Monday, July 8, 2013

Learning New Things

As I near the first month on region staff, I have been connecting with persons around New York State who are involved with American Baptist congregational ministry or related organizations.  The phone calls, the face-to-face interaction, and the emails are helping me get acquainted with the issues of "who's who" and "what's what".  Best of all, I am doing this work from a home office, which allows the graceful "interruptions" of a cat coming to visit or my refined elder beagle moseying in to see what's going on (with the hope that a treat may be close at hand).

Part of my work relates to congregational connections through Sunday morning worship.  Here's a sampling of "ministry contexts" where I have been or will be in the coming weeks:
* a historic downtown urban church with a history of social justice and engagement
* an urban congregation with a predominately Chinese speaking membership
* a rural church in a community where churches share ministry resources to cover needs
* a congregation pastored by a minister who is quite accomplished with social media
* a church where a pastor has served for well over twenty years among the community and congregants.

In each setting, I enter in as a guest, sometimes as the preacher, other times as one bringing brief greetings on behalf of the regional ministry.  Each time, I have been or I anticipate learning something new and wondrous along the way.  In a more traditional ministry setting, you stay within the rhythm and life of a particular congregation.  In regional work, you encounter persons and congregations in brief, yet you get a good look at what the Reign of God is up to in these places, rural and urban alike.

It's a different world than my last seven years of parish ministry.  I look forward to exploring it as part of my duties and calling as a minister in service with the American Baptist Churches of New York State.

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