The Bridge Spring 2019
Enflame us with your love;
Empower us with your spirit! 1
Enflame us with your love; Empower us with your Spirit! YAC: A Community Aflame with Love
and reduce generations of progress to ashes. Scripture also tells us that the Holy Spirit often comes to give people power. The power that comes by the Spirit can help us build institutions, serve hurting people, or sustain a movement for peace and justice. Without the power of ingenuity and service and compassion, there would be no Heifer International, no Brethren Volunteer Service. Yet the Church of the Brethren has long observed that power, like fire, also contains the potential for destruction. Power gone awry can topple the pillars of community, pin down oppressed people, and rip apart the threads that bind us together.
By Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred
Young adults are no strangers to feeling powerless. In a chaotic world, in a fraught political moment, in an aging church, it doesn’t often feel like we have the tools or support—the power—to make a difference. We lack everything we associate with power: the money, the training, the connections, the permission. At Young Adult Conference 2019, participants will find opportunities to lay claim to their power—just maybe not the power the world always recognizes.
In Ephesians 3:16-20 (the theme verses for YAC), Paul distinguishes between the fruited power of Spirit and the other, corrosive kind of power. Paul prays for us to be strengthened by God’s spirit. “Not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength.” Not the power of muscle or money. Not the kind that imposes its will through force or violence or coercion. Rather, the inner power of resilience and conviction. The power to withstand evil, weather turmoil, and hold one another up.
The YAC 2019 theme is “Enflame us with your love; Empower us with your Spirt!” Flame and power. Love and spirit. What heavy, loaded words! In scripture, both power and flame are closely associated with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit often appears as fire, from the burning bush and the fiery tornado in Exodus to the dancing flames atop the heads of worshippers at Pentecost. But what a curious, conflicted form to take. Fire both dances and spits, both glows and burns. It can be inviting or foreboding, alluring or repellant, warming or raging. It can sustain life and advance culture, but just as easily it can singe the skin
How do we get our hands on that kind of power?
Ephesians 3: 16-20 (MSG) I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. 1
Young Adult Conference 2019 Register at www.brethren.org/yac
As Paul puts it, “with both feet planted firmly on love.” Power received with love is like the domesticated fire that we use to warm our homes and cook our food. If we’re mindful, it poses to us no threat. Moreover, it creates the potential for us to practice hospitality and build community. It’s good for inviting people in; it’s useless for doing people harm. Paul encourages us to model our own love on Christ’s. He describes “the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love,” the breadth, the depth, the heights. We could explore the universe of Christ’s love for the rest of our lives—for the rest of our history—and never approach the boundary.
less power. Paul reminds us, “God can do anything.” But God doesn’t force anything upon us or push us around. Rather, God’s Spirit is “deeply and gently within us.” That means that that same limitless power resides in us, too! But it vanishes if we try to push anyone around. Only vast love can contain vast power. Put another way, Christ’s power will be our power, when Christ’s love is our love. So God, enflame us with your love; empower us with your spirit! Reprinted from The Bridge Winter 2018 edition
With such limitless love, God also possesses limit-
Save the Date:
May 24-26, 2019
Enflame us with your love; Empower us with your Spirit! Chelsea and Tyler Goss The Bridge: When was a time when you felt empowered by the Holy Spirit? Chelsea Goss: There have been times in my life when certain endeavors seem to effortlessly fall into place. If it’s biking across the country, moving to Australia, or going back to school. In these times it feels like the Holy Spirit is moving alongside me, helping new doors to open and empowering me to take the next step.
Tyler Goss: Ha, I remember, one afternoon in the early 2000s, I, like any good Brethren youth, spent one afternoon reading articles on the New Community Project website regarding the environmental impact of eating beef. I remember wrestling with the Holy Spirit. I felt pulled to put my faith into action and change my diet as one simple act of caring for God's sacred world, but I also didn't want to deal with the TB: Where do you see the Holy Spirit moving in the awkward transition of being that hippie, non-beefyoung adult community? eating kid...The Spirit won. CG: The church as a whole has a lot it's figuring out TB: Who has shown you God’s love? and I believe the Holy Spirit is helping move the YA community to be an integral part of those decisions CG: I see God’s love in young children. Kids love eveby listening, discerning, and strengthening our relaryone they meet. It doesn’t matter your ethnicity, tionships with God and with each other. sexual orientation, political view or what flaws you TG: I see it in the fresh, re-imagining of our faith. think you may have, kids love you. I think we can Dunker Punks. Urban ministry. Intentional community learn a lot about God’s love through their eyes. conversations. Get some young adults dreaming TG: My mom taught me about God's love and what it about what the church can be and some sacred means to love others through the stories she would sparks ignite. tell me as a kid. Stories of times she had to live differently growing up because of her family's faith. Stories What’s your favorite fireside food? of her childhood about when Grandpop was a consci- CG: S’mores without the chocolate or maybe s’mores entious objector. Stories of how Grandmom and with the addition of peanut butter. Really, as long as I Grandpop would always welcome in the stranger. get a marshmallow, I’m a happy camper! Growing up, I just wanted to hear a good story, but I TG: Ok, work with me here. Take a waffle, add some realize now how much they impacted my faith. chocolate chips and mini marshmallows (be sure to TB: What sparks passion in you? give each square some lovin'), add another waffle on CG: Coming to events like YAC and being surrounded top, wrap them in tin foil. Boom! (for bonus flavor, by amazing people who are living out the Jesus way. substitute chocolate chips with Reese's Pieces). TG: Cat videos
YAC 2019 Speakers Register at www.brethren.org/yac
Richard Newton The Bridge: When was a time when you felt empowered by the Holy Spirit? Richard Newton: I’m hesitant to claim with certainty what’s empowered me to do what I've done— because I mess up a lot and shoulder the blame. But I’m astounded when people trust me with their stories, struggles, and dreams. This’ll sound weird, but I feel this most profoundly at funerals. When I’m entrusted—despite all my flaws—to help people get through such a daunting experience, their faith helps me rise to the occasion in a way that most days is beyond me. I think this is in part what many of the earliest Christian writers are characterizing when they talk about the body of Christ. TB: Who has shown you God’s love? RN: My family. Every so often I get into a situation where I’m in way over my head. And when I feel the weight of the world, I feel grace in remembering that my family really doesn’t care how well I do on a task. Nothing about their love for me will change whether I’m immensely successful or an utter failure. They may be disappointed if I don’t try my best in a situation. They may join me in the satisfaction of a job well done. But that love is steadfast. That’s the best analogy of a love that exceeds the human imagination, because I can barely wrap my mind around it.
questions about the Bible and I’ll summon all I have and then some to sit with you through those questions. Let’s see what we can figure out, shall we? TB: Where do you see the Holy Spirit moving in the young adult community?
RN: Well I think young people are on a cultural precipice in which many of the myths passed down to them are falling off the cliff. There’s a leap of faith to RN: Helping people get to Aha! moments. I love be made, and when young adults make it, they will problem solving. I love equipping people with the tools to do things that they and others thought were see a justice, a peace, and a community that is so much more fulfilling than the comforts they‘ve left hardly possible. behind. I’m seeing young people make this leap as TB: What’s one thing you will bring to YAC? they jettison dogma for discipleship and obstinance for open hearts. RN: I think I’m that guy that you can’t phase with questions. There’s no thought or wonder about life TB: What’s your favorite fireside food? that’s going to make me say, “Nope, you’ve crossed RN: S'mores without chocolate. Bonus points for the line.” For all of YAC, you can ask me your fresh Honey Maid graham crackers and Kraft Marshmost puzzling, controversial, scariest, or whimsical mallows toasted well to well-done. TB: What sparks passion in you?
Enflame us with your love; Empower us with your Spirit! Katie Smith
though the Magdalen The Bridge: When was a time when you felt empow- Asylums were terrible ered by the Holy Spirit? things, people Katie Smith: Growing up in the church, I often felt simply didn't pressure to tell of mountaintop experiences when asked about my relationship with God, when in fact, know about them-- and those mountaintop experiences were few. I have a that's part of physical disability, and it impacted how I felt about myself, or how other kids perceived me. When I was my passion. I a kid, after church one Sunday night, I was playing in want to find the grass-- and I fell. I remember seeing a distant light areas where come on, likely from a building nearby. I thought that knowledge is needed and work with it in a way that makes it acceslight was a sign from God. I just said, "Here I am, sible to all people. Lord. Send me." In that moment, it became clear to me, as a fairly young child, that God doesn't have to TB: Where do you see the Holy Spirit moving in the work through the biggest, strongest people. God young adult community? chooses the people he needs for his purpose-- and KS: The YA community, for me, needs to be inclusive. they are perfect for his will. Being a young adult is tough, it's weird, it's brand TB: Who has shown you God’s love? KS: I'm what is known as a highly sensitive person—I am always worried that I am in the way or am not doing something "right." For me, the people that show me God's love are the ones that take time to make time for those of us that might be struggling, but not confident enough to speak out. Gestures of love aren't always grandiose. Sometimes, God's love is someone going out of their way to do something that they don't need to do, but they do so because they care about you. TB: What sparks passion in you?
new, but I think that we need to focus most on really embracing the spirit of community. I just finished reading Dopesick by Beth Macy, which focuses on the opioid crisis in Appalachia. In the book, Macy talks about churchgoers being very uneasy with the idea of a drug treatment program opening up in a community area. When asked how many chances addicts were supposed to get, an advocate spoke up and asked what it says in the Bible. How many times does the Bible say to forgive? 70 X 7. To me, this passage really spoke to me as a message on community and the fact that we, as members of the church need to see not "us" v. "them," but simply the church.
KS: What sparks passion in me? Gosh. I love to read, TB: What’s your favorite fireside food? to gather knowledge, to write, to communicate ideas. KS: I mean, is this a real question? Isn't the answer Part of my passion is helping give a voice to people always, always, always s’mores? that may have been overlooked, either in our communities, or even our world history. For example, part of my master's thesis was looking at the way that Magdalen Asylums worked in Ireland and how women were cast aside or seen as less than because of one event in their lives. One of the things that frustrated me most about the research was that even 5
YAC 2019 Speakers Register at www.brethren.org/yac
Logan Schrag The Bridge: When was a time when you felt empowered by the holy spirit? Logan Schrag: I felt inspired while traveling in Rwanda, Africa. I saw people that had “so little” love life so much. TB: Who has shown you God’s love? LS: My parents raised me with a love that only God could have provided. They showed me an unconditional love that I believe reflects a sliver of what we receive from God. TB: What sparks passion in you? LS: My passion comes when I can help someone else see the value their story carries. TB: What is one thing you will bring to YAC? LS: I am hoping to bring new energy and excitement to the different perspectives that we have about what it means to be Christian in everyday life.
TB: Where do you see the holy spirit moving in the young adult community? LS: I see the holy spirit moving as we share the talents that we have been given to ensure the sustainability of our world around us.
TB: What’s your favorite fireside food? Biscuits on a stick!
Other YAC Leadership Worship Coordinators: Katie Heishman, Bekah Houff Music Leader: Gabe Imler
Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries: Becky Ullom Naugle Young Adult Steering Committee: Krystal Bellis, Karly Eichenauer, Emmy Goering, Jessie Houff, Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred 6
Enflame us with your love; Empower us with your Spirit! Being on the Young Adult Steering Committee By Jessie Houff
For the last three years I have had the honor of serving on YASC. It is a leadership opportunity that I am very thankful to have had. Something I have learned while being on the committee is how important it is for our voices of young adults to be heard. The church yearns for young adult involvement. In these last three years I have been able to voice my thoughts and provide input to the planning of YAC. Now, it’s someone else’s turn! As my term comes to a close, I’m excited that a new spot on the YASC is open for another young adult to contribute to our community. If you have a passion for leadership in the church, if you think you have a perspective that could benefit future YACs, if you feel you are being called to work in collaboration with other passionate young adults, apply for this opportunity.
not a stand-two-feet-apart-while-we-awkwardly-pat -each-other-on-the-back greeting. I’m talking full frontal, usage of 100% of the arms, squeeze tight, leave no room for Jesus kind of hug. I find great joy in hugging. Whether I am greeting a friend, thanking a stranger, or comforting someone through a hard time, I’m your gal. You can call it a gift, a talent, a Vocation blessing, I call it my vocation. That vocation transThere are many things I enjoy about life. I am an lates into things that I do. It finds its way in my art. It artist, so I love making art. I love teaching art and finds its way in the way I teach and how I interact theatre and dance. I love to perform on a stage and with my students. It seeps through how I communishare my gifts. But whatever I do, I’m not sure if cate with others and how I listen. I just try to spread “vocation” is the right word to describe it. One day I the good wherever I go. figured out why I was put on earth. I realized God made me for the world for one main reason: To hug. Art: As It Relates to the YAC Theme Inspiration for my artwork stems from my upI give the best hugs in all the land. I truly believe bringing in the Church of the Brethren and the relathat. One could say I am a comforter. I like to give tionships I have built my life upon. Those I have people comfort and I love to connect with another grown up with in the church are loving, caring, and human through a warm embrace. Not a side hug,
Join these fine folks! There are two open positions on the Young Adult Steering Committee to be filled in June 2019! If you are interested in applying, go to bit.ly/yasc-apply to download the application.
Young Adult Steering Committee Apply to join at bit.ly/yasc-apply
encouraging, yet a core belief of some is that my homosexuality is an abomination. Thankfully, my family and close-knit congregation is accepting, but few are so lucky with such support. I have witnessed intolerance to a point of excruciating frustration. My art reflects both the agony as well as the promise of a healthy future.
will be able to listen to what I am trying to say, see life from my perspective, and open for conversation.
The following pictures are from a banner series I made with layers of text. These layers are comprised of letters to those I love, scripture, and a personal interpretation of how I translate this section of the bible. I used YAC’s scripture theme, Ephesians 3: 16-20 My art this year has been visceral, heartbreaking, with additional excerpts from chapters 4 and 5. I see empowering, and emotional. Some of the art I have my artwork as a manifestation of being enflamed made makes me feel extremely vulnerable, especially with God’s love and empowerd by God’s spirit. The when I think of people from the COB viewing it. What more I live and work and love, the more I am empowwill people think? What will they say? Can they apered to do what makes me happy: love others, make preciate it? I can only hope those who see my work art, and spread joy.
Simply Peacefully Together (2018). Acrylic on Water Color Paper. Three panels 3'X10'
Enflame us with your love; Empower us with your Spirit!
Young Adults in Action
Leading, Learning, and Loving By Amelia Gunn Ever since I was baptized, I have felt a call to lead and serve others. I remember questions swirling in my head: How can I serve my home church? How can I serve the Church of the Brethren as a whole? How can I serve my fellow sisters and brothers? These thoughts captivated me, so I started with my youth group at home. I led the group and encouraged them to attend Mid-Atlantic youth events, workcamps, Roundtable, and even National Youth Conference. We raised money together, attended incredible events together, and most importantly we served alongside each other with God and others in mind. I attended Roundtable all four years of high school and it was an event that I always looked forward to. Roundtable is a regional youth conference for the southeastern region and Pennsylvania districts of the Church of the Brethren. It has been held at Bridgewater College every year since 1941. What was always so exciting about Roundtable was the fact that six Bridgewater College students planned the event each year. I always dreamed of being on the Interdistrict Youth Cabinet (IYC) and thought that the college students on it were the coolest people I knew. Fast forward to my freshman year at Bridgewater, when I was asked to serve on IYC in the spring of 2017. I was thrilled and could not wait to see where God would lead me as a part of this youth cabinet. Since service and leadership seemed to have always been a part of my nature, I knew that IYC would prove to be wonderful.
and the various retreats we plan throughout the year become extremely important to us as we spend hours on top of our busy college schedule to ensure that it all runs smoothly.
As a part of IYC 2018-2019 (a.k.a. my last year of service on IYC), I was appointed to be the Roundtable Coordinator, which is the position with the most responsibility surrounding Roundtable. Since it was my last I helped at Roundtable 2017 as a lovingly coined Roundtable as a part of IYC, I wanted it to be as close to â€œnewbieâ€? and performed many of the behind the perfect as it could be. Roundtable 2019 was just a few scenes duties that the newbies always take on. After short weeks ago, and it ran smoothly, the youth were Roundtable that year, I was installed onto IYC officially, incredible, the helpers were amazing, our speaker was and my position on IYC 2017-2018 was the Correspondoutstanding, and God was surely moving in the youth ing Secretary. In addition to being the liaison between and in us that weekend. Everyone had an absolute blast the speaker and IYC, my fellow IYCers and I planned together and it was so beautiful to watch it all come Roundtable 2018. Each of us worked together and used together. There were times during the weekend where I our individual gifts to come up with the Roundtable would walk around campus, darting from workshop to theme, logo, giveaways, Friday night entertainment, workshop, checking in on everyone. Sometimes on my retreat themes, and so much more. We planned every walks from building to building, I would stop and redetail of the weekend, as we do every year. Roundtable
Young Adults in Action member how blessed I am to have had this wonderful experience. The entire weekend was surreal. This past year on IYC has been so special and important to me. I have grown so much and learned a great deal about leadership and myself. This experience continues to make me realize how fulfilling service is. One of the greatest things about being on IYC is the people. My fellow IYCers and our advisor Steve Spire are incredible. They give up their time to serve God and the youth, and I could not be more thankful for what they have done and continue to do. They are selflessly devoted to God, IYC, and Roundtable, and I could not be prouder of them. The people I have served with have shaped who I am today and I’m so grateful for all of the time we spent together. We laughed together, cried together, prayed together, and most importantly we served alongside each other with God and others in mind. This has been a life-changing experience; I will hold the memories of my time on IYC close to my heart. Now, I will move on, and life will be a tad different, but I will begin to find where else I can lead, learn, and love.
Finding God in Fandoms By Julia Largent I’m writing this bit in the wake of the New Zealand shooting. A scholar friend of mine is from New Zealand and his confusion, grief, and outrage is consistent in his tweets. It’s easy to focus on the negative in our world, which has also become cliché to say. But how often do we really stop to see the good that is happening around us every single day? The person who hands a dropped $20 bill to the owner or the person who graciously allows someone else to order their coffee first? That is where I see God at work. The small good acts within the horribleness of the world. I graduated with my Ph.D. in Media and Communication in 2017. I immediately moved to McPherson, Kansas where I started as an Assistant Professor of Communication at McPherson College that fall. My research focuses on documentaries and fandoms and sometimes the intersection between the two. You can boil down my research to a simple phrase: I study how people interact with other people in online spaces about things they love and enjoy. If you’re unfamiliar with fandoms, they are undefined groups of fans of a specific movie, book, television show, person, etc. (think: Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Star Wars). They exist in both digital (e.g., social media) and physical spaces (e.g., comicons). Although I am not a super active fan myself in digital spaces, I have several friends who are and I constantly see their interaction in real time on Facebook and Twitter. I saw how after the New Zealand shooting we rallied around Mark to support him and grieve with him. I constantly see the support of giving to fans from other fans around mental illnesses and broken hearts. Many people write off fandoms and claim they don’t mean anything, but it can be seen as a different avenue of how God works in our lives in an everyday context. Are all acts through which God can be seen religious? Can we see God in individuals who are not religious? Because I see these small works of God in fandoms every single day. Left page: Amelia Gunn (bottom left) stands with the Interdistrict Youth Cabinet. Right page: Julia Largent
Enflame us with your love; Empower us with your Spirit! PROMISE By Laura Stone
God of faithfulness, give us the courage and strength to find the promise in the now. Indeed, it does take strength to look ahead, for something is required of us when we see a bright future, and something holds back, saying “just in case” or “what if” or “but last time…” So give us surety of faith, strength of action, and clearness of vision, as we walk in the Promise that is You.
HOPE By Laura Stone
Don’t give me your “It’s okay”’s your “Everything happens for a reason” your “All turns out well in the end” and “We’re never given more than we can handle.” I don’t know if they are true, but I know that’s not where HOPE is. HOPE is “I see you” “I love you” “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I will be there with you” “Hold on. There’s still something worth fighting for, worth living for, worth dreaming for.”
Poetry Go Walk in the World By Kenneth Morse
Go walk in the world with the Spirit’s fire; Its glowing will light you and lead you far. Let Christ be your fervor, your burning desire, Your sunlight by day, in darkness your star. Start out where you live, in spite of your fears, And go where God points though the way seems long. Go forth amid anguish and stand amid tears; The Lord is your compass, your comfort, your song. Go walk in the world where the millions wait, So hungry for healing, so needful of grace. They know not God’s mercy; they fear for their fate. Go show them the beauty that shines in God’s face. Let peace be your practice and faith be your flame. No tomb can dissuade you, nor death yet destroy Your sense of God’s presence, your trust in God’s name. Go walk in the world with a heart full of joy. (1973) Originally published in Listen to the Sunrise (Brethren Press, 1991). Reprinted with permission.
Enflame us with your love; Empower us with your Spirit! An Unexpected Journey By Michael Himlie My name is Michael Himlie, I am from Harmony, Minnesota, US. I graduated from the Peace Studies Institute at Manchester University in 2017, studying Middle Eastern war and occupied zones and conflict resolution. Following my undergraduate degree, I completed training with CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams). I have worked with the teams of Lesvos, Greece, a project of CPT Europe, and Iraqi Kurdistan, though most of my time has been with the Palestine team. The Palestine team works in and around the city of Hebron, supporting Palestinian grassroots movements against Israelâ€™s military occupation of Palestine. In July, 2018 Israeli forces banned my entry in to Israel and Palestine, giving me a 15 year ban claiming that I am a threat to the security of the state of Israel for upholding international law.
Eastern political science and feminism, while continuing to serve with CPT. CPT places teams at the invitation of local peacemaking communities that are confronting situations of lethal conflict. These teams support and amplify the voices of local peacemakers who risk injury and death by waging nonviolent direct action to confront systems of violence and oppression. CPT understands violence to be rooted in systemic structures of oppression. We are committed to undoing oppressions, starting within our own lives and in the practices of our organization.
I would encourage all reading this to consider going on a CPT delegation. A delegation is the first step to be involved in CPT and travels to an area of the world CPT works. Delegations are relatively inexpensive and an ethical way to travel, understanding the political context of an area, meeting with local people, working alongside the CPT team, making new Now I spend most of my time speaking publicly throughout North America and Europe about CPT and connections and friends, and enjoying the natural my work in the Middle East. For the spring and sum- beauties of the area. To learn more about CPT or delmer 2019 I will be embarking on a four month speak- egation, go to CPT.org or email me directly at mjhiming tour around Europe and Northern Africa. Follow- email@example.com. ing that, I will start at Bethany Seminary in their MA Global Peace Studies program, focusing on Middle
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My Ministry Experience by Thomas McMullin The past two years I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to attend Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana. During this time, I have been able to help out as the student worker for the only extra circular organization at Bethany, “Green Circle.” During the past two years, as a group we have planned and facilitated a worship service, service day, and an educational event for the communities of Bethany, Earlham School of Religion, Earlham College, and Richmond, Indiana. As we move forward as a group, we look to
inspire more people to care about God’s creations all around us through our three pillars of learning: service, learning, and worship. I have also been blessed with the opportunity to serve the Nettle Creek and White Branch Churches of the Brethren this school year. This involvement is due to my participation in the class Ministry Formation. For this class, we must put in 400 hours at a ministry site and I chose these two churches for this. I am working alongside fellow Bethany alum, Brian Mackie, who has been a great leader, teacher, and supervisor for me this year. I have been able to lead Bible Study, Sunday School, Worship, Children’s Story, and even preached. I have really enjoyed my time in these two ministry settings. The people have been wonderful, and I really appreciate their willingness to include me into their churches. I am extremely joyful to have these opportunities to serve God.
Ministry Spotlight Thriving in Ministry by Dana Cassell Every summer, college-aged Brethren young adults spend ten weeks in an immersive internship experience, working with ministers to try on and test out what life as a pastor or ministerial leader might be like. Many of these folks are working to discern God's call in their life, wondering if they might be called to be a set-apart leader in the church. I have lots of conversations with young people doing this kind of discernment, and I hear a lot of wondering about whether or not being a pastor is too...restrictive: “I love the church, but I'm studying to be a teacher.” “God really might be calling me to ministry, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to serve the church and have a family.” “Yeah, being a pastor might be really cool, but I don't think it would ever be enough to pay my bills...especially with this student loan debt I have now.” These kind of questions are the real, gritty stuff of discernment. And they are so totally relevant. It turns out, it's not only young adults who are asking these kinds of questions about pastoral ministry. This fall, the denomination was awarded a big grant to start a new program that will support multivocational pastors. We discovered, in preparing and writing our grant proposal, that somewhere between 2/3 and ¾ of all Church of the Brethren pastors are multivocational: meaning that they split their time and energy between pastoral work and other vocational commitments. That's a LOT of pastors (622, at last count) who have answered a call to serve the church while also
working another job, living out another vocational call, raising a family, and about 618 other things. So far, we've met pastors who are also lawyers, middle school teachers, farmers, professors, musicians, chefs, engineers, writers, and machinists. This way of combining pastoral ministry with other vocations is not exactly new. For most of our history, the Brethren called pastors from the congregation, people who continued working other jobs and tending to relationships but who also served in ministry to the church. Some of our congregations still practice what's called the “plural non-salaried” or “free” ministry. Brethren have always valued having leaders who embody the richness and fullness of life in Christ: both inside the church walls and out. These realizations make me really excited to continue having all those discernment conversations with young adults, because now I can say with confidence: that's great! You can serve the church in pastoral leadership AND be a teacher/farmer/artist/parent/ engineer. People do it all the time! As you listen for God's call in your own life, do you hear a whisper like this? A voice that might be calling you not to one thing forever and ever amen but to many things, multiple vocations, a life that includes serving the church as part of a rich, full life of discipleship? Well, friend, I've got just the possibility for you!
Nancy Heishman announces the Thriving in Ministry grant to the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board. PC Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.
Enflame us with your love; Empower us with your Spirit! MSS Ad
Blessed and Multiplied
was creating a spreadsheet to track my monthly income and spending. There are certainly all kinds of by Traci Rabenstein apps and software out there to do this now, but there The theme scripture for Young Adult Conference is still great value in seeing all of your money outlined this year from Ephesians 3:16-20 invites us to “test in an old-fashioned spreadsheet. Doing this exercise the lengths” of Christ’s love for us and to “reach out helped me become more intentional about giving to and experience the breadth” of the Holy Spirit within support ministries that are important to me. us. This calls us to empower others to go where we Today, while I still use a spreadsheet, I also use can’t go and reach out to those whom we can’t www.brethren.org/give. Through the online giving reach. We do this by giving to support this work of form, I scheduled a monthly recurring gift to support the church. When we give what we are able, we trust the Church of the Brethren ministries that I am pasin Christ’s transformative power. If Jesus used five sionate about. loaves of bread and a couple of fish to feed more If you would like more information about how to than 5,000 people, can’t our gifts, no matter their give, the mission and ministry of the Church of the size, be blessed and multiped in the same way? Brethren, or would like a copy of the budget spreadGrowing up, I was taught to give 10% of my insheet I use, feel free to reach out to me at tracome to the work of the church. I haven’t always firstname.lastname@example.org. been able to do this, and it took some time and creative budgeting to get to this point. What helped me
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