My name is Eileen Campbell-Reed, and I’m the founder and host of Three Minute Ministry Mentor. This first Sunday in Advent is a big day. Twelve years ago on this day, I launched this blog. It was originally called “Keeper of the Fire,” and I posted twice a week throughout my early years of blogging. Here is the very first Advent post on November 28, 2009: “Be Present to This Moment.”
My blog is now home to more than 600 posts. It is a pretty deep well of stories, original and shared poetry, prayers and spiritual practices, photos, and writing strategies. It also features many guest blogs and interviews with pastors, professors and ministry leaders.
Three years ago on this day I launched Three Minute Ministry Mentor (3MMM). So it’s a good time to remember and share with you what we do, why we do this, and what it is we hope to accomplish with 3MMM.
Launching Season One
In the summer 2018 many things came together. And I believed I was ready to launch Three MInute Ministry Mentor. I wanted to share the findings of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project in an accessible and interesting way. It was important to show — not just tell people — about the practice of ministry. I could see the world moving to visual and narrative story telling. So I wanted to share both information and inspiration in a weekly three minute video.
Sitting in my room on a rainy day at the beach with my family, I wanted to test out my readiness. So I made a list from A to Z two times in my journal. On those two pages, I quickly generated a list of 50+ topics from more than a decade of research. Those topics became the core of Season One and the 50 chapters of Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of Ministry to Life.
After launching the State of Clergywomen in the U.S. Report in October of 2018, I began filming episodes of 3MMM Season One with Adelicia Company. Over that first year, Ben Saunders and Kyle Jonas urged me to script each new episode. The people in the LPI study were giving permission to share their stories, and I was finding many willing partners and sponsors.
Every week’s episode starts with a core topic or juicy idea. Then we engage a story to unpack that idea. Stories come from LPI study participants, my own learning and teaching, and many other interesting sources. In each video I also offer a resource (book, website, ritual) for going deeper into the topic. And I always leave you with a question for reflection.
Index: Season One
By the end of Season One of 3MMM I had 50 videos/podcasts and 50 blogs to support them. I had the corpus of a book. And to go with that, I also had a good relationship with Fortress editor, Scott Tunseth. He was ready to see the first season of 3MMM be expanded into a book. So was I!
You can explore the topics of Season One with this quick-reference index. The index will also link you to all 50 videos and podcasts. Please enjoy and share. The topics for learning ministry in practice are universal and timeless.
Improvising in Season Two
I had the most wonderful, sometimes stressful, occasionally overwhelming, time creating the weekly episodes in 2019. Every week I released resources for seminarians and new ministers. And with the second year, I wanted to expand the conversations. In Season One they had been between me and individual ministers or ministry peer groups. Whoever was following along.
Every week in Season One I introduced a resource for going deeper. Now I wanted to bring in more colleagues and pastors, mentors and professors, activists and ministers who could expand the dialogue. I wanted to talk with wise people who would give us more ideas, more food for thought, and more questions for reflection.
Things were going along swimmingly in January and February of 2020. I was sharing brief weekly conversations with Eric Barreto and Danielle Tumminio Hansen. And then the pandemic hit, a tornado hit Nashville, and lockdown changed everything. Everywhere. For everyone. Ministry was a whole new ballgame.
Interviews we already had in the can were not all usable because of some technical challenges. And the interviews were planned needed to be moved to Zoom or be delayed. Like the whole world we were pivoting, improvising, and innovating.
We wanted to continue to support ministers and their work. So we reached out to pastors and religious leaders on the front lines. We had conversations about grief, and self-care, and changing rituals, and anti-racism, and advocacy and justice. These were themes we had already addressed. Yet the world was different and the demands were unrelenting.
We invited more guest blogs, and we expanded the “How to Survive” series. I finished the Pastoral Imagination book and ended the year strong with new funding for the LPI Project. We were excited to continue interviewing pastors and ministers in the LPI study. So much still to learn!
Index: Season Two
You can find a full list of topics and conversations for Season Two in this handy index. And you can read a review of Season Two here:
Expanding Conversations in Season Three
In Season Three we had a big project! We needed to launch my new book. The pandemic was still raging and vaccines were still in the future at the start of Season Three. So we decided to take a different approach and to focus on author interviews and features.
We continued building on the complex practice of ministry and how one learns it and embodies it across time. And we invited authors, ministers, spiritual directors, and professors to answer our interview questions. We wanted them to tell us about their own learning in practice. Sometimes that practice is teaching or activism. Other times it is mentoring or ministry.
You can peruse the episodes of Season Three here. A full index will be coming soon.
Through all three seasons, the goal has remained the same: to inform and inspire your practice of ministry. Learning a complex practice like ministry is a little like riding a bike. And even when you get pretty good at it, there’s still a lot to learn. And many new places to go. With new situations to encounter, and new challenges to meet, learning in practice can take a lifetime. No one should have to do this learning alone. In fact it doesn’t even work that way. So it’s my delight to continue onward into Season Four (January 2022), which will bring you more conversations, interviews, and expanding our understanding of learning and practice. Please stay with us and invite your friends to come along!
In the next four weeks we will be sharing Advent posts from the vault. We’ll also pose a question for your reflection. Please make room for yourselves to breathe this season, friends. And sit in silence and prayer as often as you can.
— Three Minute Ministry Mentor (@3MinuteMin) November 28, 2021
Did you join us for the Pastoral Imagination event with Union @ Home? Thank you!
Missed it? Want to check it out again? The video is now available.