This week is Maine District Assembly for the Church of the Nazarene down in South Portland. It runs Wednesday through Saturday, and is an opportunity for all the pastors, leadership, and anyone else who has interest to gather together for a time of prayer, worship, fellowship, reports, and voting. While it is certainly not a non-stop roller coasting of excitement… it has been a really encouraging and enjoyable time together.
I’ve had the good fortune to be invited to play music with the worship team(s), and have been switching between drums and acoustic guitar as necessary. There have been some technical difficulties (my guitar was not heard through the sound system tonight) but it’s probably better that way. It has been a meaningful time for me as I have played a lot of music in different groups over the last 10+ years, but have not had the chance to play with a good group of musicians in awhile. These guys are excellent, and its just plain fun.
South Portland is also my home church, where I grew up and first discovered the love of Jesus, first discovered the joy of Christian fellowship, and first entered into Christian service. I have run into many people who have been old teachers or friends and it was really meaningful to have their support tonight as I received my first district license.
Although not an extremely huge accomplishment in and of itself, there have been some challenges along the way that have made it a time of personal and professional validation for me. To receive a district license, the only real requirement (or so I thought) was to hold a local minister’s license for one year. I first received a local license from Southwood in Kansas City, where I expected to get my district license after one year. Just after one year had passed (and before the Kansas City District Assembly) we were invited to return to Maine as an Associate Pastor. We returned, and I immediately attended an interview with a district board (credentials, maybe?) where I was informed that I would not be recommended for my district license, as Maine required a class in Nazarene Polity. Despite a four-year education at a Nazarene college, and 50% of an M. Div degree over three years at Seminary, I had never taken this particular class — so I would need to wait one more year. At the District Assembly a couple months later, I was not recognized as one of the new incoming pastors on the district, presumably for this reason. In the Fall of 2008 I completed this course at Seminary.
Which brings me to today — almost three years since I first recieved my local license, I was called up to receive my first district license. Despite some adversity, which invariably brings with it the existential questions and doubt and the opportunity to give up, I was recognized as a new Pastor on the district.
It’s been a good couple days, and we have a couple days left. I’ve “moved in” with my parents who are within walking distance of the church, leaving Julie and the kids so I don’t have to drive up late at night and drive down again the next morning. She came down this evening, and I even got to hold Oodrew for a little bit. Julie — you are so wonderful “for letting me play with the boys” (Roger Buzby’s words) and supporting me during this time. I just hope you know how much I love you, and would not be who I am without you.
One more week until our 4 year anniversary :o)