AiR_E014 – Young Clergy – Trip Lowery

air-logo-banner

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE EPISODE

Trip LoweryTrip Lowery is the Director of Young Adult Ministry, Discernment and Enlistment, Division of Ordained Ministry for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) for the United Methodist Church.  Trip helps Annual Conferences within the United Methodist Church help young people hear their call into ministry.  In our conversation we talk about what that work is like, some of the successes of the millions of dollars in grant money that has gone out with the Young Clergy Inititive, and also another one of his passions, Surfing for Autism.

Here are some of the links that Trip mentions in our conversation.
Explore Calling
Exploration
CALLED
Surfing for Autism

Also, here is the site for my work with the Call & Vocation Team in my conference, Is God Calling Me.  

On Monday, Oct. 2, I will have a conversation with my boss, Mark Andrews, the District Superintendent (DS) for the Metro District within the Western North Carolina Conference.  We talk about what it is like to be a DS and some of the things he has learned in his first year in that position.

Please subscribe using however you get your podcasts and please leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.  Also, go back and listen to Season 1.  One of my favorite podcasts is Episode 3 when I sit down with Amy Butler, the lead pastor at Riverside Chruch in NYC.

Advertisements

AiR_E012 – Divorce – Robin Fitzgerald

air-logo-banner

Robin FitzgeraldCLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

How do ministers handle huge events in their personal life and also still do ministry?  How do clergy work through their personal lives being on display yet still live into the calling that God has laid upon their heart?

I have the pleasure and honor of talking about these deeply personal questions and more with Robin Fitzgerald.  Robin went through a divorce a few years ago and was willing to walk through some of the lessons she has learned and how she lived through those times.  I truly hope you can hear the hope and grace that is offered in our conversation.

If you would like to share your thoughts or say thank you to Robin, you can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Please give this podcast a rating and review on Apple Podcast and feel free to share it on your own social media to help spread the word of these conversations.

In two weeks I will present a new conversation with Charlie Baber, the author, and illustrator of “The Wesley Bros,” an online comic featuring the dynamic duo of Charles and John Wesley.

Discovering and Celebrating Your Own Voice

I am turning 40 years old this month and it will also be my 15th wedding anniversary.  It is a big month.  15 years ago, on my 25th birthday, I also graduated seminary.   I’ll be 40 now, a new decade and a new box to check on forms.  I’m no longer a young clergy.  I’m, I guess what you call, middle-aged clergy?  Since I am on the downhill sprint of my second decade of ministry, I have been reflecting on my journey so far.  That is what people in middle age do, right?  We reflect on where we have come from and where we are.  It is a natural piece of adulthood.

Now you have to understand, I was dragged into this whole preaching thing.  I would much rather help with worship anywhere else than behind the pulpit on Sunday.  Speaking in front of people was and still is a fear of mine.  It is a heart pounding, sweat inducing fear.  It happens every Sunday.  I have learned though that the fear is rooted in embarrassment and lack of confidence.  I grew to know that preaching, this task, and art form, was something I could do, but it wasn’t my choice.

These past 15 years have taught me that life in ministry is all about looking past people’s expectations.  When I meet people and they find out what I do, they assume I am like the pastor they know.  I am just like their brother who is the pastor of a Free Will Baptist Church out in the country.  I’m just like that Catholic Priest who made life hell for them in Catholic School.  I must be outgoing and wanting to be the life of the party just like the previous minister of the church.  When I meet people they heap onto my shoulders the expectations of their experience with clergy.

I am a manuscript preacher and I need my notes every Sunday.  Yet, some say I should step away from the pulpit because that is what the TV preachers do.  I’m an introvert and so after two hours of fellowship at a wedding reception, I’m done.  Yet, some wonder why I would rather sit back and not work the crowd like the previous pastor.  There is a lot I don’t do like other people because this is the number one lesson I have learned over these 15 years of ministry, I can only be me.

I too had an expectation of what a great preacher looked like and it looked like those famous preachers.  Those outgoing, extroverted, extremely scholarly, and quick thinking preachers who were everything I wasn’t.  I learned that I was placing unrealistic expectations upon myself.  What I have come to realize is that I can only be me.  God’s breath resides in my soul.  Preaching isn’t my choice it is my calling.  God chose me to be a mouthpiece to the people of the world.  God called me…me.  ME!

Don’t miss interpret.  I push myself.  I attempt to grow in my preaching, leadership, and spirituality.  I am constantly looking into different ways to do things or pushing my comfort zone.  However, I have also learned that I have to do it my way.  The more I learn about how God created me, the better I have gotten on being me.

I understand my strengths and weaknesses better now then I did 15 years ago.  I know when to ask for help, when to say “I’ll take care of it,” and more importantly when to say, “No.”  I am more comfortable in who I am and who God has created me to be than I ever have before.

My wisdom to pass down to those who are 25 and are just starting a career of any kind is to get to know who you are.  Learn who and how God created you.  Don’t be afraid to be who you are but also don’t let that be an excuse to keep you where you are.  When you are honest and authentically yourself you let the light of Christ shine through you because that is the divine spark illuminating the life God has called you to.

Go and be you, the God created and inspired you.

 

This post is my article as a guest contributor on James Burrough’s website, jlburroughsiii.com.    

I Am

I am currently involved in the Institue of Preaching, which is given through Duke Divinity School.  If you are in the Western North Carolina or Flordia Conference of the United Methodist Church, I highly recommend this program.  It is eye opening and has raised my quality of preaching.

During our last session, we were asked to think about where we have come from.  We looked at a poem, “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon.  We took almost an hour to look deeply at our past and contemplate where we have come from.  We were then asked to write our own, “Where I’m From” poems.  Our pasts construct our current selves and I find great power, confidence, and the fingerprints of God’s grace when I look back at how far I have come.

I am the sweat-soaked middle-schooler
the garbler of Shakespeare
creator of giggles with my stumbles

I am fear, deep fear
a concrete tongue weighing heavy
in a shriveled mouthpiece

I am the shouter, “Bad spellers untie!”
my hand is stacked heavy and high
the call is buried, in the darkness, deep
but the coals are still red.

I am the product of Paul
Peter formed and Bruce forged
a story penned in pulpits
handprints left in Glencoe, Laboratory, and the Rougemont Charge

I am prayed over in the crypt
thriver of musty sanctuaries and dam exercises
the receiver of gracious, wrinkled smiles

I am a child, bowing before the Father
giving in, succumbing, tired of the fight
willing, finally, to go because of the one who sends.

I am a sweat, soaked preacher
bestower of laser beans of grace at the perfect 45 degrees
striving, always striving, towards transparency

I am a preacher
I am a preacher
an alien phrase to a 9th-grade mind

I am here, behind the pulpit
not for me but because I am called.

AiR_E001 – Casualties (Ben Williams)

air-logo-banner

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST 

The first episode of my new podcast is now up and ready for your listening pleasure.  TodayBen Williams I talk with the Rev. Ben Williams.  Ben is the senior pastor of St. Mark’s UMC in Raleigh, NC.  He was my roommate for two years at Duke Divinity school and one of the best men at my wedding.  He is a dear friend and does amazing work at St. Mark’s.  This is a great combination to be my first guest on this inaugural episode on this new podcast.

Ben is a graduate of Wake Forrest University and Duke Divinity School.  He has been appointed to St. Mark’s UMC in Raleigh, NC for well over a decade now.  He is married to Anna and has two children Stuart and Maggie.  Besides always looking dapper, Ben enjoys sailing, soccer and cycling.  You can follow him on Facebook HERE or on Twitter HERE.

Show notes: Here are some links to some of the things Ben and I talked about.

St. Mark’s UMC Website

Royce and Jane Reynolds Program in Church Leadership

Academy of Spiritual Formation

Please subscribe to this podcast and please leave a review.  If you know someone who is on a wonderful and unique adventure in ministry, please let me know.  I am always looking for more guests for this podcast so leave a comment with your email and we can connect.  (I won’t publish those comments but use them to contact you via email)

The next episode will be with Rob Hill, the state director of the Human Rights Campaign in Mississippi.  It is a great conversation about his work in Mississippi but also how he left the ministry to live authentically as a gay man.  It will be up on September 19th.

Until then, enjoy your Adventure in Revland and peace be with you.