Well, today I begin a new adventure; I return to school after more than 30 years. I have been accepted into the new Doctor of Ministry program at Candler School of Theology. I am humbled that the powers that be at Candler see in me something worth bringing into the first class.
At the same time, my mind is screaming, "ARE YOU A FOOL?!?" My heart is beating faster than the drummer at a rock concert, and all the while fear is enveloping me like a slow moving fog that comes at the early morning.
What in the world am I doing? It's not like I have all this free time (whether I was pastoring in the local church or serving as your DS). I was never that great of a student 30 years ago ... it was by God's grace I made it though Candler the first time. I will be the oldest in a class of young and eager theologians who know how to turn the latest computer program to their advantage while I barely know how to turn the thing on. And by the way, it is not free. Candler is awesome and supportive, but they don't give away a free degree, and I have a daughter looking at college next year.
As I reflect on this new adventure I am reminded of Moses and his burning bush account. It sure seemed crazy to him that a bush would be burning and not consumed. It was even weirder that the voice of God would be calling him to do something that was so far beyond his comfort and even his abilities that I wonder if on the next morning he thought he had dreamed it all.
That's kind of how I feel just now. I'm not sure if I'm just the bush burning up but not consumed or if I'm Moses being called by God to begin a new adventure that might be helpful to others as I study what it means to be a leader in the church in the 21st century. I thought okay ... I can do this, but the morning after I am having my doubts, serious doubts, and like Moses my excuses aren't going away.
But, I have to believe that God isn't going away either. If God has called me to this time and has opened the doors to allow and average student after 30 years to be accepted into a prestigious program such as this, then God will provide. Yes, I will have to do my part by carving out time to read, write and participate in the classes ... online each Monday and Wednesday at 3 pm. I will have to apply for scholarships like crazy and plow forward in faith that the God who calls will equip me as well (I'm not being trite here with a cliche but rather hopeful with an open heart).
Who knows what God's full plan for me is, but I am stepping forward into the unknown just like Brother Moses. May God clear the path as we go forward. I seek your prayers and understanding (especially if I'm a bit slow getting back to you on things ... but I will, I promise. I will not neglect my first priority to the pastors and churches of this great district.
We are all being called in crazy and strange ways in this new day. I pray we will lean on each other and trust that God is still calling the shots. Maybe if we all walked in such faith, our UMC would be able to stand strong doing the full ministry of the heart of Christ Jesus.
I'm just thinking,
What a blessing to worship at Clarkston, a truly multicultural congregation. I'm very proud of this community of faith that is working to break down barriers so that all can worship as one the living Christ.