Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thus ends the drought...

It's been weeks, and darn near three months.  But today, I end my writing drought. 

First off, a couple updates on me personally.

The past three months have been busy.  I was hired back at Worthington Ag Parts at the beginning of September, right at the beginning of harvest season.  Therefore it was a two month sprinted marathon at the store.  The weeks were full of long days, short nights, and a lot of Ibuprofen.  The last month has been spent doing various inventory stuff.  Not quite as tiring, but it still wears on a guy.  Now there's white stuff on the ground which dictates many layers.  This is honestly the first time I've ever worn Long Johns in the winter time.  Hooray for new experiences!

Now, I understand a lot of you, if you're still out there, may be thinking, "I bet he's miserable, is he going to go back into ministry, what's this have to do with spirituality/ministry/youth/life/etc.?" Well, actually, it has everything to do with all of those things.  Over the past three months God has slowly been patching the wounds left by the fallout of my previous position.  Sure there are times when memories of those two months swell up and I feel overwhelmed with negative feelings.  But those times are fewer and further between.  I never knew how hard true forgiveness would be.  I always use to think that people should just buck up and get over it.  But I didn't really know what it was like to be scarred in the very place you hold dear.  I hold my faith and my relationship with Christ at the very core of my heart.  What I was told by a parent were things like, "We need a man of God, and you're not it," and, "You ruined our youth," and, "You are obviously not cut out for ministry," and, "You're using our kids to make yourself look better," and, "You obviously have no idea what you're doing," and, "You have made this youth program all about you," I was obviously wounded. (And this was all in one phone call which defined Proverbs 29:20 and 22 to a T.)  These are the worst scars I have to overcome.  But God turns all things for good, right?  So what do I have to worry about?

Now, on to the ministry question.  Currently, Corrine and I are still "shopping".  I know I've written many times on confronting conflict within a church instead of just leaving for another church.  But in this extreme case, it seems a must to find our church community elsewhere.  Wherever we land, I assure you we will look for ways to contribute to the community instead of just being seat warmers. 

One of the churches that we're looking into, Journey, seems pretty promising.  It's a far cry from the place where we were.  Journey holds their worship service in a local coffee shop, BenLee's (by the way, if you're ever in town, stop and get a Mocha...wonderful!).  Journey has a very informal, fellowship focused service.  It seems that their focus is not so much in the preaching and teaching from the pulpit, but rather through interaction and community outreach.  Corrine and I are going to meet with the pastor sometime in the next couple weeks to talk more on the mission of Journey.

There are a couple other places we're going to check out.  But since churches only have a weekly services, it takes time to actually check them out.  Hopefully by mid-January we'll know where we'll be going.

Now, since this is where Corrine and I are at, as far as finding a church goes, it's going to be some time before I can get back into ministry.  And even when I do, it will almost assuredly not be professional ministry.  And honestly, I dont' know if that's such a bad thing.  Here's why.  Before I got the job at First UMC here in Worthington, I was working at Ag Parts and volunteering with another local youth group.  The connections made with the youth and Corrine and I were amazing.  It was awe-inspiring watching God work.  We still have close relationships with a lot of the youth (now college students).  When I started at FUMC, there was a noticeable shift in how the new youth responded to me.  At first I thought it was just that they were new kids and new relationships had to be formed.  But as time progressed, I noticed that it was something more than that.  It was more like there was an expectation for me to build these relationships, and as such, they were more willing to keep their distance.  It was harder and harder to build authentic relationship since building relationships was my job.  Whether it was blatant or not, the youth didn't respond.  If I look back on my ministry as a volunteer, there was no expectation of a guy working at a tractor salvage to have any interest in the lives of youth.  They saw this, and therefore relational barriers fell earlier.  It seemed that at FUMC, the very fact that my job title was Youth Director sabotaged my ministry. 

So will I go back into full time ministry?  Maybe...someday...who knows?  Not right now though.  If I can be more effective and not be a "minister", then I think that's the route to take.  As far as working at the tractor salvage goes, I'm loving it.  I like the work, I like the camaraderie with the co-workers, I like being outside and not trapped indoors for 40 hours a week.  The pay could be better, but that's what raises are for.

As for me: I am Kyle, I am a youth minister, and I work at Worthington Ag Parts.