Yesterday I was ordained as a Deacon at my PCUSA church, Idlewild. I got the call from the nominating committee at the end of summer, and while I was completely flattered to be chosen, I was really close to turning down the offer. Our deacons and elders serve 3-year terms and I just felt like the next 3 years are complete unknowns for our family. Will we have another child in that time? Will we move (either in Memphis or out)? Will I go back to school?
But then I thought about it more and realized the rest of my life is basically an unknown. While the next three years might bring another baby (and newborn madness) into my life, the three after that might bring the weekend madness of having busy young kids. It felt like God gave me this feeling of indecision to sort of remind me who's in control (answer: not me).
The whole process leading up to the ordination has been really fun. In November and December after church we had "training" sessions with all the new deacons and elders. And then this past weekend we had a retreat with a Friday night and all-day Saturday session. The retreat was really great as we had the president of Columbia Theological Seminary as our keynote speaker both days; he talked about ways the church is dramatically changing (because of changes in our World) and what it might look like moving forward. One interesting statistic he gave us was about children becoming adult church-members: of kids who were raised in the church from birth through 12th grade ("raised in" defined as attended services at least twice a month), only 45% of them will attend church as adults. A pretty sad statistic, if you ask me, and one that paints a dramatically different picture of the church in, say, 50 years.
Anyway, through all these sessions, it's been wonderful to get to know all the other deacons and elders. I'm genuinely excited about the next 3 years! (And as an added bonus, apparently the diaconate meetings are pretty strict about not going past the time they are supposed to let out [which was Jonathan's biggest complaint during his 3 year term, as he sometimes didn't get home from meetings until 4pm!]) The whole month of January I've been ushering at church, as well, (which is required of deacons for at least two months a year); it's been really fun to go behind the scenes of what's happening at every Sunday during the service.
All in all, good stuff! I'm excited to serve my church in this new way.