Institut(ion): In Every Sense of the Word (3 of 5)

I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.

Institute is an institution with the good and the bad that it brings. There are rich traditions and a history that brings the past to light and looks to the future. Many of the adult leaders at camp this summer remember an experience of the very same camp when they were young. One of the pastors among the adult leaders remembers feeling first called to ministry in the very place where we had morning worship during the week. However, the rich history has the side effect of narrowing the vision of what could be possible for a camp among the high school students of the Kansas East Conference. There are some practices that are clearly leftovers from time gone by and while faithful have ceased to be relevant.

What about in your local church? How has the past shaped who the community is today? In what ways does the history shape both the present and the future?

2010 Summer Internship with Resurrection Online

I invite you or someone that you know to apply for a summer internship at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. I am looking for a 20 hour / week intern to work with Resurrection Online. Interested in this or the other 10 summer interships at Resurrection this summer? Find out more at http://www.cor.org/about-resurrection/employment/internships/. Here is a general overview:

As a Summer intern at Church of the Resurrection, you will…

  • Serve in a ministry department (as listed) and be given specific job responsibilities and ministry goals.
  • Have weekly meetings with your supervisor regarding the effectiveness of your work and to make sure the ministry is meeting your expectations.
  • Attend a group orientation session at the beginning of your internship.
  • Build community with fellow interns by participating in group learning opportunities 6-8 times over the summer with topics such as;
    • Leadership development
    • Spiritual growth
    • Church structure and governance
    • Worship planning
    • Finance and Accounting
    • Strategic planning.
  • Receive exposure to the church staff as a whole thru our weekly staff chapel gathering.  Interns with pastoral interest will be encouraged to help with the planning and leadership of “Chapel” as part of a cross-departmental team responsible for developing content.
  • Provide a short reflection paper at the conclusion of the summer that summarizes your experiences and articulates the status of your ministry call.

My Call to Ministry

My call to ministry has been a chain of experiences that have brought me to my current understanding of God’s call in my life. In the summer of 2002, I realized that God was not calling me to a career in biology, my field of study at the time. I considered many possibilities for life after graduation during the fall semester of my final year at Pittsburg State University. One of those possibilities was pursuing graduate theological education.

At a campus ministry reterat, as I was reading the account of Jesus calling his disciples in the Gospel according to John, I heard God speaking to me. The disciples’ question, “Where are you staying?” seemed to correspond to my question, “What is this whole seminary thing about?” Jesus responds clearly to them: “Come and see.” To me this response was Jesus saying to me, “Come and find out what seminary is about and how you can serve God in the world. Follow me and I will show you what you need to know.” As a result of this and other experiences, I enrolled at Wesley Theological Seminary after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2003 from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS.

When I enrolled in seminary I was not sure of which direction theological education would take me. Over the next few years my calling was refined from a call to seminary, to a confirmation of my place in seminary, to a call to ordained ministry serving in the local church. I graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree in May 2006.

It has been a mix of struggle, joy and surprises. I was helped primarily by my family and friends. I am currently serving as a pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

One of the positive influences in my call to ministry was an exploration event. I invite you to consider www.gbhem.org/exploration as a possibility if you are exploring a call to ministry and are between a high school senior and age 24.

Had the disciples heard of Jesus before?

I have had the opportunity to lead the Builders Sunday Morning Small Group for three weeks studying the gospel according to Mark. This question was shared during our time together.

When Jesus called the first disciples, had they heard of him before? Did they have any knowledge of this man who was asking them to leave their livelihood, family and friends and follow him?

This is a great question and one which I have not previously considered. I do not read a clear response one way or the other in the text of Mark. (Perhaps why this was a question in the first place)

I had never imagined the disciples having any previous knowledge about Jesus before he called them. It would make a little more sense why they would leave their nets and follow him if they had heard of him before. However, as a class member proposed, it may be that Jesus presence, tone, power and the work of the Holy Spirit was what compelled the disciples to follow – not just the words.

I think that whether the disciples had hard of Jesus before depends on how you decide to interpret this passage:

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15, TNIV)

How far had Jesus teaching spread? How long had he been proclaiming the good news of God before encountering those who would become his disciples? Was Jesus well known before he began healing?

What do you think? How would you respond to this question?