“For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.”
– Colossians 1.29
I’m into the seventh month of my Doctorate of Ministry. That means I have 14 months left. (Yippee!!) This program is going fast, although not fast enough. Many have asked me how things are going balancing full time pastoral ministry while simultaneously doing a doctorate. My answer is pretty simple. I say, “Well, I’m not in Duluth enough… Also, I’m not in the Cities enough.”
Things here at First Presbyterian Church have continue to move forward at a fast clip. In January we passed a complete rewrite of our 80 year old bylaws with 72% of folks approving. We still need to need to address the Articles of Incorporation and our Elders have been carefully discerning how best to move forward with that. We had a new member class in November and have another one planned for March. We are starting to pick up really positive momentum as a congregation.
All this leads me back to talking about energy. I had the joy of having Lindsay and the boys in Church with us here in Duluth last weekend. I love having them here with us. It makes life so much easier to be in the same place as them. It takes more energy when they are in the Cities. Simultaneously, it takes more energy for my marriage and parenting when I am in Duluth. When I am in Duluth, I move at full tilt with every ounce of my energy and the same is true in the Twin Cities.
I’m learning well where my own abilities end and where being plugged into the Spirit of Christ begins. When I’m in the flow of the Spirit things come easily. I can read for seminary, prepare sermons, meet with congregants, delight in my kids, and express love to my wife well. The energy seems to just keep flowing. When I get disconnected, everything becomes work and hard work at that. My patience wears thin and I find my mind wandering. These are not helpful traits for good ministry or good family life.
In this I see a good lesson for our congregation. As we plug into the Spirit of Christ, the energy will flow into existing and new ministries. As we call forward the gifts within each other they will flow with joy and enthusiasm when we are plugged into Christ’s energy. How do we stay plugged in? Being in relationship with mature Christian community is key. Dwelling in God’s word is another important component. Approaching all in our life with humility knowing that all that we do well comes from Christ’s work within us.
May we be a congregation who more and more finds ourselves connected to the infinite source of Christ’s energy. The Spirit is inviting us into service which flows for the sake of the Gospel so that we may present each other as mature disciples before Christ. May it be so!
In Christ’s Service,
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