When I was small we had a very long dirt (sandy) driveway in our suburban yard. This was unusual on our street as most of the houses were closer to the street than our house was and their driveways were covered with Blacktop. The drawbacks to having a long dirt driveway to an adult homeowner I later would discover were many; sand constantly being tracked into the house, snow removal complications to say the least, adult drawbacks aside however, having a dirt driveway as a kid is the best! For me it meant I could dig to China on a daily basis within the watchful eye of my Grandmother from her spot inside the kitchen. I was happy and she was happy. For my sons it meant building ramps to fly their bikes off of and soft sand to land in.
Those memories of sitting in the mud come back to me now whenever I have big decisions to make. I have spent a lot of sleepless nights sitting in the mud with God lately and it has not been a bad thing. For more than fifteen years I have thought I wanted to be the senior pastor of a local church. I didn’t even have an exact preference as to the type of church this would be; urban, rural, suburban, small or large. During this same time I have been called to be in ministry with adults in their second half of life, or newly retired adults, or older adults in need of pastoral care.
I find people in this age group to be a joy to work with. Weather it is visiting a nursing home resident and listening to stories or telling stories for an afternoon, or working side by side with a passionate baby boomer on an issue of social justice that ignites a fire within their soul, I find I am continuously more enriched by my experiences with my elders than I think I will be.
So over last month or so I have made the decision to not become a United Methodist Elder (Senior Pastor) but I will instead work toward being commissioned as a United Methodist Deaconess, this is not an ordained position but a title for a lay person who is a servant leader who can work in many areas of ministry. I will Graduate from Drew University with a Masters of Arts in Ministry Degree and I will then pursue a rather new area of academics which pairs a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Gerontology. This will provide me with the academic background to compliment my many years of experience working with older adults and will allow me to work with a variety of different groups enhancing their older adult ministry programs.
So if you have been on this journey with me for a while I thank you for sticking with me, if you have just begun to follow me, welcome to the ride!by