Heeding the Call

A few weeks ago, our very hip, highly educated and really down-to-earth minister called me on my cell phone. Granted, we no longer have a land-line so my cell phone is my only phone but still, it was a calling.

He called because, though we’ve only belonged to his robust and growing church for a few short years, he wanted me to consider being on the Board of Deacons. I was simultaneously flattered and  flummoxed. Immediately, I riddled myself with questions:

  • What is a Deacon?
  • What does it mean to serve on the Diaconate?
  • Don’t you have to be a model Christian to serve?
  • Is it OK if you still pledge allegiance to a different denomination?
  • Did he have the wrong number?

In the most simple terms, a Deacon is an extension of a church’s ministry. Deacons are ordained church members but not clergy.

In my limited experience with and opinion of our church’s deacons, they always appear to be pillars of the church; people who really know and understand the happenings both within and around our church. People who can explain what the UCC represents, are familiar with the history of our congregation and who know a considerable number of members within it. They are often long-time members, who have served on myriad committees, have made major time and financial commitments to the church and understand how it functions and operates. I suspect a number of them probably tithe. Inotherwords, not me.

I don’t qualify in any of these categories: I haven’t served on any committees; I barely give my family the time it deserves, let alone my church; I don’t tithe; and I have very little idea how our church functions, what roles it plays in our community, the history of the UCC nor much of what happened behind stained-glass more than three-years prior.

And what would it mean to serve on the diaconate? I know duties include: pastoral care, serving communion, leading prayer groups, organizing and hosting memorial gatherings, visiting those unable to make it to church and delivering flowers to members in celebration or in mourning.

I know that deacons fill the church’s mission of serving the physical and spiritual needs of both church members and people outside of the church. But, what kind of time commitment would that require?

And as far as being a role model, I’m hardly a model Christian. Like many, I strayed from church in college, rebelled against it and turned up my nose at anything resembling conformity. Sure, there were things that I worshiped but they were wholly unorthodox and not things I’d care to blog about. It wasn’t until I was truly and thoroughly lost that I wandered back. So am I really worthy to serve?

And then there’s my allegiance. It’s faulty; I’m a cradle Episcopalian and would still be one today if we had found an Episcopal church within a ten-mile radius that resonated with us as much as our current church. As much as I love our church, still, on most Sundays, for about 75% of the service, I miss the Episcopal church. I miss the liturgy, I miss the music, I miss the polity and, OK, I admit it, I miss the sherry!

In the Episcopal church, Communion is a weekly sacrament and I looked forward to it every Sunday. It involves going up by order of  the pews, waiting in line surrounded by fellow church goers, listening to joyous music, sipping from the sherry chalice and receiving the communion host.

Communion in the UCC church, however, is a simultaneous event. Once a month, trays of cubed-bread are passed around, followed by trays of silver-thimbled grape juice. On cue, the congregation partakes of each and the affair ends with the tinkling symphony of hundreds of miniature cups being placed in wooden holders.  It sounds beautiful but is somewhat anticlimactic.

So here I sit, and all of this rambling, this analysis of thought, this digestion of “being called,” makes me feel wholly inadequate, terrifically ill-prepared and downright unenlightened.

There are sure to be many trials ahead, frequent bumps in the road, days–nay weeks–of feeling overwhelmed. No doubt I’ll often question why I was called in the first place but isn’t that really what being a believer is all about? It’s about doubting, questioning, seeking and heeding.

I answered my phone, it’s time to heed the call.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Caitlin
    Apr 08, 2011 @ 09:23:18

    Remember that even Mother Theresa had doubts. No one is perfect, and a real church needs real leaders who question and admit it! It will likely be a big time commitment; at least you’re almost done with governors!
    Excited that you said yes. It sounds as if the job is a lot about building community. You’re fantastic at that.


    • growingmuses
      Apr 10, 2011 @ 23:09:39

      I wholly attribute my involvement with the Congregational church to you. I didn’t even know what it was before you talked about it back in our DC days. Wish you were up here to know this church with me, I think you’d dig it.Thanks for your supportive comments.


  2. slightlywonky
    Apr 08, 2011 @ 16:42:17

    This role at the church does sound mostly about connecting with people…something that you ARE well qualified to do. You will create a very welcoming environment there, and I’m sure this is why you were asked! Congratulations!


  3. Karyn @ kloppenmum
    Apr 10, 2011 @ 04:39:18

    Congratulations. I think that the very fact that you are questioning the role means that you carry something special that the minister recognised. He wouldn’t have asked if he didn’t think you could do it.


  4. Rachel
    Apr 13, 2011 @ 00:16:26

    That is very exciting! I totally understand feeling unworthy, and I think anyone who goes into serving God has those feelings of inadequacy. That’s because we are unworthy on our own, but through our redemption in Christ, we are made worthy. It does take some reflection and prayer in trying to recognize a call from God. I believe if it’s a true calling, then God gives you an excitement for it, even if you’re not even sure you want to do it! If you feel more of a dread and obligation, then it may not be a real calling. It sounds like you’re excited about serving in this role though, so that’s a good sign! And it’s amazing how much growth (meaning it won’t always be easy, and there will be times you want to quit) you experience when committing to something the Lord has called you to do. Take a look at Ephesians Ch. 4. It’s a great passage and might be helpful or encouraging as you move forward in this. I definitely agree with the other comments that you are great at building community and connecting with people. Can’t wait to hear more about it!


    • growingmuses
      Apr 20, 2011 @ 22:19:08

      I really appreciate your sound advice. I’m really excited about it but it is overwhelming, suddenly I’ve gone from being a regular church attendee and enthusiastic member of the congregation to an over-active, daily church goer. Tonight, as I left for a Maundy Thursday service rehearsal, Ella asked why I had to go BACK to church (I started out the morning there too, both kids in tow). She said: “Mom, I feel like you spend more time at church these days than at home.” Yikes! Guess there are worse places I could be spending my time. I’ll definitely do a you’ve suggested, in fact, I’m off to read Ephesians right now!


  5. Jennifer Burden
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 10:54:46

    So interesting, Kyla! I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

    Jen 🙂


  6. Trackback: FRIDAY QUESTION: What are your religious views and are they a part of your life? « World Moms Blog
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