It wasn’t but a month ago that I wrote here about all the reasons I was pursuing a Doctor of Ministry at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. I wrote that this is something that has been building up inside of me for a very long time. I wrote that I had a lot going on in my head and my heart about the missional church and about having the church I serve being a foretaste of the Kingdom of God in their neighborhood…in their community. I wrote that I had come to see the world, or my little corner of it, as my parish over the twelve years I’ve been at Girdwood. And I wrote that words like “missional” and “incarnation” and “missio Dei” and “neighborhood” and “community” and “Jesus-shaped” have become a part of my vernacular and it’s what I’ve been preaching and reading and writing about for some time. I wanted to be in a place to dive deeper and to go further and to grow.
Yet, I also expressed some dismay that the program I had initially applied for, a cohort (group learning) tract called “Wesleyan Strategies for the Missional Church,” didn’t happen. I was placed in the General Tract. After years of being rather solitary in my pastoral role in Girdwood, I had really been hoping for the group learning environment, and this was not going to be that. I was passionate about that unrealized program. I was excited about it. I told everyone. I was proud.
But with the change of the program, I had some reservations. And, even though the School was bending over backwards to accommodate those of us who had wanted to be part of that missional program, I began to think that the topics I was so passionate about would not be front and center. I’m sure I would have a wonderful experience. I’m sure that I would have learned a great deal. I’m sure I would have built wonderful relationships with professors and with other clergy. However, I just couldn’t get excited about it…at least as excited as I was at the beginning. I was luke-warm and having to force myself to get pumped up.