About

About

tomandlisalong

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me

I have been in church my entire life, minus two rebellious years in college when my body was sometimes in church but my heart was a million miles away. The institution of church is a vital part of my life. Most of my volunteer service happens within this context; sometimes, that makes me feel weird. Actually, guilty is more accurate.

I am drawn to church because folks who love my Jesus gather there. Shared faith creates a sense of belonging, at least until you learn beneath what drew you together are countless diversities. It would be ideal if the majority of us lived by a philosophy of love that inspired us to celebrate our differences. Instead, it’s more common that our attitudes are threatening unity even sometimes warring to destroy one another.

I love the church. Yet, in the same way I imagine I might feel if I were romantically betrayed, I battle the urge to reject her and put distance between us when fallen behavior is difficult to endure. I’ve heard it said the people you love most have the greatest power to anger you. My experience makes me believe it’s true. I have a hunch I’m not the only Christian who feels this way.

This would worry me except I know I am deeply devoted to my fellow believers. Our relationship regularly feels complicated. That doesn’t scare me it compels me.

Family

I’m a proud mom of two pretty amazing, nearly grown, college kids, Bethany and Isaiah. The fact that makes me most proud of them is that they are good to each other. Most days. I’m married to their dad and my heart’s deepest love outside of Jesus, Tom. He’s my favorite worship leader. That’s us in the sound booth at church in the picture above. Running sound is one of his many talents and also, among a healthy list of things he does for our church. They say you marry someone as sick as you are. I don’t know why this always makes me laugh inside; maybe it’s because Tom and I navigate the tough stuff with humor. Sometimes that feels sick. True or not, I’m glad our sicknesses found one another. Here’s to 22 years strong with my equally sick love.

Work

I am a part-time Middle School Pastor at my church in Nashville, TN where I have served the youth for the past seven years. I walked with the group through two youth pastor transitions; during the last transition I served as Interim Youth Pastor for a little over a year.

Teaching, training, and mentoring students is my passion. I especially love the transitional life stages. College is a favorite, which is a major contributor to my gratitude for my role as a Coach at CYMT (Center for Youth Ministry Training). I love encouraging our young youth pastors with a lot of I’ve been there’s and me too’s. Also, it feels purposeful to share what I have learned about youth ministry with these bright youth ministry grad students. They are true light in my life. It is so much fun.

New this year, Tom and I are volunteering with the College & Young Adults at our church. This is a giant bright spot. I hold a Doctor of Divinity from Tabernacle Bible College & Seminary where I am Ph.D candidate. Fingers crossed, praying I finish this year.