Top 5 Things I Miss about Pastoring in a Local Church:
5. Teaching. I loved teaching Sunday School and seasonal studies. I enjoyed the give and take that came with small group gatherings where people were able to respond to my teaching and forced me to think more carefully and more deeply. It was through teaching in Lamont that my gifts for teaching were affirmed and where I began to gain confidence in my desire to teach at the seminary level. However, it was also in teaching in Lamont that I realized that I sometimes made things too easy, neat, or straightforward. I learned to learn from others and my time teaching in Lamont, I believe, made me a better teacher.
4. Presiding at the Eucharist. This would be closer to # 1, except that it took me a while to really become comfortable with the liturgy of the Communion service. Once I began to feel more at home in the movements and words of the Great Thanksgiving, I was able to better sense what God had done and continued to do for us through the Eucharist and through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. I agree with Wesley that communion is the grand channel by which God delivers grace to us.
3. Christmas Eve Communion Service. Lamont did a wonderful job of preparing for Christmas Eve and had a beautiful sanctuary. I felt the peace of the Holy Spirit and the power of Christ’s coming each year during the Christmas Eve service. More people came to worship for that service than any other service of the year and I always left feeling like people had been given the opportunity to glimpse the fullness of the kingdom. It was a particularly special service because so many people’s families came home for Christmas, and more often than not my family was there too.
2. Preaching. I have not preached a sermon since my last sunday in Lamont. While some sermons took a lot more effort and energy than others, I always loved preaching. And I never ceased being amazed at how God was able to use my sermons in very different ways than I had imagined.
1. Being used by God to usher people into the Kingdom of God through the sacrament of baptism. One of my favorite mementos from my time as the pastor of Lamont United Methodist Church is the crinkled pages in my hymnal where I drops of water fell during baptisms. I can’t quite explain it, but each baptism was a holy moment for me.