Yesterday I shared a wonderful hour with another young woman who is discerning for ministry. Over our bubbling lattes we discussed the depression, insecurities and frustration that can associate the process. Specifically, as young twenty-somethings, there is a tension between our idealism and what seems to be the call to inheritance.
The church says it wants to raise up strong leaders to take on the challenge of stewardship. Yet, it feels as though that stewardship is expressed as a call to close churches, to amalgamate dwindling congregations, to shut doors to buildings, and to struggle after support.
Neither of us want to do those things. At least, neither of us want those things to be the breadth of our work in ministry. I understand that sometimes these are necessary, that we must steward our resources carefully and not be weighed down into unhealthy financial and interpersonal situations. Yet, I want to care for people, and steward a community that lives and breathes, a group that grows and dies, in the cycle of life.
Yet, in our struggle I wonder if the churches who watch us as we mature and discern do not have the same struggle. I believe there is a fear, as they watch the young idealistic hopefuls affirming their faith and ideas for the future.
“Can we trust them?”
“Will they uphold our traditions?”
“Will they abandon what we built?”
“Are our communities strong enough for change?”
“Can the church withstand the future?”
We fear what we will inherit and the church fears what they will leave for us.
My hope is that, as I continue in the process there will be space for that discussion. Instead of feeling as though I am working to become the person the community needs, I hope the community will ask themselves wether these young women have the passion and vision to steward and grow, not just close and reconcile.