December 23 marked one year since I was granted admission to the Divinity School at Duke. As I reflected on that this Christmas season, I was able to gather mostly good memories about my first semester of seminary. There were a few rocky moments. There were a lot of books to read and a lot of new ideas thrown at me. But what stood out to me the most, from under the heap of new theological ideas, was the amazing community that had been built in the background. My fellow first-year students helped each other navigate brand new vocabulary and pedagogical styles (see what I did there?). My study group spent many hours together in the basement of the Divinity School reviewing for finals. My church community at NewHope persistently empowered me to pursue and affirmed my call to the local church (that’s you, Bergerons!). Each Sunday served as the next week’s motivation to keep flipping pages of early church fathers. It was a semester that I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience.
If you’re not aware, it took a lot of courage for me to apply to seminary – to leave my comfortable plans and pursuit for high salaries. To say the least, it was a leap of faith and I don’t regret taking it. Just as it was a leap of faith for me to submit the application that would enable me to tackle the humanities discipline for the first time, it was yet another leap of faith for me to tell my new friends goodbye as I agreed to begin serving as the Next Generation Ministry Coordinator at Ashley Ridge Church.
Toward the end of 2016, I applied to be on the staff team at Ashley Ridge Church – a dream of mine and now a dream come true. After prayer and an attempt to rationalize this crazy, irrational step, I am ready to make this new leap of faith in order to be a part of a dream team that is creating a new face for church in Summerville, SC. We’re building a community for those who have attended church all their lives and for those who are seemingly far from Christ who have not yet been able to name the grace in their lives.
Though it may seem like I am giving a lot up, which I am fully aware of may be the case, I am confident that I have a lot to gain in its place. I am confident that a step toward God’s church will not work against me. I will continue my theological education physically and online through Duke as I focus on positioning and leading the church in ministry with next generations through students and technology.
My vocational ministry career is beginning and it’s definitely not the way I planned it (haven’t heard that one before!). I’ll continue taking steps toward God and remember that the hairy details will sort themselves out in due time. In the words of Bob Goff, “Jesus never asked anyone to play it safe. We were born to be brave” and that’s exactly what I’ll do. I’ll be brave in the unconventional ways God moves in my life and keep going where God calls me.
I have extremely high hopes for 2017, my ministerial journey, for Ashley Ridge Church, and for the Summerville community. I hope that you will join me daily in prayer and, of course, Sundays in worship. We are changing the world and I would love for you to be a part of that with us.