Finding Faith: Thank you to tireless clergy
"Some lament the 'demise' of the church, but I assure you, clergy are adapting to the new needs in ministry. We don’t have all of the answers yet, but neither are we idled by the uncertainty."
This week I had the great opportunity to spend two days among fellow pastors from around northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota.
Our centering text for the retreat was Luke 10:1-11, in which Jesus sends out 72 appointed disciples in pairs to “every town and place where he himself intended to go.”
Nowadays, most clergy don’t have the luxury of working in pairs, maybe like in Jesus’ time. So intentionally getting together is critically important. It’s a time of food, fellowship, learning, reflection and a lot of laughs. … Because sometimes the only way through the weighty stuff in life is laughter, right?
What a gift to be able to spend time with others committed to doing the work of sharing God’s love and mercy freely given to such a broken world!
While listening to my colleagues from small, rural churches to big, multi-pastor sites talk about their joys and burdens, successes and failures, weariness and excitement, I was struck by their continued passion for the work they do. I am deeply moved by their sense of call!
There is no doubt the church is changing. We pastors see it as much as anyone, but more importantly we know that God’s critical work is still needed, all around us. Whether that work is done in a country church, holding on for dear life, or in large, metropolitan churches that worship hundreds, or even on the very streets in between, the need for God’s work to be done doesn’t change.
So it is energizing to see these devoted faith leaders embrace the change. Sure, the decline in actual church attendance can cause some anxiety, but this just means that more of the work we do will be outside the walls of the church. And, as a result, there is some really innovative ministry taking place in the most wonderful of places.
Some lament the “demise” of the church, but I assure you, clergy are adapting to the new needs in ministry. We don’t have all of the answers yet, but neither are we idled by the uncertainty.
Rest assured, the Holy Spirit is still present and active on this very day in our lives and beloved churches, be they the proud clapboard church standing alone in a wheat field, or the newest brick and glass cathedrals in the city, or in any number of new creative spaces.
A nod to my clergy colleagues, wherever you are. … Thank you for being creative, for remaining hopeful and for answering the call to ministry! The work you do matters, and you do not serve alone. Jesus sent us out in pairs so that we could support each other. That’s just as important some 2,000 years later. … Amen.