Ministry in Context

A Meditation on the New Year: "Advice for Beginners" by Ira Glass

April Winebrenner-PaloIt's a new year, a new semester, and a new ritual season for most of our faith and ethical traditions. Rather than posting familiar recaps from 2013 or providing the same old list of resolutions for 2014, I want to equip you with some words that have helped me begin new chapters in the past.

May these words be fruitful to you as you begin a new season of work on your preaching, prayer, pastoral care, public ministry, liturgical design, schoolwork, writing, clinical visitations, or any of the other crafts that guide your vocation as a Christian public leader.

"Advice for Beginners" by Ira Glass

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners; I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

"A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.

"Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Art by Zen Pencils

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