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?