As I work through all of the thoughts going on in my head regarding how the church needs to change or how youth ministry or confirmation need to change, there are sometimes I honestly ask myself “Can I do what I’m proposing in my own writing/comments/tweets?”
I’ve changed congregations in the past year, I’ve written blog posts about my frustrations with confirmation ministry, I’ve tweeted quotes from books and I’ve taken Instagram shots of highlighted paragraphs in books, all which call for a change in how we do what we do.
I’ve stood on my soapbox for sometime now…and I have a feeling I’ve not acted on my own statements of change. Sure I’ve made some thoughtful changes in how I teach or what I teach, how confirmation is done at my congregation, so there has been some good from this.
But, I’ve started to wonder, whether or not I really want to change all those things I’ve posted about. Or whether or not I’m really all that progressive as I hope to be.
When I get down to the nitty gritty about doing some of the things I post about, I usually go down two roads of thought: 1) What would this look like in my setting, 2) How much work does this create for me to pull it off. I think these both refer to an underlying fear I have. I’m still trying to figure out where this fear comes from and if it’s related to failure, but regardless it is still there.
At some point, I have to act, if I truly believe in these gut feelings, it means I’m going to have to step out in faith and to listen for the leading. I’m often reminded of this great quote from one of my professors at seminary after my first intensive course, a point of such discouragement in how ministry was doing, that I seriously thought I was done with youth ministry. She said, “Focus on the changes you can make within the ministries you control.” This has seriously been one of those quotes I land on time and time again.
It helps me to focus on what I need to focus on and encourages me to find another way of doing things. Although I will say I’m still learning how to move through this process and what it looks like in my own context, which can sometimes be really discouraging and really exciting.
Throughout much of the thinking and planning and hoping, there are times I feel at peace, even in the midst of the unknown and uncertain. I’m not sure even a year ago I could have said this. The sense of peace is something I’m grateful for and one of which has helped me in the process, it continues to push me toward what is next and it challenges me to leave my comfort zone and explore. It is through this peace that I can act on what I’m reading and that gives me the encouragement to continue.