Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It is time for my annual January "Oh my! Why did I agree to do all this stuff this month?" post. (See last year's "Whew!" post.)

It does indeed happen to me every year that I get through Christmas only to get crushed by the January calendar. I will eventually learn to answer the question "what if we just wait until January?" with "NO!!!"

The hard part is that all of this stuff is great stuff and I enjoy almost all of it. (Almost - really, there just are parts of the job that aren't fun.) Here is some of the cool stuff I get to do in January.

I recently got back from two days at Mt. Wesley. I am a Liaison Pastor for the final year of our Covenant Connection process. It is the final year for this group of ordination candidates and the final year for this version of the process. It has been replaced by something called Residency in Ministry. You can read all about Covenant Connection in an earlier post: Covenant Connection... from the Other Side. Long story short, I get to hang out with some of the folks who may be ordained this year as Elders and Deacons and they are gifted and talented pastors who have so much to add to our Annual Conference and the Church Universal. The Liaison pastors are part of the process of mentoring and evaluating them but we also get to learn a lot from them.

On the subject of ordination, this week I will also lead a small group interview team to evaluate some ordination candidates in the area of theological understanding. Every candidate has to submit written answers to some significant theological questions. We are talking about around 35 pages of answers to questions on doctrine and theology in The United Methodist Church. It includes theoretical and practical application on issues like atonement, christology and sacraments. If you happen to be a theology geek, this is fun, but still difficult stuff. My group has five interviews tomorrow. The interviews are fascinating and include a little pressure. The recommendation of this group is one of the components the Board of Ordained Ministry looks at in its final decision on ordination for each candidate

With that behind me, I get to head to Dallas for another meeting with the Leadership Network Leadership Development Community. It is always a blessing to get to work with Leadership Network and the amazing churches they pull together for these learning communities. This one has already been exceptionally fruitful as we consider how our Pathway to Discipleship is part of our overall plan to help raise up Christian disciples and leaders.

Oh, and there is more. This Sunday is the launch of Confirmation Classes. With Pastor Ryan Barnett heading out on sabbatical, I will be leading the class this year. Again, fun! But a little daunting. I have taught plenty of individual confirmation classes but this will be my first time through leading the charge. Fortunately Pastor Ryan has left behind his time tested curriculum and pattern. Nobody panic.

January also means the launch of a number of things in our Pathway to Discipleship. The Forum, our online Message Phase offering begins with orientation this evening and a new semester of New Testament Survey begins soon. My staff is working hard on another u|connect this Sunday as well as the launch of Alpha and our first West Campus Jesus 101.

But, as it always does, January will come to and end. But then in February, I will be again preaching every week. Again, what of my favorite things to do. But, I'll need to pace myself.

So, I will see you around the church. And, if I haven't returned your email, you may want to send it again. I am a little behind.


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