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a new adventure begins

As of July 1, 2012, I'll be the associate pastor at St. John United Methodist Church in Anchorage, Alaska. It's been a great two years at Anchor Park and East Anchorage. I've learned a lot about ministry in the local church. It's one thing to wonder and dream from the safety of a seminary classroom. It's quite another to dive into the messiness of a faith community. It's easy to think you can change the world until you actually start trying. I've got a LONG way to go in ministry. But I'm thankful for these two churches for giving me a good start.

I'm excited to serve at St. John. I spent a couple years at this church during high school and felt my call to ministry while attending there. The St. John community is active in mission and loves to worship together. We found a rental house within walking distance of the church and I'm excited to get to know people in our neighborhood.

The other big news is that I got recommended for ordination in the Pacific Northwest Conference next month. I had an interview in Seattle last week and after an hour of tough questions and affirming feedback, they decided I'm ready to become a United Methodist pastor. I started the candidacy process 11 years ago and there were many difficult moments. But overall, it's been a very positive process. It's helped me grow in my faith and practical skills. The accountability and feedback was helpful.

We're slowing packing up our house and my office. We'll make the big move across town in mid-June. Here's to celebrating ministry in one place and preparing for what God has ahead. Blessings!

p.s. Isabella is doing great. She's 4.5 months old and starting to roll over. She's sleeping through the night and seems to enjoy day care. Love this child to pieces.


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Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

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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There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

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.

We want to be the bes…

Why I stay in the United Methodist Church

We can't ignore the numbers. The United Methodist Church is in decline. Many ask, "Why do you stay? Denominations are useless these days."

But I face that reality with overwhelming hope and excitement. I see the Holy Spirit weaving its way through our current & new leadership in ways I've only dreamed of. A couple years ago, I thought about leaving. But I decided to ask some hard questions about why we're in decline. And that journey to the heart of the United Methodist movement has lit a fire in me to see it renewed.

Why I Stay...

1. Our faith is active. We get our hands and hearts dirty in service & relationships.
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3. I see God changing hearts and lives every. single. day.
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