Welcome to Advent, the start of a new church year! I am glad for new beginnings and I am delighted to launch a new project at the opening of this particular spiritual and liturgical season of the church year. Eight years ago I launched this website, and I began a new blog. Today, I invite you to join me as we launch another new thing.
The Three Minute Ministry Mentor is beginning today. It is a weekly video series created to support you in your ministry and to offer ideas, questions and resources that provoke and inspire your ministry. The 3MMM series is rooted and grounded in the fact that ministry is a practice, which must be learned over time and with experience. And this project also has its roots in my own preparation as a minister, researcher, seminary professor and mentor. A great deal of process and many years of preparation have gone into this “new” moment.
Over the next four weeks the church will gather in worship and service to observe the season of Advent. In Advent we focus on preparation. And lean into this season of waiting, anticipation, and expectation. In a culture driven by consumption and entertainment, we are sorely tempted to jump right into to fanfare of angels singing and Christmas bells ringing in the birth of Christ. But the season of Advent urges us to focus our hearts and minds first on our longings for God’s presence in a worn and weary world.
Ministry itself, like most professions and complex practices, is dogged and driven by a rush to achieve. Yet to learn a multifaceted professional and spiritual practice such as ministry takes time, preparation, and experience. The first episode of 3MMM helps us get started thinking about ministry as a practice.
In the first week of Advent the church gathers to wait in hope. With the constant barrage of a 24-hour news cycle, Advent asks us to slow down and embrace in hope rather than give in to an easy despair. In the middle of our busy family and work lives, Advent invites us to pause and look honestly for hope rather than give ourselves over to glib optimism.
This Advent, I am inviting you who are on the journey of learning the practice of ministry – beginning, middle or nearer the end – to pause in wonder and hope, to consider your own ministry as a practice, and to enter into conversations with other ministers, peers and mentors, about your learning.
Advent is one of my favorite seasons of the church year. For the 3MMM project, this is just the start. We look forward to accompanying you on your journey of learning the practice of ministry all year long!
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