Last spring I shared with my congregation that I felt a new wind of the Spirit blowing me to complete my pastoral ministry and to invest more deeply in my writing while also remaining open to ministry in a new setting. At the time I had a new book releasing in fall, another book contract for this spring, a handful of other writing and speaking assignments, plus my blogging here and on When You Work for the Church. I knew I couldn’t continue with the church and do all of those things too, yet I wasn’t quite sure what life after pastoral ministry would look like for me.
A former youth pastor once told me that when he resigned from his church to go back to school, the thing he most looked forward to was being able to volunteer again. Everything he had done in the church had felt like part of his job, and he wanted to regain that sense of being able to give his time freely. Another pastor wondered out loud what his prayer life would look like when he was no longer paid to pray as part of his job. As I prepared to complete my ministry, I wondered, once I’ve left the church, who would be my people? and what would my writing life look like?
The last few months have been unfolding beautifully. I’ve created a separate writing space at home for my laptop, printer, files, books, and everything else related to the business side of my writing. I used to have my writing desk next to the kitchen, books waiting to be reviewed beside the piano, my boxes of published books in a corner of the bedroom. Now they can all share the same space, AND I can have a Zoom meeting without my kitchen clutter in the background.
I’ve been getting to know the people of Valley CrossWay Church where I’m serving as Resident Author–we’re still discerning this new form of ministry, but so far have decided I’ll be preaching more or less monthly, I have a Resident Author Corner in the newsletter once a month, and my husband and I will both be sharing at a Tuesday evening Prayer and Share night. I also appreciate the warm welcome from the people of Calvin Presbyterian Church–the two churches share a building, co-host monthly coffee concerts, and I was invited to give an author talk at Calvin’s “Friends and Coffee Social,” with a standing invitation to join them for coffee any time. Thank you to both churches for your generous hospitality!
My handful of speaking invitations has grown to once a month in other local churches plus weekend events like the Annual Church Gathering of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. I’m booking now for July and following, so if you’re looking for pulpit supply or a speaker for your next event, please check out my speaker’s page. I would love to hear from you!
I was able to complete the manuscript for my next book, and the title has now been confirmed as On the Way with Jesus, which is just a slight change from my working title. I’ve had a few smaller writing assignments too, and the newest news is that I am also beginning a new role as the editor of Purpose magazine. I’ve written for the magazine several times, but I never dreamed I’d become the editor! Purpose is all about inspiration for everyday, and is published by MennoMedia. You can see the press release here if you haven’t seen it yet.
If all of this sounds like too much of a honeymoon phase, well I guess it is in a way, and I’m grateful for this time. But there have definitely been some challenges too, and nights that have felt overwhelming, where I’ve asked myself, now what have I done???
A reader suggested that I write an article on “Out of the depths–thoughts for when you or a loved one feel overwhelmed by life.” I’m still pondering that and hope to publish a response soon. But for now I wanted to share this update with you as a word of encouragement.
Wherever you are in your own journey, may you walk in faith, trusting God for the next step.
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