Today, I celebrate 3 years of full time ministry with Scott Boulevard Baptist Church.
Over the past three years, I successfully developed and led a home church ministry called “Church at Home,” I’ve managed to preach twice now without holding onto the pulpit, my voice has gotten significantly more able to project well, and I led a workshop in St. Simons about Church at Home for the CBF Senior Adults retreat.
I’ve deepened relationships with my church family, and have seen some of those close relationships “end” in death, for the moment. I played one of my favorite centenarians out of this world and into the next with her favorite hymns on my violin, and I’ve had so many meaningful conversations about what it is that makes people survive the things they’ve been through.
I was accepted to a Master’s program in Aging and Dementia studies – which is on hold for now, while I nurture a new relationship in my life, and I have added to my library many books about aging ministry, and dementia and spirituality. I’m attending a conference in a couple of weeks to present our Church at Home ministry, along with my pastor who completed a DMin, using research on SBBC’s Church at Home ministry.
For a small church, we sure are ministering a lot! I’m totally taking my Dementia book by Elisabeth MacKinlay in high hopes that I’ll get to meet her and have her sign my book.
In my three years of ministry, I have learned (the stubborn, hard way) that self care and Sabbath are not suggestions. Sabbath is a biblical mandate, and self care is mandatory in any helping profession because unless you are caring for yourself, you can’t very well care for others, now, can you?
I have learned that coffee shop writing is balm for my soul, and I need to be doing that way more often. I have learned that Sunday morning doesn’t just have to be another work day. I’ve learned to find meaning on stressful Sunday mornings by reminding myself that every Sunday, each thing I do as a participant in worship is a service to my faith family, and that feels good!
I have learned that if you let people love you, you are so much better able to love, and serve and show Christ to the world around you.
That’s what I’ve learned in my work. Personally, I have learned how to be open to new things (dating…that was so scary at first!), and exploring the world of book writing. I’m focused on non-fiction right now because I’m scared of fiction, but I’d like to think I’ll try my hand at fiction one day.
I’ve learned to not take things so personally, and to trust the good in others. I’ve learned how to monitor my blood sugar, what foods affect it in which way, and which medicines will be the best in conjunction with an aggressive diet and exercise plan. It sucks, but I’m committed to being healthy so I can be around for a long time – to give my NieceyBear plenty more opportunities to say to me “I love you, Tia;” “don’t go bye bye;” “wanna wead this book.”
Three years is a long time, housing a wealth of learning opportunities. I know I’m just a “baby” in ministry, but as time continues to fly, I’m loving it and lapping up all the good learning.
Thanks be to God!
Post Script – Reflections from The Associate to the Associate Pastor, OliverElizabethRobb: Guinea Pig Extraordinaire
That girl. She’s so crazy. Every day, she comes in and is like “hi Oliver,” and I’m like “leave me alone, I’m thinking.” But, then she looks like she needs a hug, so I let her pick me up and take me to the living room to watch Netflix with her. Gilmore Girls. SPARE ME.
She’s pretty cool, I guess. She’s toned it down on her “art” (thankfully. If I have to look at one more of her “masterpieces…”) and is now working on her book. And actually, she’s a pretty good writer. I like it when she tells me stories about her people, and I really love this new diet she is on. There’s always extra kale and spinach and carrots around, and sometimes celery!
We’ve had a good three years together. I hope the next however long we have together is just as good.
– OliverElizabeth Robb –