The Unexpected Conversation


If your bishop, presbyter, or judicatory staff person called you up and asked you to go to lunch, what would you expect? If you weren’t in trouble you probably at least would think that you are going to be asked to take on some new task.

Imagine the impact of being asked to lunch as a means of engaging in a theological discussion of how God is involved in your ministry, both in the stresses and the joys. Too often we are not invited to engage in theological reflection on our call. Yet the integration of our faith and our labor is precisely what attracted us to ministry in the first place.


It is so easy to become immersed in the demands of our work and forget that in both the joys and the sorrows we are responding to the call of the eternal God and that there is a purpose beyond the immediate moment. Being mindful of the fact that our biblical witness suggests that those called to service by God are frequently challenged by the resistance of those around them, should we not reflect with a faith partner on how God wants us to respond to that resistance as well as celebrate with them when things are going well.


The whole conversation might be enriched if the judicatory person identified two to three persons to join you in that conversation. Especially if they were of diverse theological persuasions, the very conversation might both broaden and deepen the understanding of faith for each of the participants. It would also enrich the judicatory person’s understanding of what is going on within the congregations of his or her charge.


Think of two or three questions that might invite serious reflection on the meaning of God’s call. I’ll try to think of some myself and share them on another day.

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