Monday, March 26, 2007

Erik the Youth Pastor

Yesterday the search committee met at the Evangelical Covenant Church in North Mankato an unanimously voted to recommend me as their church's next High School Pastor. Step one is thus complete towards me becoming their youth pastor. What remains is for their church board to approve me for a candidate weekend. The board next meets on April 10, and it will be during this meeting that they will vote. I was told this is essentially a formality, so I guess step two is basically taken care of as well. That means, all that is really left is for me to pass a congregational vote, which will happen after my candidate weekend. During this weekend, which will be Mother's Day weekend, I'll have to give my testimony at their three services (briefly), and also talk at youth group on Monday night. Those will be the primary responsibilities I'll have, though I'll also have to face the tribunal of parents and church members for questions, which is often so delicately titled "Meet and Greet" time. I'll also have some time just to hang out with students and get to know them a little bit, which I'm really looking forward to. I don't know if I'll have to plan stuff for that time, or if they'll have stuff for us to do. Monday, at least until I have to talk, Amy and I (and by then, Soren), will have time to spend with a realtor in the church, hopefully perusing the market to find a home. We are yet undecided whether or not to rent this first year or buy. I suppose a lot will depend on prices and if we can find a nice home in our price range. We have zero equity, so a lot will depend on our mortgage rate too. All in all, I'm stoked. This was the first church I really interviewed at, and while some people advocate considering different positions, that's not generally the way I operate. I only applied to PTS when I went off to seminary, though I looked at other places. But, when I visited, I knew this was where I wanted to be, and sensed God was leading me here, and something similar happened with this church. For me, since I knew this was my first choice, I didn't really pursue other options. Call it intuition. Call it providence. Call it God's leading. Whatever, I'm excited.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Screaming Like an Idiot

Wisconsin is, for the first time, a number 2 seed in the NCAA Championships. This is a very good thing, and I have chosen them to win the national title this year. A little bit of sentimentality, but they do have a shot. However, today they decided they didn't want to play in the first half, and subsequently found themselves down 17 in the first half to...wait for it...Texas A&M-Corpus Christi!! If your response was, "Who?" you are in good company. I began screaming at the Badgers to start playing. It was like they didn't care, as if they were simply going to prevail by setting foot on the court. I was a nut, as Amy will attest, but seriously, Bucky, please take care of business from here on out and don't ever put me through that again. My vocal chords cannot handle it. Oh, and they eventually settled down to win by 12.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Updated Deadlines

As an update on my self-imposed deadline, I am granting myself an extension. I will be traveling this weekend to Mankato to visit the church for interviewing and all that fun stuff, so I won't be able to give the amount of time to my thesis that it deserves, and hence I'll be graciously granting myself the extension until March 28. New deadline, you know what to do.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Flying to Mankato

Got a call last night from the church in Mankato, and they wanted to know how serious I am about them. Telling them I am extremely serious about them, I was then informed that they wanted to fly me out for a weekend visit, and to stay through Monday night in order to observe the Youth Group. They also wanted to fly Amy out with me, but being that we're five weeks away from D-Day with Soren she won't be able to fly. I'm excited to see this church, get to know the youth pastor who I would be working with, and get a better feel for the church. I'm still waiting to hear back from them to see just which weekend I'll go (I gave them a couple of options), so I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 05, 2007

March 21 or Self-Imposed Deadlines

For the few people that read this blog (namely Josh and Tom, it seems to me), I've imposed a deadline on myself for the first two chapters of my thesis, and in the interest of sticking to said imposition, I'm making public that this date is March 21. My first two chapters will be dealing with missional ecclesiology and the promise and challenges inherent for youth ministry (an introductory chapter more or less) and a theology of the laity that will find its extension to young people. Here's what I'm asking of you (whoever you might be): in the comments section, or via email, on March 14 (that's next Wednesday) check with me and see where my progress is at. If you know me well, call me. The more help I get in making sure I stick to this deadline the better. If want to read what I've written, feel free to drop me an email and I'll send a draft your way.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Theology of or for the laity?

I'm reading through Hendrik Kraemer's little book "A Theology of the Laity" where he sets out to propose a theology of the laity vs. a theology for the laity. In the latter case Kraemer means a translation, if you will, of theological concepts and categories into language and terminology appropriate for the lay-person. His book is not meant to eliminate such projects, but rather to articulate a theology of the laity, that is, a theological understanding of the practical importance and role of the lay-person in the ministry of the church. This distinction sparked a question for me. Can we (of perhaps ought we) to develop a theology for the laity without a fully articulated and thought-out theology of the laity? While I haven't given much consideration to the question, it strikes me we should not.

If we do not have a theological understanding of the role of the laity in the ministry of church's witness to Jesus Christ, on what grounds should we translate theology into the lay-context? For what purpose? It seems to me that unless we have at least a cursory rationale as to why the laity ought to be theologically (in)formed (and trust me I think they ought to be) there is no need to translate theology into a lay context. Also, shouldn't our understanding of the laity's role in the church inform the way in which we develop and translate our theology for them? Indeed, shouldn't the laity themselves inform our theological work? I think Kraemer is absolutely right that we need to pay more attention to our theology of the laity, before moving to quickly (or exclusively) to a theology for them.