of this church – the first thing I learn is their names (hopefully); then what positions they hold or not, who their family members are (if they have family connections), a bit about their history in the church if I’m lucky – plus all the etceteras. But most importantly I try to focus on what are their hopes, dreams, challenges, hungers, needs, and opinions. It will be a while before this kaleidoscope comes into focus and the beautiful patterns emerge.
The challenge of trying to fit my books and office files and ‘stuff’ into a new configuration is always interesting. The process of settling into the Minister’s Study (with its own bathroom and shower, woo hoo!!!) has been slowed by a lack of Pendaflex ‘bones’ for the file cabinet drawers. The procurement of office supplies seems to proceed at a glacial pace. Plus storage spaces are filled with stuff left by previous ministers. Much of this is in the way of items from the Partner Church in Transylvania – it makes sense that the ample storage in ‘my’ study would be the repository for this. But there’s so much of it!! There are lots and lots of historical files too, and they will be fun to go through. But with the steady stream of members and staff that come through, this will probably go slowly.
Another thing that has slowed me down this week has been the heat wave, of course. The church offices are air conditioned, but not my upstairs apartment. My whole body slowed down considerably this week, but the excitement and drama of beginning this ministry, a ministry I’ve dreamed of for a long time, has kept me upbeat and engaged with life in such a wonderful way.
When I get a few months down the line from this settling in/newbie process, I always look back totally amazed and relieved that I actually got through these months, coupled with a feeling that I really wouldn’t want to repeat that time either.
Such is the blessing and drawback of new ministry. It is beautiful in its unfolding, it is heady, it is exciting. It is also full of surprises (which I’ve never been a particular fan of) and ‘dangers, toils and snares’. Yes! That’s it – this is a time of Amazing Grace.
May those of you experiencing such new beginnings find this to be that time of Amazing Grace too.