Yesterday I had a visit with a friend from college days, and we asked the sorts of questions you do when four years have gone by since the last meeting, about kids and work and pets and extended families. Her husband asked, "Don't you want your own church?"
I have to confess, that's one of the most frustrating questions to be asked, because the answers are "Yes" and "No" and "Maybe."
First, yes. There's a certain appeal to being in a settled call. You have the chance to start things and see them grow, to develop relationships of depth, to live through the cycle of the year and then another and then another, to build trust and be present. Those are all good things.
But second, no. Because the question suggests that there is something "less than" about doing Interim Ministry, and while I would welcome a settled call if that's to be, I don't see what I'm doing now as stop-gap, for me or for the churches I've served.
And third, maybe. When I consider my gifts for ministry and make a list of which suit me to settled ministry and which to transitional ministry, both lists look respectable. A career assessment tool would not answer this question.
Here's what he had them singing:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
I clearly can't see the answer to this question by myself.
And I am left wondering if maybe there's no such thing as a wrong ministry as long as I'm ministering.