We read “His mercies are NEW every morning.” We hear “You learn something NEW every day.” We know He is doing a NEW thing and right now it is springing forth! NEW. Everything is made NEW! Today is a NEW day! We want NEW clothes, a NEW car, a NEW house, a NEW job! We…
— Read on notesfromthevicarage.com/2020/04/21/the-trouble-with-new/
I had this thought when I started “Notes From the Vicarage” that somehow we as a family were going to come to this year with all its craziness, all its transition, all its busyness and hullabaloo and still somehow we were going to be able to lay down all of that in an orderly and succinct fashion. I pictured our story at the Vicarage laying down in nice neat lines or perhaps even a beautifully woven tapestry, the design of which would be easily discernible by even the untrained eye. I saw it like this…
Instead what has happened feels more like this…
I am always talking to Pastor Dan (my lead pastor) about the prophetic threads flowing through our church. I somehow thought that “Notes From the Vicarage” would help me to see the order in the chaos of all the threads. I do believe it will still do that for me. Right now, though, all it is doing is showing me more threads. those threads have always been there, I just wasn’t seeing them before I started writing.
There are: threads of ministry, threads of personal health, threads of artistry, threads of aging, threads of family and family change, threads of mid life, threads of friendships growing and waning, threads of goodness, threads of evil and so many others which I have barely even touched on yet. This blog has helped me to see all those threads from new angles. I still cannot see that pattern they make, maybe I never will, maybe I am not supposed to.
I was talking to God about all these threads the other day and asking Him to help me understand them. I was striving so hard for understanding and then God came and told me to stop looking at the threads and to start looking at Him.
He said, “Son the nature of prophecy is not in looking at the world and trying to understand it. The nature of prophecy is in looking at God and allowing Him to explain what He wants you to know of the world.”
I still see all those threads. I’m just not looking at them as much anymore. At least that is what I am working at.
It strikes me that I never explained why the Vicarage now has three ministers living in it. Perhaps some of you have asked the obvious question, “If Brenda J. Lillie is a missionary to The Netherlands why is she living at The Vicarage in the good Ole U.S. of A.?”
Brenda is a faith missionary. Which means she is a missionary who is responsible to raise her own funds from individuals and churches to help her do her work of missions. The process of gathering partners is called “itineration”.
In our denomination…
…missionaries serve in four year terms. That is three or four years on the field (depending on the stage of their work)and then 1 year back in the U.S. to meet with their partnering churches to raise funds for new missions projects, or to make up for money lost due to attrition (churches or individuals not being able to continue their commitments) and cost of living increase.
Brenda spent the last three years in Zaandam, North Holland, The Netherlands building Stagelife Theater in partnership with Icthus Church in that city.
Now she is home connecting with partners and forging new alliances to help her plant the next phase of the ministry which is The Bridge Artist’s community.
She has been home a month. If you have been following us you know it has been a busy time. She is currently in a season we are calling the “May gauntlet.”
May is the month in our denominations when many of our regions host their Network Conferences. A conference is like a combination church service-pep- rally and stockholder’s business meeting. Brenda is traveling to several conferences this month to connect with potential partners. At each conference she sets up a table, and ministers from that region are encouraged to stop by and see what she is doing. The hope is that those ministers will set up services with Brenda and then consider supporting her. Each conference is on Brenda’s dime. She pays for travel, lodging and set up cost, but the idea is you invest to reap a benefit.
Last week she preached in Worcester MA and then drove to the Appalachian Network Conference in West Virginia. You can read about that HERE.
This week she is in Syracuse, New York attending the New York District Conference.
She is also selling photos from her home on the farm in The Netherlands as a way to raise money for the project.
If you would like to help Brenda in her ministry you can do that by going to gonetherlandsag.com
When I introduced the question “What is a minister?” I mentioned that being a minister is about more than what we do. I said ministry is about answering a call to a lifestyle. It is about who we are not just what we do.
My job is to be the assistant pastor of Cornerstone at the moment, but if tomorrow I left Cornerstone and went to work for McDonald’s I would not because of the job I held cease to be a minister. A Minister is every bit as much of my identity as my gender or my name. It is a call from God I chose to answer when I was 13. It was a mantle I took up way back then and it can no more be put down than my skin. As Paul the Apostle said….
” God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29
The truth is no matter what hat I am wearing, I am a minister. I can fight and resist the call, but that is just a denial of myself and ends only in misery. So what is a minister? It is not someone who just does ministry. A Minister is a person who because of God’s calling embodies ministry and who in obedience imparts that ministry onto others.
In Closing for now Paul said it this way, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. ” Ephesians 4:11-13