Pam and I did a lot of driving today, going to church and saying goodbye to friends and hanging out with others who needed some support. Basically a half tank of gas all told, from home to Berkeley to San Jose to Oakland to SF back to home. Long day.
Sometime during that driving, between the bathroom breaks and caffeine binging and arguing about directions, Pam came up with a terrible, wonderful idea that I expanded upon.
I and a friend from seminary open a gaming store in Portland, something we both have wanted to do for a long time. Then, we also start a church, and we rent space in the storefront to the church.
I've always wanted a storefront church in an urban area - its one of the things I've pictured for a long time when I've thought about where I will end up in ministry. I've also wanted to run a game store since I was about, I dunno, 13 or so.
I've heard it called "tentmaking", and when I talk about this plan, people tell me that I really light up. And I feel lit up. There are a lot of downsides, but I've talked to the friend in question and he really likes the idea so far. I want to pursue it, at least to see how far it goes.
Part of me thinks the following: statistically, no matter what we do, 80% of the seminary graduates in the PC(USA) this year will not find first calls because there are five times as many seminarians graduating as there are first calls. So what the Hell else are we supposed to do? We need to get creative, because the denomination is cranking out seminary graduates at five times the rate it can absorb them. This hardly seems like responsible stewardship, but those sour grapes are old at this point. They're basically w(h)ine. So I need to figure something out, since in the numbers game of first calls, I'm screwed.
I wonder if there is any support for an idea like this in the denomination? I know money goes to new church developments, but I also know they say I need 5 years of ministry experience before I can be an NCD pastor. Well, where am I supposed to get those 5 years?
Running a game store and storefront church in Portland, that's where.