Saturday, November 03, 2007

You Might Have Noticed...

That I have not updated our church website in a while. That has not been intentional it has just been a very difficult month for me. If you have not been reading our blog you might not know that my mother passed away. This has left me drained and empty. I have been experiencing an emptiness and a sense of abandonment like never before. It feels as though I have lost heart for a lot of things. Some would label it as "depression" but I do not think that is the case. I am reevaluating many things in my life. I am realizing that we are all trying to be validated. My mothers death helped me to think deeply about why I am doing ministry. I know I wanted my parents to be proud of what I do and who I am. I believe they are. But, the real question that has been rattling in my head is "what is my motivation for being in ministry?" I want to believe that for the most part it is for pure reasons- to glorify the Lord, to see people come to faith, to build an authentic community. The honest truth is that a part of it is that I like the sense of validation I sometimes receive (though not nearly as often as people think). I like telling people I do ministry for a living. I feel I am doing something worthwhile. However, when the trials of ministry come (controlling people, ungratefulness, apathy, financial difficulties, doubt, etc...) what keeps me going? I have been told that outside of a sense of calling many people will leave ministry due to these factors. It plagues marriages where it's easier to just quit and get a regular job rather than put your family through the heartache of seeing a church tear you apart emotionally, physically, mentally and financially.

I believe I had a genuine call to ministry. There is nothing else I have ever wanted to do with my life. I often imagined ministry being a particular way- people celebrating the love of God and making a difference in this world. During an evaluation I had at a previous ministry I made the statement that ministry was not how I imagined it would be as a student. I want to believe that I do not have to sell out who I am as a person in order to minister effectively. If I could unleash the full vision and passion that is inside me I know we would see God's glory. But, I am held back by excuses and legitimate restraints. Karin and I were talking the other day about Restoration and wondering if we have taken a misstep. I named all the reasons why this would not work but then looked at all of the ministry that has already occured in just a few months. Ironically, most of the ministry has taken place through the church website and our blog. In the past few weeks people have asked about us starting an internet church. I think that is kind of strange but I have thought about building an on-line community where honest discussions and Bible studies could occur. But, I also like having a community near us that we can worship with "live" people. So, we are continuing this journey. It might take some redirecting but I believe we will discover together what God is doing.

One thing that I have not done is to ask for financial support through our church website. It is not for me and Karin personally but for Restoration to continue doing ministry. If you enjoy what is happening here and would like to see it continue beyond December and are able to help us then please send a check to our address found on the homepage. You can make the checks out to Restoration Church. I am uncomfortable even doing this but believe that people are being ministered to through our website and our blog and they understand that there are legitimate costs to ministry (even making flyers or maintaining the website costs money). I have shared that I am not taking a salary right now and believe that money should be used for ministry and many churches will be judged harshly for their use (and misuse) of people's money.

Thank you all for your continued encouragement, support and prayers. It is not an easy thing to lose someone so close and at the same time be questioning everything you believed about your life. It is definitely a crisis of belief- which some say is necessary for further growth. I have been at the point where I believed God abandoned us- even quoting Psalm 22:1 on our blog before taking it off due to the deeply personal nature of that blog. I enjoy sharing our pain and joys but that was even too personal for me to share. I know all the footstep poem things but going through it you just don't believe it. I couldn't find encouragement anywhere or with anyone. Slowly God is showing that He has most definitely not left us and so I know that He still has a plan of some sort. It might not be what I thought but it will be something good. We are about to celebrate our seventh anniversary next week and right before we got married I told Karin "We don't know what the future holds but we know Who holds the future". It was true then and it is true now. I just thought we would know a little more of what the future held by now. I sure could not have foreseen being where we are now so who knows where we will be in another seven years.

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