update on my last post– things went well!  I was recommended by my CPM for candidacy and will be appearing in the presence of Presbytery on April 5th…. so soon too! 

As for the process, I will say that this time around was much less nerve-wracking than the previous two meetings with CPM, which is weird because I was expecting the experience of moving to candidacy to be much more stressful.  Instead, I found myself once more in the company of good and gracious folks, faithful Christians intent on helping folks like me discern my place in God’s plan.  They were ever so kind, ever so obviously intent on walking alongside me rather than standing in my way, and as a result I left that meeting feeling built up in the way I believe we are intended to feel.

As for particulars, here are the sorts of questions I was asked:

1) What sort of frustrations have you experienced as you practice ministry?

2) How has the academic environment at Harvard shaped your ministry?

3) With which biblical character do you most relate?

4) How do you understand the mission and task of pastor outside the walls of the particular church?

5) What gifts for ministry have you discovered during your internship?

Really, it was a wonderful experience.  I felt as though I was able to talk about my experiences authentically, which is more than I can say for many of my friends who unfortunately have found this process to be much more stressful in their own presbyteries.  On every account I was affirmed, and in fact I cannot recall a single moment in that meeting where I felt that I was being judged or criticized. 

I feel almost like its bragging to say this went so well, but the fact is that I know that it only went well because the Holy Spirit is truly present with that committee.  I could feel God in those people so strongly, and in turn was able to feel confidently that God is working through me, even when I cannot see it clearly.  In fact I often question my call, and the most vulnerable aspect part of being in that room was knowing that my future is not in my hands.  Then again, to know that other people are walking alongside me, and that when I fail to see God acting through me they are there to reassure me that God is indeed present in my life,  that is truly a blessing that cannot be ignored.

Into the fire

It’s D-Day.  And by D-Day, I mean my annual CPM meeting.  Now, granted, I love my CPM.  They are great folks and I every year I leave with the sense that they are truly committed to this process.  They are loving and supporting (and to my knowledge none of them read this blog so, no, I am not lying or embellishing.  They really rock.).

But then again, every year I find myself so nervous as I approach that meeting.  This year is no different, and if anything it gets worse because I am finally applying to be moved to candidacy.  This year I was asked to bear my theological soul, bite the bullet and put in writing what I believe about God and ministry and my calling.  And I did it, but doing it makes me vulnerable to these people in a way that I wasn’t before.  Things which before were only mine (my dreams, my beliefs, my fears) are now in their hands, and they can choose to accept them or criticize them at will.  It’s as profoundly scary as it is empowering, and I can only hope that I would remember God is in that room with me, and with them.  Because God is in that room.

 But just in case…. pray for me, would ya?