Saturday, August 02, 2008

Reprising the Good of the City

Last summer I wanted to get out of here.

On the other hand, I couldn't forget the fact that one of the reasons I had moved back in the first place was a sort of grudging affection for my city, and a sort of idea that maybe God wanted me to be there. Maybe, I thought, Starbucks was the only reason, and maybe that reason was winding down and I could escape. But . . . maybe not.

In case not, I decided I was going to start church-hopping--not because I'm unhappy with my home church (quite the contrary), but because I was curious to see what God was doing in and around the city. The church-hopping thing didn't go so well, because I actually do like my home church, and because I have a really hard time visiting other congregations. And even if I had been more disciplined about it (which just sounds ludicrous--who ever heard of church-hopping as a discipline?), I'm sure I would have missed out on some places. I probably would have missed out on the church down the street from my Starbucks--even though it is just down the street.

But my pastor's wife knew about it. Furthermore, she knew that they were looking for someone to work part-time to fill a need with their youth. It was only part-time, and when she told me about it, I was still faint-heartedly hoping one of the other full-time (and maybe further-away) jobs for which I had applied would come through. But by the time I got back from my vacation in Ireland and England, it was clear they wouldn't, and meanwhile, I kept thinking about this church and their no-longer-existent youth group.

So I applied. As it turns out, the position title is "Director of Christian Education," and the position itself is about as defined as the interim pastor and I decide to make it. Given the number of things he enthusiastically feels I can and should be involved with, I'm not sure how realistic it is for this to be part-time. But for now it will have to be, because Starbucks is still the way I'm going to get my health benefits.

Anyway, on Wednesday, the pastor offered me the job, and I accepted it. I'm a little nervous. I've visited the church a few times now and have enjoyed the people I've met there, but it's certainly a different type of church than any of the many I've been involved with before (no--it's not a cult, if that's what you're thinking!), and I'll have to move out of my safe home-church community to involve myself in this one. I have very little idea what it means to direct Christian education, and I don't feel I have the charismatic personality usually associated with youth leaders.

But I'm excited, too. Here's a way to seek the good of the city which I never would have thought of myself. And I'm looking forward to getting my creative juices flowing again, planning events and service projects and decorating my office (I'm going to have an office?!) and hanging out with kids. It doesn't seem like an End, necessarily. But it does seem like The Next Thing.

Tomorrow I leave for two weeks of work at a camp owned and run by the church (but outside of the city). I'll get to know some of the adults I've already met, a little better, and I'll get to know the kids for the first time. I'm excited about that, too. It means I won't be around for a while, though. But I suppose that's okay. I haven't been around much all summer, have I?


Stacey said...

Hey, Congrats Jenn!!! You'll be awesome and I'm excited that "the next thing" has found you. Thank you Lord for being faithful to Jenn!!

Christianne said...

That sounds awesome, Jenn! What a step. Very courageous. Can't wait to hear how it goes.

Are you going to be over ALL the children's work at the church (young kids as well as middle and high school) or just the middle and high schoolers?

Scott R. Davis said...

How great that you will be ministering as staff at a church. glad that you are being planted in His kingdom. do well as you get to know these children and adults well at camp. maybe you can have a small group with some ladies like you were trying earlier and can do an excellent job at that. Way to Go God and Jenn . what an awesome team. scott

heather said...

Sounds fun! Congrats!
And, when my husband and I left our old church, we decided to take a year to church-hop for the same reason--to see what God's doing around our city in different churches and denominations.
When we came to the church of which we're members now, we were ready to settle in.

David Madeira said...

Jenn, congrats on the new job! I hope it is a good fit for you.

Also, when we got back from our last vacation your book had arrived! So I very excitedly read it, and enjoyed it a lot! I must say even though it is geared toward people younger than me, I myself learned a lot about the Kosovar's struggle and their experience as refugees. I also really enjoy your prose -- I won't try (and fail) to describe why, I just like it. Congratulations on a great book!

L.L. Barkat said...

Wow! Now, that's a turn from serving coffee (or maybe not, huh? : )

Warm congratulations.

The Cubicle Reverend said...

That is awesome. Good job.

Jenn said...

Thanks, everybody!