A Bittersweet Life Update

Published January 12, 2022 by First Methodist Carrollton in 
Lauren Palmer, Comm/Tech Director + Missions Pastor

Hi, I’m Lauren, and I have a bittersweet life update to share with you. (Fair warning, I’m breaking my own word count rules, sorry not sorry.) You might know that last year, I finished my second Master’s degree, this time from Cliff College / University of Manchester in England. I wanted to get a second MA, not just because I’m a nerd (though that shoe does fit), but because it is best to have a UK MA if you want to do a UK PhD. And for a long time now (like since childhood – see the above nerd comment) I’ve felt the calling to pursue a PhD. 

The best way I know to describe it is a calling. I’ve told God on multiple occasions that I don’t really need a PhD, but I get the impression He just kindly chuckles at me and waits for me to get with it, because there’s a holy discontent that just won’t go away. It’s something I can’t not do and continue to walk in obedience with God. 

God has also made it clear that the PhD needs to be my full time focus for the next three years. So for those of you keeping score at home, that means I won’t be working full time. And for a lot of logistical reasons, and in the best interest of the church, working here part time isn’t a viable option. So with a heavy but grateful heart, I’ve submitted my resignation as Communications Director, Technical Director, and Missions Pastor to Pastor John and the SPRC. I’ll continue to work through the end of April, and I still plan to be involved in the life of the church. 

In the fall of 2011, David Bales asked if I’d step in part-time for 3 months til Christmas during a staffing transition. (It’s been a long 3 months!) He reminded me recently that in our first conversation, I mentioned that I wanted to learn as much as possible about serving in all the different areas of a local church, so I could distill that and translate it into church planting movements globally. My sense of calling has been refined over the past season – a decade of Christmases, plus a bonus one in Cambodia!

While I still feel passionate about helping establish the church of Jesus Christ where it doesn’t yet exist in the world, I feel particularly called to do that by mobilizing the larger Wesleyan movement. And I’ve gotten to participate in all aspects of church and community life here, in ways none of us would have anticipated 10 years ago. From puppets to Core Group curriculum to power tools, I have loved the vast variety of ways I’ve been able to contribute to First Methodist Carrollton

But more than that, I’ve loved the people. I joined Christ’s holy Church almost 31 years ago when I was baptized into this local congregation. Some of you were here then and took vows to help raise me in the faith.

Being able to return as an adult and contribute to the eternal cyclical process of learning and growing and discipling is a privilege I do not take lightly. You have been my family when some of my own family walked away.* No matter where God takes me in the world, this local church will always be home. 

But I’m not going anywhere yet! I’ll be on staff through Easter, and I’ll still be around. (I’ll be going across the pond a few times a year, Lord willin’ and the COVID don’t rise, but I’ll do most of my research from Bridwell Library at SMU.) I’m teaching the Community Life Bible study on Galatians, so if you’re not involved with one of the other great options on Wednesday nights, come hang out this spring – drop in whenever you can (or join on Zoom/Facebook Live)!

I had no idea what God had in store for me when I said “yes” 10 years ago. There’s been a whole lot of good, bad, and ugly, but through it all, I’ve seen the faithfulness of God – and the faithful perseverance of this congregation, as we stand strong, side by side. Thank you for the privilege of serving on staff. It has been a joy to worship and serve Jesus with you. 

*Life update #2: Last year, I legally changed my last name to Palmer. I shared more about that here.

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