These are the bookshelves in my office at University Lutheran Center today. In two days, I'll begin a new call at St. Petri Lutheran Church in Story City, Iowa. Seems a good time to get a fresh start here as well.
There are a lot of reasons why I haven't been posting regularly over the past two years. Most of them have to do with time: I simply haven't had much free. Some others I won't bring up here. I've learned a lot about ministry since about December of 2009, and much of it has been the kind of wisdom that comes from challenging circumstances. What I'm going to try to focus on in this new start is how to handle those challenging circumstances better as a minister of the gospel, leader of a congregation and child of God. That we are broken and make mistakes should surprise no one anymore. The problems rise, from what I've seen, when we compound those mistakes by additional misbehavior. Humility, kindness, patience, humor, a healthy dose of self-deprecation, teamwork, and joy: these are the traits I believe every faith community must have if it is to survive into whatever is coming next for the church. So these are also the traits I need to develop more fully in myself and in those to whom I minister.
I leave this current adventure with joy and sadness. There have been some wonderful, wonderful moments of ministry here. I think on the whole I've done good work. But we could have done more, and I've been trying to reflect on why we didn't and where I'm called to change to be better in the future. But regardless of our mistakes, I believe we've been as faithful as we knew how to be, and there's not much more anyone can ask. That's the mission going forward as well: to be faithful to the future God has in store for us. Please pray for me and for the members of our new church as we set out together!