Today I stop to take a breath. I have been running hard and fast since the day I returned from Sabbatical. There is an intense amount of work to do in late August and early September when leading Youth Ministry, Adult Ministry, preaching, and supervising Children’s Staff.

The last month has consisted of:

  • preaching three weeks in a row
  • The Table configuration and promotion
  • Catechism leaders training
  • Catechism 6th Grade orientation
  • Catechism Kick-off party
  • Recruiting new Catechism team members
  • Connecting with 40 Own Your Faith families and their mentors
  • creating 3 OYF videos for web and DVD (filming with green screen, editing, posting)
  • creating OYF membership website interface
  • processing OYF registrations (35 students and their mentors)
  • OYF mentor training
  • OYF Kick-off retreat (two nights, with a grand finale of parent blessing ceremony at the 10:30 service)
  • SaLT orientation
  • Dojo Kickoff and weekly meetings
  • Children’s ministry goal and budget planning
  • Vision Board presentation
  • brainstorming Bible Mania
  • transcribing 80 pages of audio recording from Research team sessions
  • completing rough coding of research data (1202 pages of transcripts, emails, and discussion forum posts)
  • being a single Dad for three weeks while my wife was in Denver helping our brother-in-law convelesce from surgery.

OK. Deep breath. Youth ministry has been successfully launched, thanks to an amazing team of volunteers and my ministry partner, Tom Baker. Without Tom, this would not happen.

Now it’s time to focus on Adult Ministry and my dissertation. The next six weeks will include:

  • getting my wife back!
  • visiting my son at college (a nice weekend off next week, ahhh)
  • preaching
  • Teaching Catechism every Wednesday night.
  • participating in and encouraging SaLT and weekly Dojo meetings.
  • creating, promoting, and delivering Bible Mania. (a six-hour journey through the Bible on October 11. 9am-3pm)
  • planning the Loving Generously Small Groups. It is our vision to get as many people as possible involved in a small group for five weeks as part of the sermon series Loving Generously. This series will begin on October 25/26 and run to the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  • recruiting and equipping Loving Generously Small Group facilitator.
  • deep coding of the 1200+ pages of qualitative data for my dissertation research. This is in preparation for our team’s two final meetings in November.

Throughout this season of intense focus and treadmill-like existence, I continually ask: What is God up to in all this? I am on the final leg of this PhD journey. It definitely feels like a sprint to the finish line. The weird thing is that I have no idea what happens next. The cloud has moved to that point and hovers, obscuring anything that may lie behind it. I must trust that this is all I need to know in this moment.

I am reminded of some of my favorite verses.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

And, in the words of that wacky blue and yellow fish, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

Dory from Finding Nemo by Pixar

Dory from Finding Nemo by Pixar

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