This coming Sunday I have my first neutral pulpit ever. How have I been in ministry for eleven years yet am only NOW having a neutral pulpit? When I graduated from Seminary I stayed at the church I’d been serving for three years as Director of Youth Ministry to become the Ordained Associate Minister for Youth and Families. After leaving that position, I began serving as Interim Minister at a nearby church. I was then invited to preach during August that summer at a church whose pastor had died in a tragic accident the previous October. Their interim had gone away for the month. My Association Minister wanted them to ‘try out’ a woman pastor. It was an Evangelical Reformed church of mostly older members. They’d never had a woman preach in their church before. In the fall after completing their church profile that church contacted the Associations Minister of my Conference to ask if I would come to be their pastor. He sent me their hand-written profile and I said yes after meeting with the church leadership. I remained there for eight and a half years. After aiding them as well as the other wonderful congregation I was then serving, in the process of becoming a brand-new church start, God has asked me to make a move; to do a new thing.
This neutral pulpit will be strange for me. It feels very much like an audition, and I suppose that is what it is. The two churches attending this neutral pulpit will be looking for certain qualities in my worship leadership style and preaching. Granted, I’m not sure just WHAT they will be looking for so this is where God comes in.
I am asking God to help me be myself as much as is possible considering I expect to be a total nervous wreck. But, I want to be chosen because the congregation members who select me feel that God is directing them to make their choice. I am asking God to be with me as I continue this discernment process and figure out very honestly where I am meant to be. And I am asking God to bless all who will be part of that worship service on Sunday.
I am so grateful to my colleague who invited me to share worship with his congregation on Sunday so that a neutral pulpit could happen on such short notice. I am grateful to the churches who are considering calling me to be their minister, for making the trip to this neutral spot. I am very grateful to the members of the congregation hosting us, all members of the church where I was ordained. It will be a blessing that many who will be at Sunday’s worship have been part of my lengthy faith journey. I am also grateful to my family for their willingness to consider all the possibilities as I consider the future God has in store for us.
I ask for prayer. I ask for supportive thoughts as Sunday, 10:00 a.m rolls around. I know for sure where I will be. And I also know I’ll be needing to know that God is there too.