I had a great time with some amazing youth last week. 48 students and 12 adults traveled from Resurrection to Lake Charles, Louisiana on Wednesday, July 8 and arrived back in town on Tuesday, July 14. I had the privilege of building relationships with both students and adult leaders. Out of the many things that I experienced, here are a couple great things:
People that care have an amazing ability to self organize and get things done. I witnessed this at both the work site where I served and among the entire group. These students care about serving God and being in relationship with others.
There is a nearly unlimited potential for each of these students. As life goes on, each of us has the chance to say yes to some things which means saying no to other things. For each of these students the future is wide open. There are very few things which might not be possible for any of them. There are students with whom I had the privilege to be on the trip who have clear gifts for ministry. I am excited about the future for them.
I was anxious before the trip as it was the first mission trip on which I had served as a leader. It was also the most significant leadership that I have had with students at Resurrection. The trip was amazing for me and a highlight of the year. Thanks to each of you – students and adults – who contributed to the experience. It is an honor to serve Christ with you.
One of the great joys of ministry is to have the opportunity to work with a great team of Congregational Care Ministers. These women and men are trained and equipped to provide care for the congregation in partnership with the efforts that I lead as a pastor of congregational care.
This evening I am grilling hamburgers and hot dogs and we are going to take the opportunity to celebrate their care and ministry at Resurrection. Those whose last names begin with N-R in the congregation receive better care because of the dedication of these volunteers.
Here is a comment are excerpts from a comment that I received on a post this month:
Andrew, I have something that I need to comment about and to ask your opinion on. I have two children that I love very much. My son is educated, kind and very well established in his profession. He is also gay, although not “looking” for a partner. He is very religious and in fact led us to COR. He has since been transferred [out of state] and I miss him so much. [He] has been influential in my spiritual growth by his deep faith in Jesus even though he is not accepted by most Christians. I must admit that I was one of the “holier than thou” people and I rejected him for several years. I so regret my actions. …
At first I thought God had surely turned His back on me since my two children were not the”norm”. I now feel chosen to have them in my family. I am blessed each day by having known them and feel called by God to have them in my family. I have grown to love so much more deeply by having known and loved them. Please pray for the World to love and accept them.
I do not have any better response on how to relate to your son than the one that you expressed already. I do not believe that one’s sexual orientation has a correlation to one’s discipleship nor necessarily to family relationships.
I believe that a person of any sexual orientation can be on the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian.
I believe that a person of any sexual orientation can have positive relationships with family and friends.
How should one relate to a gay child? As you would relate to any of one’s children. Love, care and respect.
I am proud of my mom, Joyce Conard. She cares for people in a profound way and I have felt her care for many years. I respect her knowledge as a nurse and her flexibility to work in many different settings throughout her working life – learning something new at each place. I am impressed by the way that she engages and learns technology, even though she does not feel that it is her strong suit.
She has provided leadership roles in each of the churches of which she has been a part and has a steady faith that has shaped my faith throughout my life. She is an excellent mom and has loved, cared and supported me throughout my life and continues to do so.
This week I shared a list of possible questions for hospital visits and other conversations with the team of Congregational Care Ministers with whom I work. Congregational Care Ministers are trained volunteers who assist a pastor in caring for the congregation. I want to share them with you and get your feedback on what you like, don’t like and other questions that you have found to be helpful in pastoral conversation.
What was it like to hear what the doctor told you?
What are your hopes?
What are your fears?
Where is God in all this?
What in your faith would be helpful for you right now?
What would God say to you if God was right here at the end of the hospital bed (or sitting right here with us)?
We have talked about a lot (or I just prayed about a lot of things right now), what was most meaningful for you?
As a congregational care minister, is there anything that would be helpful for you right now?
How do these questions make you feel? What other suggestions do you have?
It is a blessing to have a meal prepared and served to you by someone that you do not know.
In preparation for each of the funeral service of my step-grandmother, Alice Conard, and my grandmother, Nora Fieser, our family shared in a meal prepared by the members of First United Methodist Church in Great Bend and Plains United Methodist Church, respectively.
At a time of grief, good home cooked food was truly comforting and I felt that it was one of the more tangible signs of care that I received.
Thank God for good cooks and caring souls willing to share the blessing of meals.
Today is another day out of the office. I will be joining the rest of the Congregational Care team on a retreat at the Ursuline Sister’s Convent in Paola, KS. Among other things we will be sharing our goals and projects as individuals over the next year to help guide our visioning as a team. Here are some of the things that I will be sharing:
Continuing Education Retreat for Ordination Papers
Equip others for blogging
Collaboration with small groups and care
Feedback on pastoral counseling
Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Luke’s Hospital – Plaza
Mentor Ministry as a Career students
Vibe Worship Service
Discerning involvement in the Open Source Liturgy Project with the General Board of Discipleship
I am really look forward to times away with team members. I am particularly looking forward to this time as it will include new team members – Jeff Clinger, Russell Brown, and Laurie Barnes.
What are you looking forward to in the next six months? How do you plan or retreat as a team?