Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Ministry

Bless, I never know where to begin. I guess I can say that what I know to be true is that God works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him.

ALL THINGS.

One of the many things on my mind lately has been:
How I can work full time and save money to go back to do degree, while not feeling like, by working full time, that I’ll never get back to my degree.

But it’s probably not as big of a deal as my brain makes it out to be.

Something that comes up after someone finishes studying is what they are going to do after it. I was recently very thankful to get to travel back to the USA and see my family for Mothers Day. Which landed me at my old church among people who’ve known me or known about me through my family for ages. Someone (rightfully so) inquired as to what on earth I was still doing in Australia and if I was done with studies.

First off I married an Australian.

Other than that – I’ve finished my Advanced Diploma in Ministry and I’m saving to go back and get my Bachelors of Theology. But… please don’t ask me what is after that.

So, naturally she asked me what was after and if I was planning on running a church with my studies. This has been such a weird thing for me to balance over the years because I haven’t had a very strong desire to pursue a job within ministry *gasp*. And guys, that’s weird. Why on earth did I move to the other side of the world to learn how to do ministry from some of the best and why have I had an increasing desire to never get a pay-check from a church?

Phill (my husband) and I both have a massive heart to GIVE to the Church and BUILD the Church but maybe not be employed by the church, possibly ever. I told her that one of the biggest things I’ve learned about myself in the years in Australia is that my ministry is very much hospitality – I think even if the only thing I learned in three years was how to be a better person and how to be hospitable then it was all worth it.

I think ministry looks a whole bunch like a house full of people and a meal that maybe you didn’t have all the finances to afford but you tried anyway. Sometimes ministry for me is asking a customer at work one extra question just to see if they need to talk. I think pastoring maybe looks like cinnamon rolls, coffee and a late night couch chat with someone who had the worst week and feels life might not change.

I believe that hospitality and ministry looks a whole lot like showing up to the table, saving a spot for someone and listening.

I actually just switched jobs this week from a café that I’ve been serving at for two years to sales. I needed the challenge of a new environment and something to learn but taking care of people will always be my nature. My last shift was this past Thursday and I decided to come in Friday morning to surprise one of our regulars and have coffee with him. He is around my father’s age and has two sons. We chatted about travel, jobs, learning, and books. Truthfully, I don’t know why I came in to have coffee with him, it sounded like a nice gesture to finish the week and make someone feel special. We talked about doing what you’re passionate about and with reading, writing came up… he asked if I had a book idea already down and I began to share a bit about what I’d love to write out.

I had a BIT of a panic as I realized I couldn’t tell him about what I wanted to write about without God being a part of the picture. Not knowing how he felt about religion, I disclaimed that my story has a lot to do with my faith. I got to talk about Jesus, in the most casual and relational way and I left thanking Jesus that we get to talk about Him. What a wonderful honour.

By the end of the conversation he just thanked me for showing up – I didn’t have to and he wasn’t expecting it and to that point, I wasn’t sure why I did. But G-d works ALL things together for good. Even a coffee with someone I’ve got to serve for a few months. I don’t know what will ever come of that conversation but I hope he knows that Jesus is good. I hope he knows that Jesus thought enough about him to prompt me to just a simple coffee. I hope I always listen to those promptings and understand that ministry should cost me something – even just $4.50 and some time.

I think hospitality ministry is just as valid as a preaching the word, counseling, being and elder or a theologian. I think it’s where I belong and I hope I always steward that well

I hope you understand that being ‘called to the ministry’ is just a phrase, and that everyone to some capacity is called to their ministries. Live inside of yours gracefully and remember that you’re just as potent as a minister as those who end up working for a church. Be the stay-at-home moms and dads that they next generation needs, be the business people who lead with honour, authority and truthfulness. Open your home to anyone and everyone who you love or don’t agree with, at the end of the day everyone needs a meal. Use your words kindly and never be afraid to speak to the stranger with their face down low. Play music in all areas of entertainment with excellence and creativity. Do YOUR thing with G-d and for G-d as worship and let G-d bless it and bring ALL things together for good.

He is SO good.

Isn’t She Lovely?

I feel like I haven’t written a post in this style for a long time now, but something has been on my thoughts and floating around my heart lately that I thought I might share.

I’ve been thinking about Brides… 

**First I feel like I need to make an authors note to my parents and anyone who thinks they have the gift of reading between the lines to clarify that I am currently NOT betrothed. I didn’t elope. I’m not secretly planning some ceremony and picking out dresses.

Y’all chill.

I just have a LOT of friends in the old Facebook feed who are either having children, or on the path to make that happen (engaged/married). I wish I could fully understand what it is about bridal pictures that have everyone secretly creeping through the shots. We as a culture tend find beauty at its purest form when our friends get dressed in white and commit the rest of their lives to their loves.

I personally think that the reason brides are so stunning is the time they put into the wedding day. They carefully planned every detail, from trim and the flowers, to making sure crazy Aunt Sally wasn’t sitting next to anyone she could get into trouble with at the reception.

Brides spend hours picking out their dress, how they will wear their hair, what shoes they want and testing out what makeup style is most flattering. Finally, it all comes together in the moments sweetly exchanged between families, now forever united.

The result?

“You are the most stunning bride!”

“Simply gorgeous!”

 “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”

I have a feeling that what sets apart the brides from everyone else that day is the preparation. I think brides are beautiful because they are prepared.

 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

Scripture shows us some beautiful imagery of Christ and the Church being His Bride. I feel like maybe we also have a role to play in being prepared, and in that readiness I think we carry an attractiveness that the world wants. I think G-d shows up in the everyday things and I very much see Him in the holy commitment of matrimony. Brides have to prepare themselves, but we as the church have the blessing of trusting the bridegroom to be a big part of our preparation.

 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.  And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.

Hosea 2:16-20

 

I hope I’m preparing the Church to be ready – I hope I’m adding to the attractiveness of knowing Jesus AND that I’m trusting Him when He says that HE is the perfector, He is the one keeping me in commitment and in preparedness.

There is so much of His story that I want all over mine and I guess that’s why I’ve decided to commit to this all these years. I know that if I join with the creator in a sweet exchange to be united forever that I will carry His name.

I will be His and He will be mine.

// I like the idea of belonging.

 

You’re Doing It Wrong

 

My Puerto Rican J-Lo (Jen Nieves) and I are Pastoral-Creatives. It’s that mix of people who care too much about people to leave them alone but still like to play with finger paints. Or if you want, you can join me in viewing our personalities as hippies. Love music. Love art. Love people.

Always.

At one point or another we (at the very least I) tried to run away from this very odd inner draw to help the A.D.D. Christians still love G-d. But it is who we are and there is no escape.

But G-d couldn’t just leave me alone with the desire to write music, sing and preach and teach… He also allowed my life to become introverted (I need to recharge without people) NOT shy (I’m too full of myself and my insecurities to carry on a conversation)((pride)).

Thanks G.

Oilvia [my sweet as drummer friend (I’m totally name dropping today)] and I were talking yesterday about the conclusion of our first year at Hillsong College. We were discussing what was difficult for us the first year that we still haven’t ‘dealt’ with… What are we still working on?

For me: which I’m assuming you want to know because you are still reading – this was community. I explained my thoughts on how I walked through my first year and how at the end of it, if I’m being as overly honest as I always tend to be, I feel like not that many people know me. Now – the KNOWING ME isn’t the important part, the GIVING MYSELF, my time, my energy, my investments, my open heart, my very unique part of the body of Christ is important. It IS important because I am also shy. I dealt this last year with being so concerned with myself and insecure that I didn’t give all I felt I could have.

Now, I’ve recently written about this so I don’t want to get too much into what I already wrote about… But I will reiterate the importance of being in community. We are better together and we were never meant to do this alone. If I could just encourage, challenge, tell you to, force you to READ the Bible… that would be awesome, but for the sad fact that the majority of you struggle to get a daily time to sit and process with G-d I’ll chop some up here for you.

Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching”

Hebrews 10:SomewhereBetween24-25 (MSG)

Guys and Gals, I have NO idea how to encourage someone that I’m not around. Nor do I know how to encourage if I’m only concerned for how bold I feel that day or how crazy I think my hair is partying that day.

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT)

Ewww… Pride isn’t pretty on ANYONE, especially shy-pride.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)

 

//Changed and changing still//

Thank G-d I’m not the same that I was and thank G-d that I will not remain the same that I am.

I’m verbally and electronically committed to community – I’m committed to lunches and coffee dates. I’m committed to my housemates and practicum team. I’m committed to showing up, being there and giving me. And if the Lord is willing all of that will be useful.

G-d, as always, you have my permission to make me look more like you and less like myself. You have my permission to make me look more AT you and less AT myself. You have my time, my energy, my investments, my open heart, and my very unique part of Your kingdom. Here’s to all the people time I need next year.


*Random PSA I found online – if you feed the toilet paper to the back of the roll and not the front you’re an ignorant, inconsiderate person and you need to grow up.

 

CathaBaptiCostal Church

What is the church to me? I was asked this question recently in school and while I believe there are many answers for this question here are a few thoughts that I came up with:

 If the church truly is the Bride of Christ, shouldn’t we be the assembly of those preparing for the return of Christ? A bride spends all of her engagement in preparation for being forever one with her groom and we as well should be the ones who are getting ready for eternity. Our roles might look a little different even as we are all the bride, one might have the role played most by a pastor in preaching and educating the congregation on how to prepare, and others might just be in a role of being in the congregation and gathering more people to be included in the preparation. Either way we do all have a role to play and we have a mission to those who still don’t know about Christ to tell them our good news.

In another class this week we discussed the differences IN the church, and specifically Denominations. If I’m being totally honest they don’t make every bit of sense to me either but I think that I’m starting to get a hang of why there might be a zillion on the planet (there is really only about 33,000 denominations according to this random website I found on the Googles). A student in the class piped up and went on about the fact that ‘denomination’ comes from the root word ‘denominator’ or something like that, which clearly wasn’t a thought I agreed with because I hate math. But also, ‘denominations’ aren’t from the root ‘denominator’, but rather comes from the Latin word denominatio(n-), or from the verb denominare (denominate). Here I found our position as a denomination to be an action, it is to give name to or to be assigned a specific financial unit. To be “denominated” would mean that you are assigned a specific unit. Which would be assumed that being apart of a denomination means you’re really just one specific assignment the same as everyone else. You are apart to be spent for the Kingdom. You are to be used to grow the kingdom by giving yourself.

Things I’ve never understood about arguing which denomination is the “right” denomination:

  1. How do you know that you are right?
    1. What if you are wrong?
  2. Why do you have to be mean about saying you’re right?
    1. Don’t be mean
    2. No one will want to be your friend
  3. Have you ever thought that maybe the different denominations aren’t actually anything that separates people but actually includes more people?
    1. Wouldn’t giving the people an option of faith with convictions they can follow bring them closer into a relationship with Christ?
    2. Isn’t it all about your heart and Christ?
  4. If you think I’m wrong, help a sista out.
    1. I don’t have all these answers but rather I really have a lot of questions and thoughts.
    2. I’m also a little bit of a hippie and think if people just love Jesus and love one another it doesn’t matter too much if you’re non-denominational, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist or Catholic, or a cowboy.
Learn to love your neighbor as yourself.