Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Remembering Who I Am

It's been one year since I transitioned into high school ministry.

A lot has happened in that year. Our family purchased a larger car and added a new child. I've made a number of ministry changes, from adding a second summer missions trip to rethinking how we do high school summer camp to adding mingle time to our midweek program to having a film festival. There have been countless small group gatherings, staff meetings, worship songs, one-on-one discipleship moments, and countless Starbucks americanos purchased and consumed. The time has flown by.

In the midst of all the activity, there's been an internal journey of the soul. I've had to wrestle with who God has designed me to be, what He's called me to do in His kingdom. I never pictured myself in high school ministry--at least not after I fell in love with junior high ministry--but I'm learning to trust in the Lord in these seasons of change. Here's what I'm processing about myself:

I'm a pastor. Not just in the formal "clergy" sense, but in the spiritual/vocational sense of the word. While youth ministry often requires wearing many different hats--event coordinator, musician, graphic designer, sound technician, janitor, etc.--the moments where I feel most alive in this vocation are when I'm  in a one-on-one conversation with someone and guiding them in seeking the kingdom of God. I'm making sure that my weekly routine contains these moments often, and not allowing myself to become a program director instead of a pastor.

I'm a writer. Jeff Goins says that you are a writer when you say you are. So, consider this my declaration. I've loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember, and writing a book is certainly on my bucket list. This past year, I've had more opportunities to write than ever before, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to encourage others through this medium. You can some of what I've written here.

I'm a father. The birth of Eloise this past January only increased my capacity for love and gave another significant reminder to ensure my family comes before my ministry. I love being a daddy. Even now, as I write this post, she is sitting on my lap, cooing and giggling and smiling. My son, Copeland, is growing up faster than I ever imagined. I know these moments are fleeting, so I strive to be fully present with them, to reflect the love of our Heavenly Father.

I was watching Midnight in Paris with my wife the other day, and was thrust into a world of nostalgia. Remembering the past, honoring it, reflecting on what has come and gone, staring at the fading footsteps in roads traveled. God often calls us to remember throughout the narrative of Scripture. Covenants and altars and sacraments all call us back to remember who God is and what He has done. More than anything, I must remember the cross--that Jesus's atoning work has brought me life and meaning and purpose in His kingdom.

Remembering God's faithfulness in the past leads me to confidently step into the future, even when I'm unsure of where I'm going.

What do you need to remember today?

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