Saturday, April 05, 2014

June 2012... The start of My Journey toward Ordination in the Presbyterian Church USA

Today, I went into my blog and realized that much has happened since I have taken my job as an Office Manager at Buffalo Presbyterian Church.

So, I thought I would catch up the blog on my journey toward Ordination and I am starting with an article I wrote when I first came to the church.   This was first published in our newsletter from June/July 2012... which can be found here: Buffalo Presbyterian Church Newsletter


Have you ever just had that urging that your life was going to be changing… in a good way but that God was leading you toward an altogether different course?  This was my spring. Granted, my son just graduated high school and I knew that would bring family changes… but I also felt that my life would be changing…to the point where I knew I needed to give up some of my volunteer commitments.

Specifically, I needed to give up my role with the Montrose Suzuki Strings (where I had been serving as head of finance and administration for the past 4 years) So, with the urging that I would be moving on… I handed over my duties to another volunteer.

Shortly after this, the ad for the Buffalo Presbyterian Office Manager appeared in my local Drummer. With joy I went to the first interview… when I was told how many applicants we had for the position, I knew I couldn’t get my hopes up (I had been down this road many, many times in the past few
years and the positions were just not the right fit).

I have been pursuing a ministerial career with the United Methodist Church but have been hesitant because it will be several years before I will have a placement and I need to have some income during this process. The Minnesota United Methodist Annual Conference was also held at the end of May. This year I went and served as a page. During their ordination service there, they asked for anyone who was feeling a call to ministry to come up for prayer. I answered that call…

I also answered an email while I was there.. One from the personnel committee from Buffalo Presbyterian Church looking for references… again, I didn’t want to get too excited.. I have been down this path before.

The hours at BPC would be perfect for me with my kids in school and I could have income while I was going through the steps for the UMC to become a pastor for them… the position would truly be a ‘God-thing’.

Then I answered another from the personnel committee saying that they wanted to extend an offer to me for the position of office manager.

So, I am entering into a new season.. One where God is calling me into ministry as Office Manager at BPC thereby allowing me to pursue UMC licensing without having to worry about income.

As part of the interview process, I was asked if I were to look back in 3 years later of my time at BPC, what would my hopes for that be… I replied that I hoped that this would be a time of spiritual
growth for me…

I am looking forward to sharing this season with all of you here at BPC… thank-you for giving me this opportunity to serve your congregation.

Blessings In Christ ~ Lisa

From The New Times, a publication of  Buffalo Presbyterian Church, June/July 2012

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Faith Through Theater

I have been thinking about Genesius of Rome lately. He was a comedic actor who was killed because he believed in Christ. But it wasn’t as though he started his acting career as a Christian. Actually, he researched and lived in a Christian community in order to perform a role mocking Christianity accurately. Little did he know that during that process the Holy Spirit would work in him to bring him to a faith and belief in Jesus Christ. It was because of his faith that he was killed.

I am much like Genesius in that I did not have a faith in Christ when I joined a local mainline church. I didn’t profess a belief in Christ, but I did believe in God. As I got more involved with the church, I met people with a profound belief in Christ working in their lives. Since I had joined worship team (because I had a passion for theater), I decided that it would be great to partner with Christ to become a better performer for the church. Like Genesius, I didn’t expect that this ‘partnership’ would spur me onto becoming a devoted follower of Christ.

Here is the part of this post that I am supposed to tie it all together... but that story is still being written. All I know is passion for theater still burns brightly... along with a deep faith in Christ. Just like Genesius I was transformed by Christ through theater... and for today that brings me peace.

For more on Genesius...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ministry like that Theater Stuff

It was just past Y2K, when I attended service at my church. It was the 'contemporary' service which had music that wasn't in the hymnal and was lead by a woman who was an ordained Deacon in the church. She did the preaching that morning as well as lead the music during the worship time and I had an overwhelming feeling that I could be doing what she was doing that morning. Shortly after that, she was moving on from that position and they were looking for people to lead the contemporary worship service on a team. My parents encouraged me to join worship team because 'it's like that theater stuff you did in high school.' So my journey into ministry began.

Here I am 11 years later and I still don't feel that I am doing what I saw that Deacon doing back in that church. I am trying to find a ministry where I can integrate my love of theater with learning about God. I think that is my calling... portraying Christianity in a way that truly touches people.

A friend of mine recently said that 'Good theater makes people think'... Good ministry also should make people think. Somehow couldn't the two work hand in hand?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Living in the Moment

On May 17th just before 5:00 PM... my life stood still. I was in involved in a rollover car accident where my car was hit by a runaway trailer. A complete accident but by all accounts we were extremely lucky to be alive.

So, for the past couple of months I have been in recovery... and slowly I am physically returning to a pre-accident state. But I have noticed a distinct difference in my spiritual journey since the accident.

At the moment of the accident... I prayed... I prayed wondering if this was the end of my days... I prayed to make some sense of it all... and from this prayer I had a sudden peace that none of the 'debates' that occur in the church matter. They are created by humans to keep people in an us vs. them mentality. Our differences in the Christian church really don't matter... in the end God loves all of us and we are asked to love God in return. It's simple really... Love God and Love Each Other...

I have a better sense of clarity of where my passion lies. In seminary they said over and over again that God will call you into your passion. For me, that passion is theater... and know that that is what I am called to be doing. For the first time in a long time I feel that I am EXACTLY where I have been called to be... now if I could only discover how to make a living at it.

I also have a sense that I need to be living in the moment... the past is a memory and the future hasn't been written. But there is life to be lived right now... and you need to be living in your passion.

So these are the lessons from my accident... and I hope that they may help you as well:
  • Church differences really don't matter to God... mostly created by people
  • God want us to Love God and Each Other
  • Live for your passion
  • Live in the moment

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Journey to a New Ministry

Matthew 28:18-20 (English Standard Version)

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

So, I have been in ministry transition for awhile. I am still seeking where God is calling me to serve... and I wonder where I am going to be going next. In other words, I wonder where God is sending me.

Could it be to a new church where I would serve on pastoral staff?

Could it be to a different sort of ministry that I have yet to discover?

Could it be in the public schools where I am already serving as a substitute teacher?

Could it be in the Community Theatre setting where my love for the stage has recently been re-discovered?

Could it be a combination of some of these areas... or is there something completely different in store for me?

I don't know where I am heading from here, but I do know that God is with me... no matter where I go or what I do... 'until the end of the age.'

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Judging Others

Luke 37-38 (English Standard Version)
"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.

Have you ever felt that when it comes to church and religion that you just don't fit in anywhere? I have felt that for a long time... almost since I first became a Christian... and all because people have judged my religious beliefs without really getting to know me any my true thoughts on the subject.

My first church experience was in a mainline church. I was welcomed and invited to participate, but I felt like an outsider... on the fringe so to speak. I had an experience while I was there where I began to have an 'indwelling of the Holy Spirit' in my life. This spiritual awakening was looked at with suspicion in the mainline church and students at the Mainline Seminary I attended. I was told by other students that I was naive and backwards and didn't understand the teachings of Christ. I went home night after night crying that they were being so hurtful. After speaking with my professor, I moved onto an Evangelical Seminary.

Now at the new Evangelical Seminary, I still encountered judgment, but for different reasons. Here there were students who spoke out against me going into ministry because I was a woman. Since my graduation from that seminary, I have been seeking a position in Evangelical denominations that have not formed much fruit.

The icing on the cake came this week. I had applied for a position at an evangelical church this week. I got an email back inferring that I 'might not agree with all their positions' including immersion baptism. The ironic thing is that I have been baptized by immersion in a church in the same denomination that they are a part of. Again, they were judging me without knowing anything about me. Needless to say, that position was not a fit.

I have been judged by both mainline and evangelical church systems. All I want to do is follow Christ. I know that we are not supposed to be judging each other on our walks. The only one who can truly judge a person's walk is Christ. I am working on forgiving those along my path who have judged me unfairly and I am also working on not judging those in my path. Even in the New Testament, we see how the Jewish followers of Christ struggled to get along with the new gentile converts to the religion. I pray that we come to a point in time where we no longer judge and can accept our differences.

Monday, April 04, 2011

In the Name of Love

Early evening, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

...In the name of love
What more in the name of love


I remember when this song came out in the 1980's. I remember singing it and thinking how good it was to be living in this time where we had come so far. In my life, I had been raised truly believing that all people were truly equal. No matter your religion, gender or social status we were all equal. I could be whatever I wanted to be! What a wonderful world!

Galatians 3:28 (New International Version, ©2011)

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

43 years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated for his participation in the Civil Rights movement. He was a pastor who used non-violent confrontation to change the social status of race relations in the southern United States.

Today, I wonder how far we actually have come... and is there more to come?

As we pause for a moment to remember MLK and his life, I urge you to look at our lives today. Are we living a life that truly allows our brothers and sisters the freedom in Christ that is talked about? Or are our actions and words still oppressive to certain groups?

In the name of Love...

what more can we do?