Bright Future

Bright Future July 31, 2006

I don’t know when the shift happened. It seems like just yesterday that I was the intern.

Now I HAVE interns.

How very strange.

In my two summers of supervising pastoral interns for field study experience in ministry I have had the incredible good fortune (blessing of the divine, that is) to work with young ministers who are not just good but truly wonderful–in both cases women who are certainly called to pastoral ministry, have met rigorous academic challenges, have been courageous enough to take on a calling most folks thought ridiculous if not highly unpractical and who were willing to work.

Hard.

Yesterday we said goodbye to Leah Grundset, who worked doggedly all summer to meet the requirements set out by Truett Seminary, to meet and surpass my expectations and to work to know and bless this congregation with her ministry.

That’s a lot to accomplish in 12 weeks but, as Elizabeth Evans did last summer, Leah rose to the occasion with grace and competence.

I hate to say goodbye, but it seemed the appropriate time to just sit back and marvel at the gifts that these young and talented folk share so freely with us.

Requirements for Leah’s experience this summer included participating in almost every conceivable pastoral experience: preaching, teaching Bible Study, making pastoral calls, planning worship, organizing ministry events, helping perform a funeral, dealing with sticky interpersonal situations, setting boundaries, attending committee meetings, making sure there’s enough food for potlucks . . . .

Without exception Leah sailed through every challenge and endeared herself to this community of faith.

The really awful part about sharing ministry with such gifted young ministers is that they inevitably have to head back to finish up seminary and on to wherever God calls them.

Here’s the good news as I reflect today, though. There’s no doubt I’m sending this one off with a bright future ahead . . . for her, certainly, but most encouraging of all, for the Church of Jesus Christ . . . poised to receive such amazing gifts and graces of leadership in this young minister.

For this I can only say again and again: thanks be to God.

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