(This is my post from last night... I don't have internet access in my room, so I post when I can.)
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think that if you were my husband you would disagree. He called me this afternoon to see how my flight was, and I blew him off to talk to someone who had great questions about GCSRW. Telling him I’d call him *right back,* I bid him a good afternoon. Now, it is 11:09 (in St. Louis). Finally calling him back, he answers in a groggy tone. CRAP. I forgot about the time difference. I’ve just disturbed his slumber. But I have so much I want to tell him about today.
I want to tell him that Mark Miller sang one of our favorite songs. “All Are Welcome” has become an instant favorite not only at the church I serve (North Broadway United Methodist Church, a Reconciling Congregation), but also a favorite in our household. I took a video of Mark and the singers performing the chorus and attempted to send it to Garrett, and the video was too large…
I also wanted to tell him that I ran into Andrew, one of the members of my small group in 2007 (who also bought our washer/dryer before we moved). Garrett got to meet him and his fiancé, hear about their journey of faith, and the four of us shared what it was like to be married and in ministry. I tried to text Garrett, but in the lower level of the hotel, I couldn’t get enough signal to send.
I want to share how a woman in my small group has had deep conversations with her husband about the meaning of baptism, and how a man has shared about how he and his wife have had conversations about baptism, children, and in-laws. Another small group member orders her pizza the same way my husband does. I didn’t want to ruin the sacred moments in our small group to reach for my cell phone to text him. I value the sharing that happened and didn’t want to be the one to take us out of the mindset and soul-state that God had called us into.
So many incredible things are already happening at Exploration. I shared with someone today how this is my third Exploration (Florida as a participant, Texas as a recruiter/small group leader, St. Louis as a recruiter/blogger/tweeter/small group leader/agency representative), and how this event holds deep meaning for me. She then said, “I can see how this event has deep meaning for the Church.”
Rev. Hamilton spoke of his hope that of the 600(ish) gathered in the hall for worship, 300 would be called to ordained ministry. He then went on to share that each United Methodist pastor will serve approximately 8 churches (Does my two-point charge count as two? That means I am at three now… see honey, only 5 more churches… 5 more moves… that doesn’t sound too awfully, right?). If the math is correct, that means the ministry of those gathered will touch around 2,400 churches. Do you feel as though that is enough churches to change the trajectory of the United Methodist Church? Rev. Hamilton thinks so. I do, too.
We have each been called to this place not to discern if we are called to ministry, but to discern what our ministry will look like. Each of us was invited to remember our baptism, a calling in and of itself, and dream God-sized dreams for our ministries. Blessings on your dreaming!