Almost 2 years to the day since I last blogged. Back then, it looked like blogs were dying out, but they seem to be making a bit of a resurgence. We'll see how the twitter 280 characters changes that.
So, what have I been up to? Well, being a minister. A proper, grown-up (as far as I can be!) minister. For well over 18 months, but not quite 2 years.
I get to live in a beautiful part of the world and have learned a lot about agriculture. For a townie, a lot. I know I've found out more about that in the short time I've lived here than some who have been here for 20+ years. But then in my role, I meet a whole range of people, that others may never really talk to. (Just to be clear, it's not that they are unfriendly, it's just the different dynamic of being the minister).
Though I am minister to 2 churches, due to other commitments, I am responsible for another 1. I feel sorry for the third one, as there's so much going for that church, and it's in a village with a lot going on. But some who have been there in the (very) recent past have caused damage. Not so much within the church itself, but in the relationship between the church and the community. In these wee places, that's a BAD idea. Things will get better there soon, that I know for sure.
My first year was tough. Without going into the ins and outs of it, there were issues I had to deal with that others swept under the carpet to the point the carpet was bulging. That's disappointing, as I've had to deal with things no minister should have to, let alone a squeaky new one like me. There was a few times last year where I came VERY close to throwing in the towel.
But then I'd preach a sermon where the words were speaking to be as much as anyone else. One passage I recall having the phrase "did you count the cost?" That hit home. Had I counted the cost of discipleship, of truly following where God calls. I don't think any of us really do, as we'll never really know the full cost in advance (because we'd never go where we should, lead as we must, love as we have been.
I do sometimes wonder why I bother. There's so much potential here, but more and more insular thinking from some in the congregations. "We're getting old." "There's not enough of us." "We're too isolated for people to come to us." Many of those arguments are spot on, but I fear if we don't step out in faith and embrace the opportunities which are presented to us, my role as minister here will be very different to that I ever envisioned it to be.
Yet, I have to remember this is God's plan. God's calling. God who leads. God who sets the time and season for everything. I just wish God would give me a bit of a heads up that what I'm doing in these parishes and with the congregations I serve is the right thing. It's that whole neon sign thing again.
I am where I am. Trying new things. Better to try and fail than never try at all.
Remaining positive and looking for the beginnings of fresh growth. For even once autumn's past, the bare trees have buds, waiting for the spring to come.