I have been at Good Shepherd a half week already, and was blessed with the opportunity for many initial conversations with staff and parishioners who stopped in the office to say hi, bring donuts, and juggle with me, among other pleasantries. Went to a men's basketball game at the university. I unpacked about 20 boxes, plenty still to go, and started settling into and decorating the office. There were also the typical rehearsals for Sunday worship and bulletin preparation. Today, Friday, I'm hiding out at a coffee shop during nap time working on the Book of Faith study for Augsburg Fortress for Advent 2011, and obviously also blogging.
Analyze next week's schedule with me. How does it signify mission priorities? What's missing that should be there? What's surprising, positive, odd?
The plan currently is to be in the office Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon unless otherwise noted. Some afternoons next week will also be devoted to unpacking the rest of the boxes.
Sunday- Worship leadership and preaching at 8 a.m. 10 a.m., and 11:15 a.m.
Monday- 9-11 a.m. nursing home visits
7 p.m. Desert and coffee at a member home with small group of families
Tuesday- 9-noon First staff meeting, including worship and visioning and meet and greet
2-4 p.m. nursing home visits
Wednesday- 11 a.m. meeting with senior pastor of Episcopal church in Fayetteville
noon Fayetteville ministerial association meeting
6 p.m. Pre-baptismal class
Thursday- 9-noon Northwest Arkansas pastors meeting at Peace in Rogers; mission conversation coordinated by the synod office
Friday- Sabbath and family day
Saturday- 9-noon coffee conversation concerning mission development of campus ministry at UArk; invitees include parishioners, faculty, university students, and high schoolers anticipating attending UArk, plus a mission developer with the ELCA considering a call to this synod
Although this first week doesn't include it, subsequent weeks will always include a Tuesday evening and Wednesday noon bible study led by the pastor, as well as LOGOS, supper, and choirs on Wednesday evenings. I have invited the congregation to start forming small group events so I can visit with them at their home, work, or favorite "Third Places." By and large, when I'm not at these events, or in the office, I'm spending time with the family, and weaving in time for sermon preparation, various forms of communication, theological study, and freelance writing projects. I rarely set aside large blocks of time for sermon preparation. Instead, I weave that into my daily routine, including meditation while running, evenings spent reading the text and doing translation work, etc. And of course, an unknown for any given week would be special concerns that may come up for parishioners or the congregation.
Also, already on the agenda for the second week are preparations for a baptism, service of installation, an acolyte training, coffee with the mayor of Fayetteville, coaching conversation with a pastor from Coachnet, and plenty of walking the neighborhood around the church and our house meeting the neighbors.
Prayer is woven in throughout the day, typically in the morning and evening and at meals. I love this work, and wouldn't trade it for anything.