Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I love this city, a lot. I've never lived in a place I liked so much, that suited me so much.
For reference, this post from last year.
I don't think I"ll be able to stay here long-term, though.

I'm interested in a lot and I enjoy doing a lot, but one thing's central.

Ever since I looked at a career evaluator test in 1998 and thought"Well, I'd want to be a youth pastor but I'd have to be a guy, right? I don't really want to be anything else."

It took me until 2004 to figure out that I could legit. be a youth pastor - and settle my mind that I wasn't doing any interpretive gymnastics with the Bible to think that was ok.

So that's it. What do I want from life?

To do what I'm called to.
To do what I"m becoming better at.
To do what I'm trained for and experienced in.

I've done a lot of things in life and I"ve done a lot of things in ministry. Everything from the most manual labor to high-end PR-related stuff in work, and everything from kids' camps to seniors' residences on the other side. But I know my focus. Even though I've considered it, I don't even really want to do church planting at this point, though if an appropriate place and time came up I might. I'm not leaning that way though. I want to do what I've always worked towards.

I want to be a hired youth pastor in PAOC.

  • I want to teach clearly and engagingly in age-appropriate ways that offer a choice to teenagers.
  • I want to build practices of prayer and Scripture reading and action and stillness and worship and more that will feed and sustain them through their lives.
  • I want to listen.
  • I want to do away with cliched responses and easy answers on tough topics, and help others to do the same in their own lives and to others.
  • I want to train teams who understand teenagers and will be one-on-one mentors and group leaders, discipling and teaching and challenging and praying and listening to teenagers.
  • I want to collaborate with other leaders, or myself lead Jr. High and young adult programs that integrate with the kids' and adult ministries.
  • I want to bring teens along on experiences God will use to change their lives.
  • I want to be involved in the schools nearby.
  • I want to carve out safe places and times for teenagers to seek the Holy Spirit... without coercion or manipulation.. but with intentionality and leadership.
  • I want to have conversations with parents and put resources in their hands and connect them to each other. 
  • I want to help the church understand false perceptions about youth that are harmful, and realities that are helpful, and help form a paradigm that's useful.
  • I want to be part of a healthy church that I'm not embarrassed to bring people to - and that the teens I work with aren't either.
  • I want to be involved in a church that's concretely looking after people outside of it, taking risks, and encouraging initiative.
  • I want to have a healthy small group of adults around me and Jarod.
  • I want to finish off the time I've been working towards it and be ordained - and officiate some of the weddings for these young men and women as they grow up.
  • I want to help transition people into their out-of-town and local college and university and apprenticeships and work with intentionality and direction and spiritual awareness.
  • And I want to occasionally bring the sermon at the church Sunday mornings.

For all the "other" stuff

  • I want to work shifts in ultrasound as my almost-certainly-necessary second job. And be a solid part of the team there, doing my job well.
  • I want to have a few small kids and a large dog - and have a childcare arrangement with people we trust, that blesses them financially. (I've already got an amazingly supportive husband who's been consistently hard-working, intelligent, hilarious, strong, kind, and good to me. Our five-year anniversary's April 29... five years already! And still awesome.)
  • I want to live in a city where Jarod and I can both live reasonably close to everything and not do any insane commuting. And live in-town enough that our kids can use public transportation in when they're teenagers and we can walk a couple places. It would be awesome to live somewhere urban enough to only have one car - but to be realistic, we'll probably have to rock the suburbs because that's where most churches are. And rock them... we will!
  • And in the process, we'll finally own a house (big enough to share as others need) and pay off our debts. I look forward to the day the debts are paid off and we can give a bigger chunk to making projects happen and changing lives, too
  • And yes, I would really like a heavy, built-like-a-tank Rancilio Silvia espresso machine with a brass boiler and solid steel interior fittings... maybe in a decade or so.

It's been eight years of school for me so far in the making. Four years of a theology undergrad, one year completed of my master's at MacDiv. I'll finish it someday. Two years of a cardiac diploma and right now the final year in cardiac ultrasound. Jarod and I are volunteering at a great church right now, but we went there with the understanding that it's a temp arrangement - we're onto new things before too long. And I'm very excited to be volunteering at a smaller church in another city for 3 months this summer when I'm away on placement.

Three days of exams are left as far as academics go. And then a month off, and then 3 + 3 months of placement. And that's it for me. School's a little longer for Jarod, but we're both getting to the end, and he can work just about anywhere.

Either way.. it's just about time. It could happen as early as the second placement, or if it's farther it could take till 2012 or so... And if we move, it'll break my heart a bit... but it'll be so worth it.

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