Earlier last week our church secratary (at least i think that is her official job description), asked me where my sparkel has gone ... I joked and said that once confirmation is over she can have anything she wants, even sparkel. Yesterday she came to me, with her gentle eyes that looks deeper than most, and asked since confirmation is now over when she could expect my sparkle to come back...
So here is the story - the long and the short of it:
I knew from an early age that i felt called into full-time ministry (at first i was thinking about mission). I did the whole running away thing for some time and studied high school education instead. In my final year i was confronted with the prospect of youth ministry and after having prayed long and hard about it made the change. I started out as a youth pastor and not long afterwords experienced a very strong called into what i believed was ordained ministry. I spend five years in youth ministry however before candidating for the ordained ministry. My first two years as a student minister was in the beautiful cape in a little place called Macassar (close to Somerset West in South Africa). Although this was a cross-cultural station i felt right at home and enjoyed every minute of my work there... and then out of the blue i got a call from the bishop to let me know that it was the decision from the presiding bishop that i have to move to Bloemfontein (do not go to those who need you but to those who need you most). So, with many tears, i left the beatiful Cape to go back to the place where i started out as a youth pastor. When I arrived i heard that they did not want me - but that i will have to do. I worked extremely hard trying to built up the 5 societies in my care and at the end of that year, i had the joy of seeing the fruit of my labour in that the two biggest societies were stable enough to each have their own minister now. What a joy to see the growth in a community that has not had the luxury of having their own minister for so long...
Unfortunately this was the begining of the end. I have stepped on many toes, been to vocal and with the added burden of ill health and the resulting academical miss step, i have finaly been discontinued from the ministry that I have put so much into. I left the ministry not having had the audience of either the bishop or presiding bishop and still in pain after a recent opp. My son was due to start School and we had to make some quick decisions. By the grace of God and with some help of friends we survived the two months without a stipend and without a place to really call "home". In Feb, i started in Uitenhage as a youth pastor, signing a 3year contract - so what is the problem?
I enjoy the young people and that while i enjoy the local church i find myself being highly sceptical of the church at large. I find the structures enslaving and the red tape limiting. I am beginning to wonder if i will ever be able to stand up in front of a synod again and declare that i believe and teach the doctrines of our church - not to mention adhering to its discipline. I cannot stay in youth ministry forever and i am pressuered from all sides to recandidate and go back into the same structure that spat me out only months ago. I find myself slipping into the role of minister all too easily when the need arises. I miss ministering through sacraments, i miss the diversity of the ordained ministry - but i cannot see myself going back into it.
I have a passion for people who do not fit the mould, for those who are sitting in the shadows. I long for a day when the church can truely be church and be set free from religion. I want to share the Good News of a God who loves, a God of grace, a God who is so much bigger than our understanding, a God who is real and oh so verry relavant. I long to show the other side of God. I have a passion for healing and reconciliation, I have a passion for young poeple and for showing a verry real alternative. I have a passion for God... But i do not know how or in what capacity to live this passion, this call. I am still to vocal, i still step on toes and my verry being goes against so much of what has become the expected mould that i cannot see a future for me in traditional church (he-he, perhaps that is why i get along so well with the youth).
Pray for me for clarity and wisdom as i urgently seek some direction on what it means for me to Be Under God's Supervision