By the time I left high school, I had a sense of commitment to ministry in the church. I entered undergraduate school with the intent of becoming a full-fledged, guitar-slinging, lock-in loving, always-young-at-heart youth minister in a congregation that would most likely be suburban. I had, and still have, a great deal of respect for the professional youth worker and felt it was necessary to have committed, well-trained youth ministers guiding the faith development of the youth of the church.
It is the ability of this work to equip and empower members of the community to identify and employ their experiences, passions, and faith in meaningful ways that make a difference in our world.
I struggled for a long time to figure out where I fit in that process. I tried to listen closely to what others were saying, both about their sense of where I fit, as well as their self-understanding of their own calls. I sat with different options--becoming a pastor, pursuing diaconal ministry, leaving the church all together. While God did not provide me with a lightening bolt, it became increasingly clear that my passion was ignited when I considered what it would look like to work within the church to help us all learn how to act faithfully in the world in effective ways to confront oppression and injustice and work toward the goal of all living in wholeness of creation.
I currently serve at Wartburg College as the Program Associate for the Discovering and Claiming Our Callings Initiative. My role here is to provide space and tools for conversations around the concept of vocation to take place. In this work, I have the opportunity to work with incredible students and ask meaningful questions. I see my role not only as facilitating discussion, but as facilitating opportunities for students to connect what they believe with the needs of the community.
The best moments in my work are when, in planning events and campaigns with students, one will turn to me and say something like, "I'm involved in a lot of different things here, but have been looking for that one thing that I'm passionate about and that will make a difference. I think this is it!" It is this element that makes my job diaconal. It is the ability of this work to equip and empower members of the community to identify and employ their experiences, passions, and faith in meaningful ways that make a difference in our world.