My Inept Ministry Degree

Undergrad Graduation Day
Many pastors and ministers to be are thrilled to "go unto the world and preach the gospel". Chalk full of theology, exegesis, and confidence, and we are ready to reach the world for Jesus Christ.

Year Following Graduation
Work the backroom at American Eagle or make lattes for Starbucks while you apply for grad school or seminary.

Graduate School/Seminary Graduation
The joke that theologians are just people answering questions nobody is asking is not funny. More and more confidence abounds to will-be-pastors and ministers.

I was ready and prepared to do ministry now. I am pretty solid on where I stand doctrinally, theologically, and most importantly, I know where I fall on the T.U.L.I.P. scale.

First Month of Pastoral Ministry
I have no idea what to tell a student who comes to me fearing she may have contracted AIDS while doing missions work in Africa.

Where was THAT class?

Second Month of Pastoral Ministry
Random jibberish terms like: ministry budget, proposed budget, faith budget, overdrawn, fleeting resources, income not meeting spending, church mortgage, pay roll, etc.

"It was my understanding there would be no math."

Third Month of Pastoral Ministry
A call is made of an elderly man in the ICU who is not expected to live through the weekend. All he wants is to speak to a pastor.

You're a pastor! Your nicely framed diploma says so.

It turns out a man who has owned more cars than years you've been alive does not want to hear much from a young ministry graduate as he's preparing to meet Jesus face to face.

He asks nothing about total depravity. Too bad, I was prepared for that question.

Fourth Month of Pastoral Ministry
Another homeless addict has made his way through the doors wanting to speak to a pastor. Maybe he's in dire need! Maybe he's manipulating you for things he does not need that you do not have.

I don't remember learning about this anywhere.

Fifth Month of Pastoral Ministry
The congregation is already a bit upset with changes you have made when God continues to inspire you to new things. One person wants to talk about it WITH YOU (if you're lucky).


And it is not conflict about whether baptism should be sprinkle or immersion.

Conflict = YOU! You are the problem...always!

Where was my class about that?

Sixth Month of Pastoral Ministry
Start to wonder if your pastoral ministry degree and classes really gave you everything needed to be a pastor.

How to Park at CSUS

I am a college pastor in Sacramento, and a majority of my students attend Sacramento State. I have come to discover there is a list of things every college student complains about, regardless of which school they attend: tuition, the food, the rules, and parking.

Most college pastors spend a decent amount of time on campus to hang out with their students, and I like to do this from time to time...if it weren't for the horrific parking situation. Allow me to elaborate on my experience.

STEP ONE Park in the 30 minute parking spaces. There are a few precursory steps before actually parking, so you can park for free in 30 minute parking while you run these quick errands.

STEP TWO - ATM Parking is going to eventually cost me $6 for the day, and who really carries cash any more aside from your grandmother? So I will need to go to the ATM on campus to get out cash. Naturally, you are only allowed to get cash in increments of 20.

I know what you're thinking; "But you only need $6." Yeah, I get it! What's more, the parking machine only takes exact change. So unless I want to make a $14 donation to California State University Sacramento, I now need to break my 20 to get exact change.

STEP THREE - Coffee Shop As expected, I will be getting coffee eventually. It may as well be now. I have to order my medium americano from one of the 75 Java Cities on campus in order to get my coffee AND break my 20 so I can pay my $6 parking fee.

If you're counting at home, my visit to campus has costs me nearly $8 for the price of parking plus americano.

STEP FOUR - Parking Machine The parking machine is located on the 3rd floor of the parking garage. You round your way up the garage to park (at your risk) in the flow of inattentive traffic with your hazards on while you pay for your parking pass. Ignoring the honks and near collisions, you collect your pass and prepare for the parking spot search.

STEP FIVE - Parking Garage Can you imagine a place where you drive an eternal circle while dodging vehicles and pedestrians who pay no mind to your existence? This is the reality of the CSUS parking garage. I have have driven the endless circles for nearly an hour and a half at busy times looking for a spot that never opens.

I am generally uncomfortable with the often necessary "stalking" approach for parking. This is the discovery of a solitary student walking in a fashion which makes you wonder, "Is he on his way to his car?" You drive slowly behind him as he walks, hoping not to creep him out in any way. If he is a decent human being, he will notice you are drafting him and will motion to you that he is NOT in fact walking to his car. But if he is typical, he will let you follow him for several minutes to the stairs in the parking garage where he leaves to go to class. SON OF A....!!!

You await the break in class times when enough people are leaving to find that spot accompanied by gleams of light and cozy chorale music. Alas! I am parked!

My americano is not lukewarm, and I've spent nearly 2 hours preparing and looking for a spot, but the opportunity to hang out with my students on campus is worth every second.