One of my favorite things about working at First United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs are my conversations with the boss, Rev. Kent Ingram. The place he calls church is the traditional downtown congregation. And he leads us well: pastoring from the pulpit, [attempting] to manage staff (get us laughing and we quickly become a very unmanageable group!), and he spends his time “putting stuff back in the box.” On the other hand, I can’t define the place I call church as easily. The place I call church is on the edges of church and culture and in the people I meet there, in the magnificent mountains, and in the new community that FUMC is helping me build. I am creative, innovative, and [often unintentionally!] taking stuff out of boxes.
As different as we are, we are both deeply theological and reflective. We don’t just do what we do, we spend a lot of time understanding why we do what we do. And I love the conversations that we have. They are food for my soul. Sometimes it isn’t conversations we have, Kent just asks a question that makes me think. Other times he says something, he doesn’t know it, but I agree (or disagree as the case may be), and I wish we could pause life for a moment and talk about it.
Well, I love these conversations and thought that maybe others would like to eavesdrop into these conversations and maybe even join in. And Kent thought it was a cool idea too. So, I am going to invite you in to our conversation hopefully we all learn a little about the church and about one another. I hope to post something weekly starting next week!
¶324.9.p: Explain the role and significance of the sacraments in the ministry to which you have been called.
Continue reading Tell us about: Sacraments in Ministry
324.9.o: You have agreed as a candidate for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness to the gospel, and in consideration of their influence as ministers, to make a complete dedication of yourself to the highest ideals of the Christian life, and to this end agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to bodily health, mental and emotional maturity, integrity in all personal relationships, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God. What is your understanding of this agreement?
Continue reading Tell us about: Being Christ’s Witness in the World
You will find and introduction to my BOM theological paperwork here: Doctrinal Exam
¶324.9.n: Describe your understanding of an inclusive church and ministry.
The world is constantly telling us we are not enough, we do not own the right shoes, or drive the right car; we do not have enough Facebook friends or Twitter followers. An inclusive church says the world is wrong. As United Methodists, we invite all to the table because we know it is God’s table not ours. When I look someone in the eye, hand them a small bite of bread and say “The body of Christ given for you,” I am reminding them that they are already enough. They do not need better shoes or more Facebook friends; they are already a beloved child of God. When I hand someone a small cup of juice, and say “The blood of Christ given for you,” I am saying, “Someone loves you enough to die for you.” If our story tells us that Adam and Eve hid from God because they were afraid they were not good enough, then the inclusive church lives out of the belief that every human being is loved by God and offered God’s grace, no matter their economic, physical, social, political, or emotional location.
An inclusive church lives out of that belief by removing barriers that prevent people from experiencing God’s love. We enable all persons to participate in the spiritual life of the church by providing space for worship and community. We provide emotional space, a place of healing, and honoring every person for who they are. We provide the physical space for people by providing accessible worship space to all peoples. An inclusive church is open, accepting, and supporting of all people.
I believe an inclusive church is welcoming but more than that, I believe an inclusive church is always reaching out beyond its walls. An inclusive church is one in which the members pass by a homeless person sleeping on a park bench and see a human being. An inclusive church is one in which the members sit with disadvantaged children to help them learn to read; where holding the door for someone, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or economic struggles, is second nature; a church whose members gather to feed homeless teenagers, make blankets for kids pulled from their home, and get to know names of less fortunate people in their neighborhood…that is an inclusive church.
¶324.9.m: What is the meaning of ordination in the context of the general ministry of the Church?
Continue reading Tell us about: Ordination
¶324.9.l: Describe your understanding of diakonia, the servant ministry of the church, and the servant ministry of the provisional member.
Continue reading Tell us about: Diakonia
¶324.9.k: How do you perceive yourself, your gifts, your motives, your role, and your commitment as a provisional member and commissioned minister in The United Methodist Church?
Continue reading Tell us about: Tiffany