My first day working at The Upper Room was a Monday. March 17th, 2014 to be exact: my 30th birthday. It’s a strange feeling to meet everyone in a new office on your birthday. No one knows it’s your birthday, so no one says anything. There’s no cake, no forced singing of “Happy Birthday…” Instead, there’s the exquisite joy of starting a new job. I’m not sure if that qualifies as something that was given to me, but it is certainly a gift. In my case, this new gift meant moving away from my home state: Texas. It also meant starting in a new category of employment that one might call “vocational ministry.” Most of all, it meant a chance to do something for my peers that I had struggled to find for myself.
As I was introduced to dozens of people whose names would take months to remember, the question kept coming up, “what are we doing for young adults?” or, “what should we do for young adults?” Of course no one has all the answers on their first day and my supervisors routinely replied, “that’s what we hired Geoff to figure out.”
I wear a tie to the office most days. Some days, a bow tie. I grew a beard after my electric trimmer was soaked in water from a typhoon. I show up at the office in the morning and do all the normal office things: respond to e-mails, read important information, and attend meetings. Those are the ‘normal’ parts of my job.
The best parts of my jobs are that when I show up in the morning, I often get to pray and worship with my colleagues. I have opportunities to talk to people doing wonderful things in ministry and share ideas with them. My most common phone call is from volunteers who are looking for help as they try to understand ministry with my peers in their community. I travel to be part of teams that build new resources, test new programs, and try to share something spiritually formative with those who, like me, have struggled in the ‘young adult’ group at their church to find a place to belong.
I hope that describes the job of a Program Manager well. Future posts will talk more about the specific process that has brought Journey to the Table from a dream, to a plan, and eventually into being a ministry with my peers. Welcome to the journey, friends. What started as my journey is now yours too.