Are you familiar with the term "circuit rider?" It originates from the earliest days of the United States when clergy were assigned to travel in specific geographical territories to minister and lend their service to settlers and organize congregations.
In a sense, that's what I'm doing along the uttermost road. Instead of riding a horse, I'm riding an "iron pony" with "longhouse" in tow. The specific geographical territories, in my case, are mostly Native American reservations across the USA, but also every village, burg, and town dotted along the roads that lead to native communities and beyond.
With only an idea in my mind, I wasn't sure exactly what form "ministry" would take along the road. I could only imagine, and imagine I did. So much so, it almost brought me to the point of chickening out on several occasions. A "Jonah complex," perhaps. What I am sure of is this: I am to simply "go." So go I have! As with my present way of life, ministry along the uttermost road is unfolding to be quite fluid and varied.
The desire to travel the uttermost road remained with me, even when fear has raised its head like a roaring lion, since it first emerged in my mind and seeped into my heart shortly after Toni traveled the ultimate journey. For a year and a half or so, a "still small voice" within relentlessly brought up the idea of serving as a type of modern-day itinerant minister. "It" reassured me that I'll find what I need along the way, one day at a time. Astonishingly to me, I have an abiding assurance that clarity and direction will come when I need it most. I'm confident that provision will arrive when provision is needed. Are you familiar with the story of how the God of Israel provided manna in the desert during the Exodus? It was fresh provision every day like the morning dew. The only caveat was that they were only to gather as much manna as they needed for the day. No hoarding or storing up for a rainy day.
Fresh grace for the day comes in the morning.
Just like the dew and the morning sun, fresh grace comes in the morning...always. So, the answers to my questions about specifics, direction, and provision won't come until I go. That's the first step...into the unknown.
Here's a description of ministry avenues along the Uttermost Road:
- Guest speaker anywhere I'm offered the privilege to share about the themes highlighted on the Uttermost Road website and in my books.
- Love, encourage, and learn from native people (includes all people of every tribe and tongue I encounter along the way)
- Affirm native culture as a beautiful expression of acknowledging and celebrating Creator and an authentic path in following the Way
- Support those in ministry both on and off the reservation
- Interim ministry for pastor-less congregations
- Provide sabbatical breaks for weary and deserving pastors
- Serendipitous "church planting" (if you're curious, just ask me what I think this means)
- Writing (my version of being a "road" scholar)
- "Manna" ministry (new everyday, parallels the concept of "divine appointments")
As the way of service and ministry unfolds, I will be journaling about specific encounters and opportunities as I experience them. It is my hope that a contingent of kindred spirits will follow my way and share in the Way together.