As a college freshman, Ben Sheets faced a typical dilemma: he had no idea what career path he wanted to follow.
He turned to his adviser, Glenn E. White, for help.
Glenn, a microbiologist atheist with Zen-Buddhist interests, had this to say to his young Lutheran friend: “Ben, deep down you know what you are to do with your life. You’re just not listening.”
Now a 2008 graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and an associate pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Plover, Wis., Ben believes those words were a powerful tool for discernment.
Taking the time to invest in serious self-examination paid off. Once he really listened to what he felt “deep down,” Ben felt his call to ordained ministry was clear.
“I chose this profession because there’s nothing else I’d rather do. I am fulfilled by my work as I get to explore the word of God, preach good news and walk with people as they journey through life.”
Ben is taking his mentor’s advice once again as he considers bringing his passion for technology into his ministry. He’s exploring how his love for “computers and any kind of gadgets” might enrich and deepen congregational life.
Technology (lets us) interact with one another in ways that were not possible before,” says Ben.
“Examples might be interviewing the home-bound on what a Bible passage or a hymn means to them and then playing it for the congregation as part of the sermon; those who once were out of the minds of the congregation are now helping lead the congregation in worship… .”
Ben has plans for a weekly “prayercast” that will offer opportunities for members to be guided through prayer during the week.
“Through the use of images, music and prayers, everyone who listens will pray similar petitions yet they will also be personalized,” says Ben.
“While the interaction may not be direct, I find it powerful knowing that fellow disciples are united with me in prayer.
“Technology is about interacting with God and with one another in ways that were impossible before. The cords, screens, projectors and sound systems we use are only the means to the true interactive relationship that we are called to have.”