Introducing Specialized Transitional Minister Pete
Getting my official wall certificate in the mail recently from the Interim Ministry Network reminded me it was time to officially update my About page to reflect what I’m doing now. Working as a chaplain at an addiction treatment center for 9 months in ’08 and ’09 was a tremendously educational two-semester phase in my life, and after that, being chaplain/caretaker at Moorecroft United Church Camp for two years was more of a jogging-on-the-spot at a beautiful corner waiting for a green light to indicate my next direction once the camp closed.
The big question was “Will I return to Preaching/Pastoring?”
Well, I have, and in a way that is simply marvel-worthy and has me in an extremely grateful state. I am now not only working as a pastor, but I am working in it from strength, not as a generalist, but as a specialist in helping congregations in transition. This allows me to rely on my observation skills, my curiosity about differences, my analytical skills, and my communication and preaching gifts and skills to their fullest, and in a setting where they are appreciated. The same questioning and more prophet-like set of skills and gifts are not necessarily desired in a congregation that is comfortable.
As the camp was being sold I reactivated a plan that had – in an earlier day – been on the far horizon for when our career trajectory was close to the questions that come with retirement age approaching. In that long term plan, the dream was to ‘go mobile’ as an interim, fill in pastor.
I applied to our denominational offices that deal with this, was interviewed, assessed and accepted, then negotiated a contract with a congregation, took the needed courses, and am now doing the work. I even took an extra course to receive the aforementioned certificate, so I could be certified to do this work in other denominations – giving me more geographic choice.
So, I’ve gone from “long term called pastor” to “Chaplain” to specialized short term pastor, and I’m loving it. The learning, the variety of experience, the questions, trends, patterns I get to examine and contemplate are a feast at God’s table.