The PC(USA) has a helpful job website where you can see churches seeking new pastors and pastors seeking new churches. The system works by each entity submitting information forms – ministry information forms for churches and personal information forms for pastors. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t written anything here since January, so you can probably imagine writing my personal information form has been a struggle.
I’ve been in a rut of feeling like I don’t have anything to contribute. Call it the global pandemic 18-month slump or a I-don’t-make-time-for-writing block or ultimate exhaustion or whatever you’d like. But I’ve stared at blank blog pages at least weekly since January and always end up closing the tab. Thankfully (or terrifyingly), I have an additional push to start writing again as I try to share who I am and where I feel called with new churches as my time at Second begins to wrap.
They really tried to make it easy on us. They list out core competencies and their definitions, and all you have to do is put an “x” in the top 10 boxes that describe you. There are neat charts to lay out where you have served before, how big the congregation was, and your role in your time there. The four essay questions are limited to 1500 characters, including spaces, and “simply” ask you one moment that has felt like success in ministry and one time you’ve led change. Simultaneously, 1500 characters feels way absurdly short and also out-of-my-reach huge. So just sit down at your computer and be fully and authentically yourself, while knowing your 10 core competencies are probably the secondary 10 the church you really want is looking for, and be everything to everyone so that you might (please, dear God) get a job in 9 months. Turns out that kind of pressure does not fill up your information form very quickly.
I don’t end this blog with an overwhelming since of enthusiasm or hope. I have a draft of my PIF, but it doesn’t feel right yet. I have written some words here, but I don’t know that I’ve said anything. However, I am reminded of the words I spoke to my NJ congregation every Sunday for two years, words my best friend repeats to me multiple times each week, words we all need in this seemingly never-ending stagnation of creativity, gratification, and humanity: you are loved and you are enough. No condition, no hesitation, no ifs, ands, or buts. We are loved and we are enough. Whether or not we have words on our pages or joy in our hearts or satisfactory PIFs. It’s just true. Thanks be to God.