Friday, May 28, 2010

Damen Heitmann '09 Reflects on His Recent Call to Ministry

The evening before my candidacy sermon there was to be an “informal gathering” at the church. The idea was that I could meet a few folks so that when I led worship the following morning I would see some people I knew instead of an entire group of strangers. I considered this to be a good idea and consented to the whole thing. So on that Saturday, in my Super 8 hotel bathroom, I found myself looking into the mirror. I was preening my hair, brushing my teeth and making sure my clothes were properly aligned. I wanted to look formal in a casual way. I needed to be funny yet serious. What would make me seem approachably smart? How could I be solemnly silly? What is the theological reason for wearing jeans to such an event? Somewhere in the midst of the preening and grooming, sometime between checking and rechecking the zipper on my pants I realized that I was going through a familiar check-list. Rather unintentionally I was reenacting the final moments before a middle school dance.
For those who are not familiar with these rituals, let me assure you that they inevitably lead to the following series of questions. How do you dance? Will I make a fool of myself? Who will dance with me? Will I be brave enough to ask anyone to dance? These are the same questions I asked myself the night before my candidacy sermon. They are questions that sprang forth throughout my search process. And, I suspect, as graduation season draws to a close they may be the same questions you are asking yourself. 
Fortunately for me I managed to find someone to dance with as the fine folks at First United Church in Little Falls, MN have called me to serve as their pastor. However, I’ve discovered that while this does answer some of my questions and concerns it also opens and entirely new series of questions. How exactly does one do the dance of ministry? What do people expect me to do? How do I structure my day and manage my time?

As I begin my first call I realize that I don’t know what the dance will look like. Of course I have a great number of expectations but I really have no clue as to what I am getting myself into. The prospect of going to this dance, of beginning my ministry, is frighteningly enticing. It fills me with equal parts trepidation and eagerness. There is 
much I don’t know about what lies ahead, but this much I do know; I’m ready. I’m ready to begin. I’m ready to feel the music and join in the dance of ministry. 
Peace and all good,

1 comment:

  1. Trepidation and eagerness . . . yes, that is ministry. You express it well, Damen.

    jann cather weaver