Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Day One

I stood at the lectern on Sunday morning, looking out at the faces of my new congregation. Mostly strangers stared back at me – strangers that would come to know me first as a student pastor before anything else. I took a deep breath and said, “Good morning and welcome. My name is Melissa Yosua, and I will be serving as your new student pastor. I am a second year Masters of Divinity Student at Drew University, and I am looking forward to working with you during my time here.” Pause. “Let us rise and join together in the Call to Worship, found in your bulletin.” And we were off.

I knew from the second I stood up there that this time reading as a lay liturgist would be completely different from any other time I have ever served as such. Sure, I had read scripture and been the lay leader many times over the course of my lifetime. Yet this time, something was profoundly different. As soon as the words “student pastor” escaped my lips, I was no longer “just another lay person.” I entered into that amorphous phase of “not laity, but not yet clergy” – just like a teenager who is not a child anymore, but not yet an adult.

I see my time with them as such – a gangly and awkward teenage-type pastor, struggling to find her footing and herself in the great, big world of ministry. I imagine there will be growing pains, times that I will struggle for independence, and times that I will need to be “grounded,” so to speak – sent back to my room for reflection, contemplation, and a rerooting myself in the familiar. There will be times when I can’t wait to fly, full and confident, and situations where I will revert to a shy and insecure pastor-in-training, unsure yet wanting to try.

This past Sunday marked a significant shift in the way others perceive me, and in the way I perceive myself. I am in a new phase of life, new phase of ministry, and a new phase of the calling that God has placed upon my soul. I became “the Student Assistant Pastor” (lovingly called, the “sap”), and I am blessed to be with a congregation and a pastor who is as excited about the journey as I am. I am excited, scared, fascinated, thrilled, and nervous about the process, but together we will learn and grow into the people that God has called us to be.

9 Comments:

  1. Kristen said...
    I wish you the best of luck. I'm sure you'll do great! You'll be in my prayers
    Anonymous said...
    We are praying for all our sappy kids out there and we know by the grace of God that you will be a wonderful ambassador of Gods love.
    Rob and Melissa C.

    P.S. Sappy in a good way of course!
    Deb said...
    From one SAP to another ... but I'm actually a year behind you. :)

    Joy! in the journey...

    Deb
    Lorna said...
    wonderful post. May God bless your SAP year(s)
    mid-life rookie said...
    Pastoral identity is a great thing. Welcome aboard.
    Anonymous said...
    Thanks for your post. I too just began as a student Intern Pastor within the Lutheran church and resonated with much of what you said. Blessings on your journey.
    Sally said...
    praying that you will be both blessed and be a blessing to otheres- have a wonderful "sap" year.
    Sara said...
    My time as a Student Pastor was more formative for me than all my years of seminary. Blessings to you for what will be an experience of growth for you and God's people in that congregation!
    David said...
    Enjoy the in-between time! It's awkward to try on a new identity, but better to begin to get comfortable with your new role before you're appointed than after. You'll be fine, and if you're still willing, we'll be blessed to have you back in New England very soon, to try on the full-fledged identity.

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