Hey All! It’s been a while since I last wrote. The last update was about a year and a half ago! This is definitely not how I thought this would go when I started writing this blog at the beginning of seminary (four years ago!!), but it is what it is and I hope to do better now. A lot has happened within the past year and half both in my church life and my personal life that has gotten in the way of this work, but I’m hoping to carve out time for this in the upcoming months.
I was approved to be on the ordination track within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and have already completed two of my four interview for ordination. I’m currently preparing for my third interview that will cover church history. I definitely need some review on the DOC history before that interview in January. I ask that you keep both myself and others on the ordination track in all denominations in your prayers. It is a difficult, but life giving process. Assuming I do well in this next interview, I will go ahead to my final interview which is basically me sitting in a room with thirty other people who can ask me questions about anything church related from anything I’ve written or said in previous interviews. If I do well in that interview, I will be ordained! But that final interview won’t take place until next September, assuming everything goes smoothly.
I am in my fifth and final year of seminary at Phillips Theological Seminary and should graduate with my MDiv in May 2023, assuming I pass everything I have left, which I’m not really worried about. This semester, I have my Theological Field Education where I am focusing on ministry within my community at First Christian Church-Katy, Capstones which is a course that requires me to take from all of my studies at Phillips and put it together in a final project, Theology and Practice of Public Worship which helps us really look at the choices we are making in worship design and the theological statements those choices make. It is quite a bit of work so far, but I am grateful to be able to do this work with some amazing colleagues at the seminary. Next semester, I only have two courses; the second portion of Theological Field Education and a two week class in Israel/Palestine going to some of the most noted places in the Bible an walking in the same places where Jesus walked. I just received the email that my flight has been booked by the seminary yesterday and I am so excited for this course!
My Capstones course is one that requires me to travel to Tulsa, OK two times this semester. I have already completed the first trip, and the discussions with the other students and the professor have really shaped what my understanding of being a minister and pastor is. So far, this course has made me realize that I have a larger responsibility to myself, my congregation, and to God. This is something that might seem obvious, and perhaps it was to everyone else, but for me it was a moment of spiritual growth and awakening that made me realize that I need to get it together. I am not just the associate pastor of a small congregation on Sunday mornings. I am called to be a representative of Christ on earth. That is a call I answered five years ago after avoiding it for some time, but it is a call that is bigger than I thought it would be. More on that later in another post.
Things at my congregation in Katy, TX are going along. We are celebrating our tenth pumpkin patch: a monthlong event that funds our church outreach ministry. I have moved from my previous role as music minister into the role of associate pastor, a role that has had its ups and downs and has been full of learning. I feel fortunate to be able to be in a ministry setting where I am learning what it is to be a pastor while I am learning in seminary. I am also learning the difficulties of being an open and affirming church in a world that cannot understand that LGBT+ people are loved by God. I have had to make some difficult choices and find where I need to stand up and use my voice. I have also had to (multiple times) take a step back and really examine why I believe some of the things I believe. This has led to some tough growing that, looking back, I am glad to have had.
That pretty much sums up the past year and a half since my last post. I’m setting myself a goal of writing more for the blog: something I’m sure will get easier when I am out of seminary as well. I’m hoping to write at least once a month and maybe tie in a video post of some sort on YouTube, but I’m not sure what that would even look like at this point. But it is a thought that I’ve had for a bit. I’ll be finishing my Journey Through Mark series that I started, so keep an eye out for that. My other goals for the upcoming months include working more on my spiritual life. Spiritual practices are something that can be hard to keep up during seminary. Oftentimes we get so ladened down with coursework in addition to our church jobs and other jobs, that we stop caring for our spiritual well being. I’ve been taking steps recently to work on this and they have been very beneficial. I hope to plan a spiritual retreat of some sort within the next year. I’ll make sure to plan it so that you all can join along wherever you are.
Well, that’s it for now. I’ll keep you in my prayers in the coming weeks. Please reach out with any prayer concerns or things that you would like me to lift up as well. I hope that God blesses each one of you in the work that you do each and every day.