Paul writes - I came across the following short essay last year. It resonated with a conversation I’d had with a minister friend in the city I work in. It highlights the challenges of both church (about how we are church) and those of leadership.
Rev. Lisa Domke talks about her decision to leave her role as an ordained Presbyterian minister. Hers in not an uncommon dilemma. Both for those who serve as ministers within congregations, and those who wrestle with whether to offer themselves for ordination, or to serve full-time within a church context.
A related statement I’ve always remembered was Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ response to ministerial aspirants, (I paraphrase) – “do all that you can to avoid full-time ministry. If you do one day find yourself in that role is will only be because God’s invitation and call was unmistakable and unshakable. ”
“…A brief introduction is probably in order. My name is Lisa Domke. I live in Seattle with my husband, David, and our four-year-old son. Three years ago I was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church, and took a position as an associate pastor in a fairly traditional church with about 200 attending on Sundays. About seventy percent of the members were over 65...many in their 80s or 90s. The focus of the energy in this church went mostly toward congregational care (sickness, surgery, hospitalizations, rest-homes) and maintaining programs valued by the older population. Change of any kind was exceedingly difficult, and I soon discovered that the majority of the congregation held very different ideas about the purpose of the Church. I eventually felt led to leave my position in order to explore what it would look like to live in Christian community in a way that nourishes faith and propels us toward serving others. As my friend Corey puts it, "What would it look like if the benediction/sending was the most important part of our worship gathering…”
Read the whole essay here.