Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Where am I going?

This post started out as something entirely different. Originally it was suppose to be a reflection on theological training. Instead it has turned into me musing about my future...

Seminaries change. In the past when you graduated students were mostly fed into a system to find a job. Denominations would assign pastors their positions (which is still done in many Lutheran and Catholic schools) or students would go through an interview process with the proper denomination leaders (like many "free church" schools, Baptist, Brethren, Mennonite)

Since I've been at Northern I've noticed a change. There are fewer and fewer students getting jobs after graduation through a formal interview process. A lot of my friends are already connected to a church before they graduate. Instead of looking for a job when they graduate they are laying to foundation while in Seminary.

I have my doubts about a formal/traditional interview system. The process seems quite outdated and impersonal. I graduate next May and feasibly I could get interviewed by any church anywhere in the United States (or the world for that manner). That is still a big possibility for me. God definitely uses that process and method for many men and women. I'm not saying it is wrong.

However, in thinking about my own call I am drawn to finding a place to minister based on relationships. My relationships here in the Chicagoland have been built from the last two years of living here (and the 4 years of summer dwelling while in college). For me to uproot myself next year and go to a new city is maybe what God is calling me to do. However, to gain the depth of relationships I have here, and the networks, and the knowledge of the community will take at least another 2 years.

When I was talking to my professor a couple of months ago he humbled me.

He asked, "Where do you want be next year?"

I answered, "I've always wanted to go to Seattle. I've always wanted to minister to really secular areas."

"Oh yeah? Who do you know there?"


"So what makes you think that you can go there and be fruitful all by yourself? You need to start to look for people if you are going there."

I'll have my degree but I'll still need people.

1 comment:

Andrew Engelhardt said...

Hey Mike, this is an interesting realization. There is a high degree of comfort going through an interview filter system directly out of school. It's almost as if the freedom to choose (or be led) opens up TOO many opportunities when deciding where to minister.

What is it about Seattle that appeals to you? I know you said that it is ministering in secular areas, but do have a concept of what that looks like?