I’m in the simmering process right now. I feel it. It’s that time when all the vegetables, garlic, and herbs have been added, and now I’m sitting on the fire, bubbling, but I have no idea what’s going to become of the recipe.
I remember this feeling, when I was in Louisiana, meeting with a group of other clergy, and I was aching in a strange way. I confided to my colleagues, “I want to reach out to people like me. People in their twenties and thirties.”
One of my fellow pastors laughed heartily at that news, “Wake up, Carol. You joined the Presbyterian Church. The name of our denomination means â€˜old people.'”
But I kept thinking about it. I had just read Soul Tsunami, and I had all of these ideas, I was excited. I really wanted to be in a church with young adults. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my congregation. Absolutely. But I was sensing a calling to something else.
I applied for several new church developments. I often hear that NCD pastors are difficult to find, and I respond, “Really??” because I always wanted to start a church, and have never been able to even get an interview. I’m qualified. I’ve overseen new church starts, I took a ton of church planting classes in my undergrad studies. I’ve always served growing churches. But no dice.
One time, I almost got an interview. And then I got an email back, saying, “I’m sorry Carol. There are a lot of people from S— church on the committee. You know how denominational politics are.” The upshot…I was too progressive. That usually seems to be the case. I know the labels are tired, but if I can use them to over-generalize once again…conservatives are much better at planting churches than progressives.
I kept reaching out for younger members within my congregation. I kept reading about it. I kept thinking about what was wrong, what was right, and what I wished it would be. I kept listening to their comments and compliments, figuring out what attracted them and alienated them. Now, I’m serving a church where about half the congregation is under the age of forty. It’s a wonderful intergenerational mixture. And all of that stewing and working became Tribal Church.
The book’s at the printer right now. Which is exciting. But, still, something’s bubbling up again, and don’t know what the stew will end up looking like. I need to make some decisions soon about a doctorate, about more consulting work, about the next book. But right now I’m just simmering. Listening for direction.
I wished it all worked like those Mapquest instructions. I wish I could always begin my days, knowing exactly where I was going. I know I’m heading in the right general direction. But I just wish I knew the exact roads to take.