Pearls for the Journey: Share Your Gifts
By Rev. Michael Bush*
In the realm of self-care and allowing ourselves to be cared for, clergy in general seem particularly challenged. In the face of increasing strain within a declining (and in some ways collapsing) mainline church, clergy wellness is incredibly vital.
I have worked on various areas of wholeness and health throughout my ministry, but I have never had my denomination offer anything like the Pension Boards-United Church of Christ CREDO (PBUCC CREDO) Seminar. It seemed good to take advantage of the opportunity.
The physical wellness portion of the Seminar was helpful for me in rethinking simple choices I make in terms of what I eat. I already exercise regularly, but simply reducing carbs and increasing vegetables has helped me feel better and lose weight.
Secondly, I heard affirmation of a sense of call that I had not been ready for prior to this Seminar. I have gifts to share with the wider church in some form -- whether serving as wider church staff or coaching with the Center for Progressive Renewal. I had not previously acted on this sense of call. However, since PBUCC CREDO, I have taken concrete steps to make myself available to share my gifts more widely beyond the local church. I was invited by my Conference Minister to attend the Council of Conference Ministers to introduce me to that area of service, and [at the time of this writing] I will soon have a video conference call with the head of Coaching for the Center for Progressive Renewal. It feels good and right to act in these ways of exploration.
God is Still Speaking
During the PBUCC CREDO Seminar, one of my peers at lunch turned to me and said, "I wish you were my Conference Minister." It came out of nowhere for me. I asked her why she said that. She explained that I seemed deeply spiritual and joyfully relational. She added that I had 20-plus years of experience of helping churches to be healthy, and I had points of connection with places and people across the country. She concluded, "You are the kind of person I think has something that I want. I would ask you for help." That dialogue in the context of an invitation to pray, listen, praise, laugh, hike, be still, celebrate, and consult, helped me to hear more clearly how God is still speaking to me regarding my vocation.
You are your own best resource for doing the ministry you have been called to do. PBUCC CREDO helps you to connect with the Spirit, your best self, and a community of others on a wholeness journey in a week of challenge and joy. This is far and away the best wider church experience I have ever had. I think the culture of what PBUCC CREDO does should "infect" Synod, Conference gatherings, Associations, and Committees on Ministry because healthy clergy help us have healthy churches.
About PBUCC CREDO
PBUCC CREDO is a holistic wellness benefit that offers clergy space and resources to examine significant areas of their lives and discern prayerfully the future direction of their vocation as they respond to God’s call in a lifelong process of practice and transformation.
The CREDO experience is anchored in a week-long Seminar and includes a pre-Seminar assessment and post-Seminar resources so that participants can deepen their commitment to lifelong wellness. Learn more about this program here http://bit.ly/PB_CREDO.
*The Rev. Michael Bush is the Pastor of the United Church of Christ at Valley Forge in Wayne, PA.