Monday, January 7, 2008

Everything but the House Church Kitchen Sink?

It's past time for a little personal update.

Since the beginning of November I've been working as a part time interim associate pastor at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Maplewood, MN. I rather fell into this position since I wasn't really looking for a conventional church job. The pastor there is Rick White, a good friend of mine. He found himself short-handed after his FT associate pastor retired, and when it became clear that it was going to take some time to find the right person to hire he asked me if I could help out for a while as that process unfolded. For various reasons it was best to set that up as a formal interim position, expected to run for a year.

There have been a lot of great things for me in this situation. I'm glad to help Rick out and it's fun and easy to work together since we've known each other for a good many years. I've been very warmly received by the folks at Gethsemane and it's always a plus to be affirmed when I offer my gifts. I've been doing a fair amount of preaching - especially this month as Rick is out for three weeks recovering from shoulder surgery - and I do enjoy that. The interim position also helps me maintain my clerical standing as an ELCA pastor: once the interim is over I'll have another three years to figure out how to stay on the roster while working on HCs.

And I should say, getting a paycheck is a pretty big plus, too!

At the same time, it's presenting some challenges. My main desire is still to find a way to serve in the house church movement, and my work at Gethsemane takes up nearly all of my "free" time for that. Since Kisten is full time at Trinity, I'm taking the lead in parenting and homemaking these days, so "free time" is a pretty limited commodity. That's at least one reason why this will be just my fifth fresh blog thread since November. (If I'm not more diligent, people might get the wrong idea and think I've run out of things to say!)

On the other hand, I would not be at all surprised if the Lord found a way to leverage this part of my journey into my house church work so that it wouldn't end up as a delay or detour at all. I've known from the start that I want to nurture HCs that have meaningful links and partnership with larger church expressions - congregations and denominations, most notably. So I'll need to have a relationship myself with a congregation that wants to be a part of the venture. Perhaps that will open up for me with Gethsemane. Rick is one of my strongest personal supporters of what I'm hoping to do, and I've made no bones about it to people in the congregation that I'm not looking for a permanent, regular church job because of my interest in HCs. So it's a conversation that will be occurring naturally.

So, as a parent, spouse, PT pastor, PT caterer, and would be blogger and HC explorer I do feel like I'm back in my plate-spinning mode sometimes. But as I recently said on my Facebook page: "Tim is living a good life!"

I thank God for that!

(P.S. - The plate-spinner in the image above is a real guy named John Park who apparently does this for a living - keynotes, tradeshows etc. Need someone for an event????)


AnneMarie said...

Interesting post!

Do you feel as if God is calling you away from the house church movement? Or do you feel as if you are in a season and will soon move in that direction?

I was just wondering where you stood with that.

Feral Pastor said...

I think this is a season. I still feel called to go in the house church direction and help in some way with what God is doing there. Sometimes I do wonder though if I'll need to keep a hand in some pastoral work as a kind of "tentmaking" while pursing the HC work. That may depend on how my wife's employment continues to unfold. If she's able to stay full time in ministry then I'll have a lot more financial freedom to follow the HC call.