Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Growing Community

For those who don't know, I have an older brother who is about to become a pastor. While he was still in undergrad he met a lot of people who were also on track to become pastors. I chalked this up by and large to him going to a very small Methodist founded college and being actively involved in one of the very few student ministries available on such a small campus. But maybe that's not why he knew so many future pastors going into Seminary. A friend of mine has made me re-examine who I know that will be future pastors.

I decided I couldn't count the people I know who will be, or are now, pastors that I met only because of my brother. That gets rid of a lot of people but not all. There are two that still count that know both of us. The first is my friend Thom who worked with my brother one summer at the Young Leaders Initiative/Motown Mission. I first met Thom because of this but as it would turn out I ended up going to CMU which was where Thom was going to school and getting to know him through our Wesley Foundation.

The other example is my friend Mark who I don't remember meeting originally. Mark went to the same small school as my brother and I surely met him there when I visited. He was also at my brother's wedding. Surely I saw him there. But then Mark and I worked and lived together last summer at the Motown Mission in Detroit.

There are some coincidences above that you might have noticed. My brother went to Albion and Thom when to CMU. They were in the same year and worked together at Motown Mission. Mark went to Albion and I went to CMU. We were in the same year and worked together at Motown Mission. Oddly enough both Thom and Mark went to the same Seminary in Atlanta too. At this point the twilight zone theme song should be playing in your head.

But Thom and Mark are just the exceptions to the rule that I can't count people I know through my brother.

At CMU I met two other people called to pastoral leadership. The first person I know that is going into it is my friend Stephen who is currently studying to be a priest. Stephen lived down the hall from me my freshman year at CMU. The other is my very good friend Taylor who is still exploring a call but is driving down to visit a seminary tomorrow. Taylor lived in the room next to Stephen, slightly less down the hall from my room freshman year.

My freshman year in college, on my floor, within 4 rooms of each other (we were all on the same side of the hall) there was: a future priest, an exploring future pastor, and a current missionary. This is at a school of over 25,000 people. What are the odds of that?

So maybe my brother didn't meet so many future pastors at his school because it was so small. Maybe when God calls you find yourself with other people figuring out what that means too. I'm certainly in a community of missionaries going through that. But even when I was an undergrad I found myself around people who were searching for what their call meant. We were all at different stages of discovery, but we were all searching.

Of course this doesn't even count the people I knew before college who are looking at pastoral leadership. But you sometimes you have to limit where you look to keep your point concise.

So if you find yourself surrounded by people exploring a call to ministry, maybe you should listen and find out if you have your own call. And if you don't find yourself surrounded by people exploring their own call... Well open your ears anyway. I'm not guaranteeing anything after all.