I am a follower of Jesus, avid reader, wife, gardener, English major, mother of three, baker, created in God’s image, walker, cook, pastor….
33 years ago, I was ordained as a pastor at age 27 when there were few other ordained evangelical women. I served as a career associate pastor, mainly at two large congregations but also at a couple of smaller ones. I have tried to maintain my first calling — that of being a disciple of Jesus Christ — as I lived out my other callings — to be a wife and mother and a pastor. One definition of a full life would be being married 38 years, raising three kids, working part and then full time (with no extended family around). Another word for it would be challenging!
I’ve lived in many places in the USA. I was born in California to a non-Christian nuclear family which gave me a post-modern outlook (more Gen X than Baby Boomer!). I lived in the Midwest during much of grade school which gave me an urge to like and trust people. I went to junior high and high school in New Jersey which gave me a cynical tinge and an assertiveness that scares some Minnesotans. And I’ve lived in Minnesota for 32 years now — quite a long time, dontcha know? Uff da….
I’ve also traveled for long periods, mainly in the United Kingdom and Europe, but also shorter visits to Israel, Egypt, and Turkey. (See my other blog — “On Pilgrimage” https://judieritchie.wordpress.com)
I became a Christian through the ordinary ministry of a mainline church high school youth group. That was during the “Jesus People” times of the 1970’s. I’ve seen the Church go from the seeker sensitive late 80’s to the sea change of the early 2000’s when the Church seemed to lose any cultural power and authority it thought it had.
It’s been interesting times to be a pastor. When I started in ministry, clergy still had remnants of formal authority and respect.Now the internet has made everyone an expert — especially about their own soul. I guess I’m colluding with that now!
Over the years, the knowledge and practice of spiritual disciplines and formation have become much more vital to those doing “professional” ministry. The loss of formal authority has pushed us to experience more deeply what should be the foundations of our “profession.” Ministry now demands an authority that comes from deep within, from a lived experience with a living Lord, from those streams of living water that Jesus promised would flow from within those who trusted in him (John 7.38). I hope to share some of that lived experience in this blog.