Prompt #1 - Refresh 12
This post is the first of twelve posts as part of the Refresh 12 blog prompts. JOIN US.
I am not a cradle methodist. I have been reminded of this over the last 15 months as I’ve discovered parts of the hymnal that I never knew existed, not to mention I am expected to lead the hymns at our 8:30 chapel service. I discovered the United Methodist Church in 2005 when I started attending Central Avenue in Athens with a bunch of Campus Crusade friends. I didn’t start attending because of theology, but the longer I went the more I though how strange the character of Christian life seemed at Central. Strong belief, warm friendship, engaging music, great beards and sane preaching. It didn’t take but a year before the local church had my heart. I finished my degree in Industrial Technology and my business minor and packed my bags, married a beautiful woman and moved to Wilmore, Kentucky to start my M.Div. at Asbury Theological Seminary.
Very short history of how you ended up in pastoral ministry.
I heard the call to pastoral ministry in a local church setting loud and clear during my time at Reynoldsburg as a Next-Gen intern during the summer of 2008 and as a student pastor at Union UMC in 2009 under the supervision of Paul Risler. Without conference and local church leadership giving me a taste of pastoral ministry, I don’t see how I could have ended up as a provisional elder in the West Ohio Conference.
I am currently appointed to Westwood United Methodist in Cincinnati, Ohio. I serve as the Associate Pastor with responsibilities and leadership in the areas of discipleship, connections and education. I preach, teach and learn something new everyday.
What good do you see coming from a young clergy network like Refresh? Why do you think being in connection is worthwhile? Or is it?
What has always impressed me is the infamous “connection” as we call it in the UMC. It is often touted as one of our defining and greatest assets as a collection of churches. It empowers laity to accomplish more with a single vision (like Imagine no Malaria) and it provides support, encouragement and accountability to pastors.
I see Refresh as a logical and necessary contextualization of the “connection” for 2014. Refresh is not reinventing anything, it’s not a new idea, it’s not going to save anyone, but it is the connection for a new day. We are just giving structure for the sake of inviting others and allowing people to see the great work that is happening across the conference.
Walls are crumbling everywhere, even in particular areas of discipleship. If people are going to share their junk on facebook, we should be sharing the best of our thought as well. How can a generation who’s primary language is the internet understand mature Christian conversation without it permeating the places where they spend so much time. I am excited to see what the Holy Spirit does when a bunch of young clergy share their walk with each other and the world.