Archives For Benjamin Kane

Photo Sep 27, 11 19 23 AM(I wrote this letter to myself awhile back and just reread it.  Have you had similar experiences and is this advice still relevant if you’ve been in ministry for awhile?)

Seminary prepares folks for the extremes of ministry.  From the transformational moments where a youth begins to transfigure like Christ because of your exceptional teaching – to the all-out-brawl that consumes a Session meeting, the examples used in seminary to prep us for parish life were laced with outlandish, yet real actions of God’s people.  In reality, ministry has been much tamer than what I was prepared to expect.

The rationale behind seminary education’s use of the extremes is to prepare us for all that might come through our sanctuary (or hospital or non-profit) doors.  Furthermore, the extreme cases are always the juiciest; embedded within them are opportunities to flesh out situations as you discuss triangulation, presuppositions, and use phrases like, “What I hear you saying is…”  In defense of my education, I lapped up these examples as I inched closer to graduation and ordination.  I felt like a horse being set within the gates at Churchill Downs, receiving these stories as fuel that revved me up as I prepped for the upcoming sprint once the gates (CPM, Presbytery, Ordination Exams) were opened. Continue Reading…

Photo Sep 27, 11 19 23 AMEveryone has a crazy idea—or multiple if you’re me.  Here’s the rationale for mine: every church and every candidate for ministry wants experience.  For candidates, it opens doors; it creates opportunities; it gives you purpose.   For churches, an experienced minister provides a sense of calm because the minister has done this before.  So what do you do if you need experience, yet can’t find an opportunity that provides it?  Looking at the statistics today on the PC(USA) website it shows there are 1494 individuals seeking a call; of that number 251 are candidates for ministry or first call seekers.  But there are only 486 positions,  of which 104 are open to candidates/first call seekers.  You don’t need a masters in mathematics to see there are more people than jobs.

Many of the folks I’ve spoken to who are seeking a call hear the response, “Thanks for your interest, but we are looking for someone with more experience.”  If you are a seminary trained, first call seeker your options for gaining experience are limited; if churches won’t call you how else does one gain experience?  The General Assembly has created various opportunities including Lilly Residents, For Such a Time As This, and 1001 Worshipping Communities—all of which provide experience for first call seekers.  These opportunities emerged when the church thought outside the box, finding ways to connect pastors with new opportunities.  I want to suggest the church continue this trend and urge churches to open themselves up to potentially calling first time call seekers to interim pastor positions.  The call of an interim aligns well with the experience first call seekers desire and/or need. Continue Reading…

That’s So Routine

Benjamin Kane —  July 3, 2014

Photo Sep 27, 11 19 23 AMI’m always open to a new idea about routines.  Partly because I like some variety in my life coupled with my fear of becoming a rote machine who does the same thing every-single-day.  At this point in time, my routine has been to search for a new routine..

This past week I happened upon a blog post from Harvard Business School detailing the routine of the world-class chef, Anthony Bourdain.  The basic premise of the post is that Bourdain spends the first ten minutes of his day focused on the mise-en-place, which is more than just assembling all the ingredients and supplies he’ll need for the day—it is a state of mind.  Not only does the miss-en-place keep him from wasting precious time searching for an ingredient or pan during the rush of dinner time, it gives his day a focus (which for him is visualize a meal (or meals) from ingredients to final product).   The blog post does point out that most of us don’t work as cooks so it is hard to translate this method exactly—but he does encourage folks to start her/his day by thinking through what you’ll need that day in lieu of immediately jumping into your email inbox and voicemail.  Always up for a new routine, I thought I’d give it a try.  And here’s how it went: Continue Reading…