Active Listening

This may be one of the hardest blog posts I’ve written. Not because the subject is difficult, but because speaking this into being is scary and intimidating and makes it real. But growth means doing things that fall outside of our comfort zone. Here it is:


I have been doing a lot of soul searching the last few months. Our church is in a place of transition which puts my mindset in a place of self-growth as it’s juxtaposed with the growth of our church. That being said one of the questions I often get from friends, family and congregation members is whether or not seminary is in my future. And to be quite honest, that has been an up and down answer for me over the years.

When I was in undergrad I started the process of ordination through the United Methodist church and it became an experience that left a bad taste in my mouth. In scheduling a meeting with my DS, I was quickly passed off to his assistant. Strike one. Then in my meeting I felt belittled and talked down to for no reason. Strike two. I made it clear that I wasn’t prepared to move forward. Several years later I received notification that another meeting was scheduled unbeknownst to me, even though I had already decided to not move forward. Strike three.

It was at that point that I felt like maybe ordination wasn’t meant to be. And I couldn’t convince myself that seminary was worth it if ordination was no longer on the table. And so mentally and emotionally I moved on. I pushed it aside and brushed off inquiries about seminary.

Flash forward to a year or two ago as the congregation I work for entered its own transition. And as teams and groups were working through the vision and ministry and details of the congregation’s future, my own future smacked me in my face. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I wanted, “where I saw myself in 5 years,” and how I could best serve young people and their spiritual growth.

And so thoughts of my dream of running my own girls camp surfaced. It’s still there but not as the “5years” goal. And then I thought about the things that make me come alive: youth and young adults, faith formation, vocational discernment, service trips, college campuses, community building. And when I prayed and delved deeper I realized that these could all be tied together. My heart is calling me to campus ministry–at some point. Please don’t think this is an immediate jump.

It’s hard to say, it’s hard to admit. I am happy where I am right now, but I do need to work toward future goals and that first step is figuring out seminary and ordination. That’s a big enough truth and step for me right now. And so I keep searching to figure out where I fit and where I want to study. I’ve mostly been looking at online or distance learning programs. There are more and more of these that still hold good accreditation standards. I don’t want to sacrifice quality for convenience. We will see where this goes, but I am excited for the opportunities that are no doubt in front of me down the line. Here’s to self-growth. Here’s to staying true to our deepest passion and heart’s content. Here’s to listening to God. Here’s to answering the call.

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