Vision and Direction

This month is the month of breakthroughs for me. Perhaps if you knew me, you might think that every month is a breakthrough month from the way I talk, but the last month has been pretty intense... in a good way. Here's the story in bullets:
  • April 15th (afternoon) - Met with EFCA Great Lakes District Church Planting Director, Brett Gleason, to discuss possible church planting opportunities in the near future.  Left the meeting energized and eager to talk to my wife, who, of course, would be won over without a word...
  • That evening - Told Melissa about my exciting plans to get involved with church planting right out of seminary, detailing the potential options Brett and I discussed.  She was, shall we say, not won over, despite my brilliant sales pitch.  STEEEERIKE!
  • During the next week, I drew up a ministry resume and fill out a placement questionnaire for the TEDS Placement Office, and met up with the Placement Director to go over them.  Got some good feedback and was forced to think a little more carefully about some issues related to ministry vision and calling.
  • Finished four major projects and a sermon, which I gave two weekends ago (you can listen here).  Got some good feedback re: preaching, and ministry gifting and preparedness from a good friend with whom I am currently serving in a second generation Korean Presbyterian Church.
  • Met with my advisor this afternoon to discuss ministry vision and direction, and came out with some really helpful insights.  Came home to discuss this with my wife, and the reception was much better.
So, the insights... In a nutshell, what have culminated over these last three weeks are these:
  • I am probably a church planter who needs some more significant and consistent ministry experience under his belt before venturing out.
  • If my wife's not on board, either (1) it's not the Lord's will, or (2) it's not the Lord's timing.  The last two big ministry/life decisions we made (launching The Core and leaving for seminary), she was "all in."
  • Post-seminary (beginning of 2010), I need to plug into a church whose ministry values/philosophy and context are compatible with my values and calling.  More than likely this should be at a church which was planted within the last decade or so, and has flourished in a "post-Christendom" context.
  • The fact that I am an "idealist" (pros and cons to that) limits the kind of ministry setting that I can actually flourish in.  It basically requires a setting that values creativity, critical thinking, and innovation (as well as a basic philosophical framework within which I can work).
  • The feedback I am consistently getting (from adviser, mother, wife, friend) is that I need to be ministering in a secular university community among people + or - 15 years of my age (27).
  • Denomination matters a lot less than the particular local church setting (except, of course, where there are doctrinal conflicts).
  • Relationships are critical.
OK, so probably not earth shattering... but very helpful for me in terms of processing my next steps.  At this point in time, I am working on finishing my resume and starting to explore connections with potential future ministry partners.  In the meantime, if anyone knows of any churches that are (a) thinking missionally about doing church in a post-Christendom setting (2nd or 3rd generation unchurched, e.g. Chicago = 3% churched), (b) currently ministering in a post-Christendom setting, and (c) looking for another pastoral staff member, let me know.

Blessings to all,

Matt

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