The view from the pulpit…

On Sunday, I preached a sermon for the first time at Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Morgantown, WV.  The gospel text for the day was Matthew 14:13-21, the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.  For those of you more interested in reading the sermon itself, it is in the post previous to the one you’re reading right now.  CLICK HERE for a direct link to that post.

BUT, I know there are just as many of you who are more interested not in the sermon itself, but moreso how it felt to deliver it.

The short answer of it all is that it felt good, and it felt “right.”

In the congregation on Sunday, we had, not only Pastor Brian, but also Chaplain James Riggs, who is a United Methodist minister serving as the chaplain at Fairmont General Hospital, and Rev. Jerry Robbins, who was the original Lutheran campus chaplain at West Virginia University (and celebrated his 50th anniversary of ordination this year).  All three were very complimentary, as were numerous parishioners.  Even one of my acolytes told me it was good, although, his metric of success seemed to be merely that it was shorter than Pastor Brian’s normally are.

There are some Pastors that really struggle with writing sermons, but I enjoy writing and speaking so it was a fairly natural transition for me.  It wasn’t at all uncomfortable, just different.

The truly interesting thing for me though was the pulpit at Saint Paul.  It is a very large, raised pulpit, similar to what you might see in a much older, colonial style church.  You have to go up about half a dozen steps from the altar to what is very literally a raised platform.  The really cool thing about this type of design is that it allows you to make clear eye contact with literally EVERYONE in the congregation, something that I didn’t take as much advantage of as I should have, but still, really cool.

A large part of my internship this summer has been putting my gifts and talents to use for ministry and seeing the (usually positive) outcomes.  In the past, I’ve had people nudge me toward seminary, or tell me I would make a good Pastor, but now, those statements carry a lot more weight, having preached my first sermon, having visited shut-ins and hospitalized parishioners, having sat in on conversations between Pastor Brian and parishioners.  Now, it’s not just people telling me that I’d be a good Pastor, but me being able to personally see that my gifts ARE useful for ministry and that “yes, you know, I really think I could do a decent job with all of this.”

Even if we didn’t get the grant from Project Connect, I was planning on asking to shadow Pastor Brian for a week or two over the summer.  I think anyone who’s considering seminary and going into ministry should take the opportunity to work with a Pastor and truly get the intimate feel for what all it entails.  It doesn’t have to be in the formal context of an internship like mine, I think even just a week or two of shadowing can have a major impact in understanding and getting a better feel for your sense of call.

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Posted on August 3, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Kinda disagree with your comment: “It doesn’t have to be in the formal context of an internship like mine, I think even just a week or two of shadowing can have a major impact in understanding and getting a better feel for your sense of call.”

    It’s possible to have a couple of weeks of calm church life, but you got to experience more because of the extended Project Connect period. Also – although Pr. B. is of course very organized and on point 🙂 – the organization of the program should help other interns and supervising pastors benefit from like experiences. Of course, should you continue this path and enter seminary, you will have a more intense immersion experience.

    Thank you for your humor and hard work at St. Paul this summer!! – Debby

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