I looked at the blog while prepping for the Burbania Posts Advent Calendar and noticed that I have been completely silent for almost 11 months. There are reasons of course. I have been on quite an adventure since I wrote here last. I haven't moved or changed jobs, but there have been plenty of peaks and valleys. There have been moments that have appeared to be both. I have been busy with my family and my ministry.
As I look back it is self-evident that this silent year has been a big one for me. I traveled more than I have in the past. I have pushed my self more. I took on a few new challenges in my ministry. What I did not do was post about it here. If you are interested in any of that you will find plenty of information in "Wednesday Words" (my vlog) or on the sermon page. Those need updating as well but they aren't quite so bad. I do want to write here more, though, and so I am. Sometimes writing and reading conveys more complexity than would otherwise be possible.
My big learning during my BP silence is simple. The fact is, over the last year or so I have figured out how much effort goes into keeping a small church alive and thriving. Maybe it is because I am down to only one kid at home and have less to distract me, but this year I have felt the energy that it takes to do this job more keenly than I have in the past. This is true in the energy I draw from it in worship and study and elsewhere. However, I am also aware of how tired I can actually be at the end of the day. Of course, at the end of the day I am still thinking about the congregation.
That is what it takes, after all. Church people know the difficult environment we try to work in. I don't mean that the congregation, itself, is difficult! For over 16 years I have found my particular faith community to be a blessing. Instead I mean the environment that we as a congregation (or more generally as congregations) face together. I could make an attempt at enumerating the challenges but you know what I am talking about. If you don't then you can look it up...but be careful. Everyone knows the problem in its generalities but we do love to argue about the particulars...
Anyway, that is what I have for today. Basically it is an excuse. A healthy church requires a great deal of time and energy and I would rather work for the church than anything else. I will try to post more--Advent is coming right up!--but today please say prayer for our churches, our dedicated lay people and our staff. If you are not a church person you may need us more than you know. If you ARE a church person, you have my thanks and my prayers, just like every day.