Doing Ministry in Community

As many of you know, I recently moved from New Orleans, LA leaving a church I was on staff at for nearly 10 years.  I now live in San Diego (love Southern California) and am working at La Jolla Presbyterian Church.  Lots of things are different at the new church.

One huge thing is that our children/youth staff do ministry in the context of relationships.  This is new to me.  The idea isn’t, but actually doing it is a new experience.  I came from a church culture that valued community, but the staff severly lacked it with one another.  For half of those 10 years, I had an office that was separate from the main office and rarely even had contact with other staff members.  When we did connect all of the offices, we still did our own thing away from each other most of the time.  Pockets of the staff were in community with each other, but not everyone.

At La Jolla Pres, I’ve been in so much commumity with other staff members that it HURTS!  I am an extrovert when in front of a large group, but when just hanging out with people, I like to keep to myself.  I like to have my own space and love when I can get away to a coffee shop to read a book.  The idea of a silent retreat excites me.  So, all this relational stuff is a bit overwhelming but really good for me.

It is easy to be isolated when doing full-time ministry, so relationships should be a high priority for all of us.  We all know relationships are important but a lot of us neglect it.  I did for almost 10 years.  Community loosens you up a bit.  You’re not so uptight about everything and helps to see the ligher side of life.  The feeling of connection with others (other than kids/team members) is good for the soul.  We were meant to do life together with God in the picture.  Relationsihps also help to ignite creativity within.  Just being with other like minded peoples sometimes sparks ideas in your ministry that would never have happened otherwise.

So, go grab lunch with a friend today.  Have some fellow staff members over for a barbeque.  Go watch a football game with some buddies (I recommend watching the Saints).  Or have coffee with a friend you haven’t spent time with in a long time.

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