Thankfulness In The Living God
Justin Mauney, Seminarian - December 28, 2020
Hello and happy holidays, Christ Lutheran family! My name is Justin Mauney and I am a former member of CLC and a current student at Luther Seminary. For those of you who may not know me personally, you might know my parents Bobby and Lorrie or maybe my younger brother Christian. Christ Providence has been my home church since we originally moved to Charlotte in 1999; even as I moved to Raleigh in 2012 to start school at NC State (go Pack!), I kept this community close to my heart. I have so many wonderful memories from my childhood at CLC, from youth group to the Experience Tour to singing in Spirit Song. Currently, I work as the Minister of Contemporary Music at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cary, NC. Alongside my professional role, I am studying to obtain my Master’s of Divinity at Luther Seminary in Minneapolis and dream of one day becoming a Lutheran pastor.
This year has been full of new challenges and opportunities as I began my new role on a church’s staff and progressed in my master’s degree as a full-time distance learning student. Prior to July 2020, I had been working as an engineering salesman, putting my undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering to use. I began my graduate schooling in September of 2019, expecting to continue in the engineering industry until I graduated, but a position opened at a wonderful church and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dive headfirst into ministry. In addition to my new daily role in the contemporary Christian music world, my seminary courses have already transformed my personal faith. The biggest revelation I have encountered is my confidence in the omnipotent God who is fully involved within the world. To put three semesters of seminary into a few words, our faith in God is not one that we can just point to and prove God’s existence to the world. Instead, God is a living God continually at work, with no illustration or concrete symbol that fully depicts the true being of God. This living God has shown through the sacrifice of God’s son that there is nothing God wouldn’t do for us. Sending Jesus into the world to die and sending the Holy Spirit into the world to thrive is a kind of love that transcends human understanding.
That might seem like a lot and trust me, theology is not easy. But my increased confidence in a loving and living God has gotten me through my own challenges and I pray the community at Christ Lutheran Church gains hope as well. I am so thankful for the Lutheran community whose members have been my foundation this year. I work with a wonderful staff and congregation at Christ the King who extend uplifting words of support. I have an incredible home congregation at Christ Providence who shows love even from a few hours away. I have a wonderful fiancée who repeatedly offers encouragement and reminds me of those in Raleigh and Charlotte who are rooting for me. From motivational sermons to heartening feedback from mentors, all three branches and the online community of Christ Lutheran Church inspire me to keep reaching toward my own goals. I would like to thank Christ Lutheran Church especially for the generous resources that have made my journey into ministry possible. Following the conclusion of my undergraduate degree, I found myself with an overwhelming amount of financial debt. Even though I felt God pushing me to pursue ministry, I couldn’t find away to enroll in seminary and work toward financial stability. I thought this calling would have to be postponed several years until I could get my financial footing; however, you all at Christ Lutheran challenged my doubts and helped finance my studies at Luther Seminary. Because of your generosity and support, I have the confidence to focus on my studies and learn how to be the best pastor I can without the anxiety that comes with financial distress. For that, the only thing I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.
If you are just becoming aware that some of the church finances go to support me and other seminarians, please know that your tithes have been essential to grow new leaders in the Lutheran church. This support is needed now more than ever, and I can speak from personal experience that you all are a key part of God’s plan. I am thankful for the opportunities I had during my youth at Christ Providence and I am constantly reminded of my blessings through all the love and support I have received. We have all been through ups and downs in 2020, but I am confident in the living God and the living church. Thank you again for your support, and grace and peace to you all as we continue God’s work in 2021.