Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. This month, we’ve asked members of our 2016 National Gathering planning team to share what especially excites them about this year’s conference, February 22-24 in Atlanta. We invite you to join the conversation here, on Facebook, or Twitter!
by Meghan Gage-Finn
I struggled when the National Gathering planning team was asked to submit something to the blog in response to the question, “what is saving your ministry right now?” My honest response, which I didn’t think worthy of submittal, was that I am, at times, overly consumed in the minutia of ministry, and I feel caught up in the smaller details when I want to step back more regularly to see the big picture. My heart felt heavy walking with others who are caught in dark places of grief and ongoing treatment, depression, and isolation. I sensed that I was so focused on being immersed in my ministry that I couldn’t find perspective on what might be saving it. If I were truly honest with myself, I think I was worried about pursuing the question because, what if the answer was: nothing. What if nothing creative is happening in my ministry right now? What if I am following my sense of call with faith and conviction, but my ministry is not all that unique or life-changing?
Now the planning team has been asked to share what we are excited about as the National Gathering in Atlanta approaches, and I realized having NEXT on my calendar for mid-February is energizing for me, it is life-giving, and it will draw me out of my own small world of ministry and into the lives and stories of others. It gives me perspective and reminds me of the larger community of support to which I belong. I am looking forward to reconnecting with friends and building new relationships, and having challenging conversations about creating social change in our neighborhoods as leaders in the church. I am looking forward to being reminded, through worship and learning, that I am part of something bigger.
So, I wonder if someone else at NEXT will be worrying whether or not anything creative is happening in his ministry now, or if someone else is coming seeking guidance and hope and partners along the way. I wonder if a student or new pastor feels she is alone in wrestling with issues of reconciliation and justice as a person of faith. In case there are just a few others who feel questions creeping in they are avoiding answering, I’ll be there. I look forward to hearing your story, and sharing a bit of mine.
Meghan Gage-Finn serves as Executive Associate Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis, and as one of the co-chairs of the 2016 National Gathering. As an avid triathlete and marathon runner, this has proven valuable training for both ministry and chasing after three children, age 5 and under.