Today was my first interview in the candidacy process. I was interviewed by a local pastor and I thought it went well… though I still need to see the paperwork he filled out on me. We talked about:
=my family: He was intrigued that my family isn’t Christian though he said that my parents weren’t that different from people in the pews.
=my sexual harassment experience in high school: He asked a lot about it, probably to see how utterly bitter I am (which I’m not). I was amazed that I could talk about it and not get utterly upset. I’m healing… slowly but surely.
=the politics in the ELCA: I think was to see how politically astute I am. I made the mistake of mentioning the Word Alone stuff and the Sexuality Study stuff. He then told me I was being too specific and asked if I was ok with the fact that the ELCA might not be around in 5 years. My response: I’ll worry about it then because it’s God’s church.
=my call to ministry: Gee… I can’t figure out why he asked me that. This question actually caught me off guard as did the question on where I see myself in ministry. I was honest and I talked about preaching, about reading Luther’s teachings, about doing mission schtuff with IV, and I assured him that I knew what I was getting into with the whole ordained ministry thing. He liked my insight on the fact that I don’t know the type of ministries I’d have in my ideal church because every church is different.
I feel OK about it though I’m amazed that my devotional life didn’t come up and that they didn’t ask about my theology.
JON PASSED HIS DRIVING TEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I called my interviewer on Tuesday and we set something up for the afternoon of the 29th. I’m half-nervous and half-excited because the process is finally starting. I also finally have my date for psych testing at Midwest: January 13-15, 2003. Psych testing should be a piece of cake after being in therapy for two years in college.
The Seminary Quandry
I just emailed the admissions dude at Luther Seminary and asked about visiting the school. I’m actually *excited* (or *exsotedci* as the CIT’s at Skylark Ranch would say) about maybe moving to Minnesota and actually having familiar businesses like Wells Fargo around. (Well… all the businesses like CVS back here will be familiar there as well.)
I got the letter from the synod today saying that I have been assigned an interviewer. Thy referrenced an information sheet that was enclosed but… it had magically disappeared from the envelope. I called the Synod Office and they apologized profusely (even though I assured them that this was a source of mirth to me) and I’ll be getting it in the mail tomorrow.
The plot thickens… and I still have to call Midwest about that psych testing.
OK… continuation of my list and the aggravation of my hands and wrist:
4.) (cont’d) My generation wants the incense, the Eucharistic Adoration, the orthodox Christian teachings, since we’re all taught that truth is relative and we want something ABSOLUTE. When I polled people last spring for a paper, the answer people gave was that they either wanted the traditional stuff or they wanted a blend of traditional and contemporary.
5.) Entertainment is not necessarily evangelism and the point of church is not what we *get* out of it. Walt Kallstad of the Community Church of Joy coined the term “entertainment evangelism” and in one of his books talked about how we need to keep people there by making it interesting. Ummm… sorry but the point of church is not entertainment — it’s worship. The point of worship is giving praise *TO* God, not getting *FROM* church. Granted, I know it’s a pain to worship when you are bored out of your minds by the sermon and the worship; but that’s something that is fixable by perhaps livening up the music (i.e. tempo and dynamics) and getting people to actually *discuss* the sermon with the pastor.
6.) You can’t just expect a contemporary service to draw people. You need to provide the fellowship opportunities. If you’re trying to draw 20somethings (and there is actually a need for that), create a Sunday School class for them.
My hands and wrists are numb from crocheting (tip: a size Q crochet hook and three strands is not good for you) so I thought I’d accelerate my path tward carpal tunnel by updating this journal.
My Candidacy Process
Pastor Morgan at the synod office called me back. As soon as they get my congregational registration (which Pastor Tom called me about on Monday) and my undergrad transcripts (i.e. three months since UCSC is processing those puppies) are in, they’ll schedule me for an interview. Oh joyous day! Callou Callais! My friend Doris has been asking me daily if I’m sure I want to go through with this. My response: yes. After receiving that response, she reminds me that I’m only gonna get through my hoops if I really want to do this. This means that I need to make that appointment for psych/career testing.
Far be it from me to be controversial, right? *readers nod heads approvingly* Yeah right. Let’s talk about why I think that the whole rush to “contemporary worship” is not the greatest of ideas.
1.) It’s hard to find quality. Face it… most worship bands out there are a few people who know a few guitar chords or think they can sing. There are some good worship bands that are composed of volunteers (I should know… I was part of one last year and in college) but a lot of times, churches go into half-heartedly and the music is half — well… you know what I mean. My thought is that whatever you (as a church) do, it should be done well. This means finding someone with musical talent that extends beyond the garage band to lead the music and recruiting some other people with musical training to be a part of it. Some churches actually pay their worship leader, which means that they can hire a professional.
2.) The message is in the music. Sorry to those contemporary composers out there but… most worship music is the “rah rah Jesus” stuff which is OK as a gathering number but… if that’s all you sing, you are missing a really important way of educating your flock. Rich Mullins has songs that have substance. (Yes, “Awesome God” has some substance — you actually have to sing the verses to get it.) If you want to do a decent worship service, you really have to search to find songs with substance — at least ones that have equal substance to those old hymns.
3.)Division is not a good thing. You tend to get people divided between the “traditional” service and the “contemporary” service. This is especially problematic when you put the contemporary service on Saturday night — you lose those people in Sunday School classes. You also have to factor in extra services which serve to lengthen Sunday morning — something that does add stress to pastors. (They actually *work* during the week — not just on Sundays.)
4.) They don’t necessarily draw young people. My generation wants the old superstitious stuff — not the new PowerPoint stuff. Most of the people who like that are old or at least middle-aged.
More tomorrow when my hands aren’t burning. Time for Letterman… and some Aleve!