Recognition Sunday

Among many things, ministry involves the “business” of beginnings and endings…calendars, seasons, holidays, months, rallies – all marking the march of time. We’re coming to the end of another program year, which means the mad dash to gather lists of graduates, gifts for everyone especially volunteers and teachers, and closing the chapter on another busy year. It’s bittersweet – seeing how far our high school kids have come as they approach graduation and the next stage of life, and saying a temporary goodbye. The halls are now blissfully quiet on Sunday mornings, but though I can now hear myself think for a bit…it’s a strange quiet. And, Wednesday nights are free and clear for a while, but I feel like I’m forgetting something when Wednesday comes around – I’m so used to the rhythm of the youth gatherings.

Though in the beginning I thought it strange that the church seemed to “shut down” in some ways during the summers, I now relish the chance to breathe and rest with everyone else…There’s still work to be done, but the pace is different, and it affords a space for me to seek restoration and soul-nourishment. Anyways, the ritual of closing out the year with a recognition Sunday gives us a chance to wrap things up, and to recognize the amazing work by volunteers at so many levels, but particularly for children and youth, in my case…as well as to recognize the different ways God provided this past year…

…We have a wonderful core group of volunteers for our youth ministry, which I know is a rarity in some of these small to mid-size churches, and this year we added a couple to the middle school group, and a husband of one of our leaders joined the high school group. Such a solid team! I have lovedlovedloved watching the small, but grace-filled moments of leader-youth connections this year…

…As always, we have a great group of teachers…so many stories about children expressing God’s grace and engaging it with each other and their families…I never cease to be shocked at how much I learn from a child in a 5 minute conversation. Oh, to have an ounce of their joy and enthusiasm…I wouldn’t need any caffeine any more!

…I’ve loved connecting with various women in the church through Bible studies, book club, etc. So many different walks of life, struggles, and perspectives…and yet, we find ways that we overlap in such meaningful ways. I’ve been blessed by it…

…I’ve learned a lot from my colleague in ministry – the other pastor at the church, and though he hates it when I say it – the senior minister. Our personalities and styles are so different, but I’ve gleaned so much from simply observing him be himself in ministry and comfortable in his role.

…I met with two other associate pastors in the area on regular basis for almost the last two years, and can’t imagine getting through each month without those lunches.

…Of course, I am really blessed to have a partner in life who patiently journeys with me, and makes me a better person each day.

This whole post sounds kind of bragish, and I don’t mean for it to be that way…I guess recognition Sunday, or season, is not just about our teachers and volunteers or graduates…it’s a way for me to look back, and recognize in the midst of the busy-ness of this year, I have many reasons to give God thanks…