If you are reading this column, you are passionate about the work of ministry.  You may pastor a church, coach ministers, provide consulting services or lead a congregation through an interim time. This is good and noble work that we are invested in, and we often read columns like these for counsel, advice and encouragement. From time to time, it is my honor to humbly offer words that might help you along the journey. Today, however, I am going to ask you to set your work aside for a few moments.

This is been a difficult spring. Over the last month, I have lost two aunts, two long-time friends, and most recently, a Center for Healthy Churches coaching colleague and friend. At the church where I am currently serving as interim, several church members have also had hard and sudden losses recently.  I am grateful for the hope of the resurrection that has sustained all of us in these difficult days; yet even as I rest in that hope, I have been acutely aware of the fragility of life.  I have been reminded over and over again in this season that we are not promised tomorrow.

So, for just a few moments, I ask you to set your work aside. Spend the time you would have invested in reading a longer column to reach out to a family member.  Pick up the phone just to say I love you. Take a minute to send a note or email of appreciation to a faithful mentor or to a friend who provided an expected act of kindness. It will be time well spent.

I’m signing off early today, I have a few phone calls to make……

Tracy Hartman
Tracy was a member of the first class of M. Div. students at BTSR and won the Miller Award for Academic Achievement upon her graduation in 1995. Her graduate work at Union included ground-breaking research into the relationship between parish setting and preaching style for women pastors. Dr. Hartman teaches preaching and directs the seminary’s Supervised Ministry and Doctor of Ministry programs. She is the author of Letting the Other Speak: Proclaiming the Stories of Biblical Women and co-author of New Proclamation Commentary. Dr. Hartman is active in Baptist life and has served as staff member and interim pastor to several Virginia churches. She enjoys preaching throughout the region. She is a coach for CHC.