The Next Step- Where I am in becoming a pastor

It has been a long year of internship.  I have missed my blog and writing for the fun of it.  I have missed a lot of things- but it was a worthn while step.

My internship site was wonderful, with gracious people who let me make mistakes and taught me the entire way.  My supervisor was kind, encouraging and challenging when most appropriate.  So after a year of commuting 3 hours a day, internship is complete.

This has led to a lot of folks asking what is next, so here it is, in short version.

I am approved by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for ordained ministry.  That does not mean I am ordained though, just approved for it.  To be ordained I need a congregation to “call” me (read that as hire me).  But for that to happen, first I need to be assigned to a region and then synod.  This will happen on Sept 28th (region) and then within 10 days (synod).

Once assigned, the bishop for that synod will match my resume (also known as RLP or Rostered Leader Profile) to that of congregations looking for a pastor.  They will hand several congregations (at least, I hope several!) several RLP for them to review. When a congregation likes what they see, they will begin the process of conversation with me.  It is a lot like blind dating and matchmakers, to be honest.  The good thing  is that in the end, I choose to whom I am matched, just as they choose me.

Within that process there will be trips to see the congregation and engage, trips for them to see me preach as well as to preach for them and then lots of meetings on their part.  Finally, they will hold a congregational meeting to vote on calling me and after that, they will prepare a compensation package.  At any point, I get to say, “No, thank you, God is not calling me to this” and vice versa.  This process can take many months, so I have no idea where I am going or when.  I am asking and praying to stay in California for my children to recieve college education benefits that they only get if we stay in the state.  Either way, we will know by early October where in general I am assigned.  But we will not know the exact town until I accept a call. Since this process takes time, the very fastest possible timeframe to accept a call (if EVERY thing went right and quickly) would be early December, but that is super fast and not the average.

In the meantime, I have months to spend doing whatever I need or want.  This is important time for the spirit and discernment.  With that in mind, I have decided to complete an additional unit of Chaplain National certification (CPE) at county hospital in Los Angeles (LAC/USC).  This is good for me not only professionally, but also personally.  It involves a lot of interpersonal work to help one understand who and how they are in the world so that we can care for others in a healthy way for both caregiver and reciever.  That starts in September and ends December 1.

So this time line looks like this:

  • Sept 6: CPE starts
  • Sept 28/ Early Oct: Assignment (Fall draft)
  • Late Oct/ early November: begin conversations with possible congregations
  • December 1: complete CPE
  • continue waiting for call or discerning one before me.

To answer the other questions, Lance and the children will remain here in SFV until June 30, whereat he will retire and follow me if I am already at my first call.  The children will all be 18 and have all decided to remain in Los Angeles and the SFV area, so they will all be flying the nest in general when this happens.

And there it is… what is next.  I am done with school, done with requirements for my degree and just waiting.  I don’t mind a bit.  I like this idea and am looking forward to a more sane schedule of working only 4 days a week during CPE.  I think an awful lot of cooking, scrapbooking, knitting and quilting will be happening and that, is a very good thing.





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