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the sweetest sound

Being a 28 year old clergy person in the United Methodist Church, I get my fair share of age-related comments.

"You seem so young." "You could be my grandchild."

And usually I don't mind. I know there will be a day I'll miss being 28.

But as my first year of my first appointment comes to a close, there is one thing I mind. I wish my friends in their older years knew how much I want to be in ministry with them. I don't want to do ministry for them. I want to be inspired by the dreams and faith of my friends, even as they see their friends die. I want to serve our community alongside my friends, even as they feel their bodies falling apart. I want to know this journey with God has been worth it, even as they lose their independence.

Yes, there's much I don't know about what it feels like to grow old. I don't know the feelings and life experiences of this season of life. I hope I get to live long enough to learn.

I read Paul's words in Philippians last week: "As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do." I love that! I think of my three living grandparents and all they do in service to others and I'm inspired. Here's my grandpa in action.

This morning I heard the sweetest sound. We had a time of prayer to recommit ourselves to this journey with God and all the sudden I heard the sounds of a person and their walker coming to the altar area. Most beautiful sound I've heard in a while.

Thank you to my friends who inspire me with their faith, love and compassion. I hear of the things you do in our community and I'm proud to be one of your pastors. I look forward to even greater adventures together!


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This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

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I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

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The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

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