Tag Archive for: Community

We do a lot of talking about mission, especially the mission of the church, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” My perception is that you, as a leader, keep that mission in mind in most of what you do. My question is, do you feel connected to the mission? Do you feel what you are doing really makes much of a difference? 

You might be doing all the right things. You love the people entrusted to your care. But you just don’t feel the spark any longer. What’s happening? What’s going on? 

Bring Meaning to the Mission

What I am learning is a sense of fulfillment is needed to bring meaning to the mission. The question is, what brings that sense of fulfillment? 

You might think of it this way: goals are good and necessary. You can define and track your goals and you can show how you have reached your goals. Yet, you can feel disconnected from a larger sense of purpose. Chasing goals day after day, week after week does not bring the engagement needed to bring a sense of fulfillment. 

Interrelated Leadership Models

Over the years, I have identified and defined at least three models of leadership. Each model is needed to be an effective and courageous leader, but it is only when the models are intertwined and focused upon the mission that they are effective. Refining your leadership skills in each area will help you become the missional leader needed today. 

Qualities of the Leader

One model of leadership is defined by the qualities of the leader. Are you a person of integrity, transparency, and empathy? Do you inspire loyalty, communicate clearly, and develop relationships? These qualities are necessary and vital to effective leadership. But you can learn all the right qualities and do all the right things and still feel disconnected and unfulfilled. 

Servant Leadership

A second model of leadership is servant leadership. It is best seen in how you care for the needs and interests of those entrusted to your care. Have you developed an environment of support in which people can flourish? Are you providing what followers want from their leader: trust, compassion, stability, and hope? These qualities of servant leadership are necessary and vital to effective leadership. But you can care for the needs and interests of people and still feel less than fulfilled as a leader. 

Missional Leadership

A third model of leadership is missional leadership. When grounded in a mission, people become both leaders and followers. They lead by living into their strengths and by offering their expertise. People follow by learning how to work in partnership with others. They share the values of the group and share a mutual sense of purpose. Missional leadership is an integration of servant leadership and the qualities of the leader. The three together provide what is needed for leading in the times in which we live. 

Many of us do well in leading by the criteria of models one and two. We offer clear direction and guidance, stay connected with people, and care for their needs. Yet, in midst of all the good work, we do not feel fulfilled. We can articulate the mission with little connection to it. 

More to Explore

You will find these blogs to be helpful in becoming a missional leader.

 Leadership Challenges for the Missional Church

Leadership Challenges for the Missional Church-Part 3

Mobilize for Ministry

So, what do we do? Below are seven questions that will assist you and the leaders of your church to brainstorm, reflect, and mobilize for ministry. They will require prayerful reflection, dialogue, and discernment. Some of the questions will require you to move beyond the walls of the church building and to talk with people in the community. Others will require you to explore the areas of overlap between the mission and the responses to the questions. 

These questions are simple and challenging. I can promise that, when you take these questions seriously, you will find meaning and purpose in your leadership. For a more detailed explanation and direction click here.

The 7 Missional Questions 

1.      God’s Presence: Where have you witnessed God’s presence in your community? Neighborhood? 

This is a good question to ask at the beginning of every meeting, with small groups, and at the end of each day. It is one of two foundational questions that contribute to congregational health. People who follow Jesus should be able to articulate God’s movement in their lives and identify God’s presence in their communities. 

2.      The Church’s Mission: What is the mission of the church? 

This question is not about mission projects or service opportunities. The question is about purpose. What is the purpose of the church? Does everyone know the mission? Do they not only repeat it but embody it? 

This is the partner question to naming God’s presence. Recognizing God’s presence and embodying the mission of the church are essential for healthy disciple-making movements. 

3.      The Mission Field: What is your mission field? 

Your mission field is the geographic region in which your church is located. Once you have decided your geographic region, define who lives within the mission field. After you know who lives there, define their habits and interests. Listen to their stories. Pay attention to their symbols. What do you need to learn about the people in your mission field, the people entrusted to your care? 

4.      Assets: What are the assets of your community? 

Make a list of the assets of the people who live in your mission field You are identifying skills, resources, and relationships. Other assets to explore include property, service, businesses, a community focus or physical attributes like a beach, a park, etc., and financial assets. 

To identify assets, take a walk through our community and meet the people in your mission field. Ask people this question: “What do you love about our community?” Neighborhood? City? 

5.      Needs: What are the needs in your community? Neighborhood? 

Make a list of the needs of people in your community. Remember that food, water, and shelter are the most basic needs. These are followed by safety, love, belonging, self-esteem, and respect. Recognizing and realizing your potential, learning, faith, and service round out your list.

To identify needs, when you take your walk through your community and meet the people in your mission field, ask this question, “What do you love about your community?” This question follows the question you asked in #4. 

6.      Relationships: What relationships exist with leaders in your community? 

Who are you and other church leaders in relationship within the following areas of your community: education, business, government, social agencies, first responders, faith/religion, arts and entertainment, health (hospitals, doctors, nurses, clinics)? What relationships need to be nurtured, reconciled, and re-established? 

A good place to start building relationships beyond the walls of the church building is with the principal of your local elementary school. 

7.      Collaboration: What is one way you can collaborate with another church? 

Develop relationships with other church leaders. Listen to their stories and how they express their mission, and what disciple-making loos like in their faith communities. Even though theology and practices might differ, you are on the same team. How do you join together to cover the community with God’s love? 

What Overlap Exists?

Now, here is where your missional leadership is most needed. What is the overlap between the mission and the responses to the other six questions? 

Your overlap might be where you see God at work in the lives of children, or in community leaders of in service organizations. Begin to tell the stories of God being at work in your community and invite people to participate in what God is doing. 

You can also go to the LeaderCast podcast for helpful information. Here are episodes that will help in becoming a missional leader. Purpose and Presence  Set the foundation for missional leadership with these two questions. Needs and Assets Bridge the needs and assets of your community with these questions. Relationships and Partnerships Leverage the people and connections of your community for kingdom impact.

It is time to move from talking about the mission to becoming the missional leader needed to have influence in the world today. I can promise you and the people entrusted to your care that once you are focused on the mission of the church, you will find the meaning and purpose that has been missing in your life and in your church. 

It is my hope that you can and will begin to build a file of resources that assists you in becoming the leader that makes a difference. 

Remember, who is are is how you lead.

People are ready to resume the social interactions they missed during the pandemic. They are yearning to get back to the groups and activities that brought meaning to their lives. They have rediscovered the importance of relationships and are ready to fill the void that has been created.   

Because of this longing to reestablish relationships, you are at a critical point in your leadership. You have an opportunity to step into this void and to nurture community. So, how will you lead? 

Relationships are Essential for Community

I know there are several alternatives, but the reality is you will either slide into the way things were before the pandemic or you will nurture people into new relationships. You will either allow people to close their circle of influence or you will lead them into deeper and broader interactions in their neighborhoods, towns, and cities. So, how will you lead? 

As you are thinking about it, remember that community is about the interrelatedness of people. It’s about belonging to something larger than ourselves. It helps people say, “I am a valued part of this body and have contributions to make”. The essence of community is a feeling of being in relationship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals centered in Jesus. 

Three Aspects of Community

This interrelatedness is seen in three aspects of community:

Connection

Nurturing communities facilitate connections between people. They are the places that help you develop relationships with others on several levels. There are immediate, superficial connections that cause you to look around the room and ask, “Who here is like me?” And on a deeper level, you connect with people around your stage of life, life experiences, likes, dislikes, interests, etc. When you experience connection with other people, you know you belong to something bigger than yourself.

Contribution

Nurturing communities invite you to make a contribution. Your connection leads to contributing to the community with your skills, gifts, and passions. Through your contribution, you are saying, “I am a valued part of this group and I have something to offer.”   

Care

Care is the integration of connection and contribution. When people know that you care about them, care about their talents, care about their contributions and connections to the greater community, they are more likely to be involved in the community. This doesn’t mean you have to offer all the care, but it does mean you are offering God’s love in every situation and circumstance of the community in which you are leading. Simply stated, you are loving God and loving neighbor in all that you do. 

Every community is made up of different members who work for a common purpose.  Effective leaders recognize those differences and understand that the differences are crucial for healthy community interaction and function.

Every Member 

Paul, in his letter to the church in Corinth, uses the metaphor of the human body, to illustrate this point. He writes that even though the body is made of many parts, it is still one body. And even though the body includes great diversity, every member is equally a part and important to the function of the body. 

As you know, his point had nothing to do with human anatomy.  He used the metaphor to show that every follower of Christ is important and for the body to function properly, all parts of the body are needed. He points out that no one has the right to act as though he or she is separate from the body and no one has the right to exclude others from the body. For the body to function properly, all parts of the body are needed. 

God created each of us and expects us to faithfully serve according to our unique giftedness. As a leader, you view every person of your community as a crucial part and you assist every person to live out his or her giftedness in relationship with others. 

“Members of the Body”

Maybe you can think of it this way. 

One day it occurred to the Members of the Body that they were doing all the work while the Stomach did nothing but store all the food. So, the Members of the Body held a meeting and decided to strike until the Stomach consented to do its share of the work. 

The strike began. 

The Hands refused to take the food, the Mouth refused to receive it, and the Teeth had no work to do. After a day or two, the Members began to find that they themselves were in poor condition: the Hands could hardly move, and the Mouth was parched and dry, while the Legs were unable to support the rest of the Body. It was at that moment, the Members of the Body discovered that the Stomach was doing necessary work for the whole Body to be healthy.  The Members decided that they all must work together for the Body to function properly. 

Your Role as a Leader

As a leader, you work to make sure every person of your community makes their contribution to the whole of the community. 

Maybe you can think of it this way. A great orchestra had gathered to rehearse with a celebrated conductor. As the music reached a crescendo, every instrument was being played, except for one.  Distracted, the piccolo player had momentarily lost his place on the page of music.  He hoped his instrument wouldn’t be missed.  Suddenly, the conductor brought down his arm and silenced the orchestra.  He looked over the group of musicians and asked, “I didn’t hear the piccolo. Where is the piccolo?” A skilled leader, like a skilled conductor, assists every person in the community, regardless of perceived importance, to make his or her contribution. Every part of the system is crucial, even those that seem small and less significant.

Now, why is this important? For God’s love to be known by all people in creation, it takes all of us, related to each other and working together, to connect with the people beyond ourselves. Each of us has our part in the body. 

Four Functions of a Nurturing Community

To use Paul’s metaphor, what does it have to do with our part in the nurturing community, the Body of Christ? It means the following: 

1. We see through the eyes of Christ

When we see each other as God sees us, we see with the love of God. There are distinctions and differences, but no one distinction has greater value than the other. In other words, there are distinctions of black and white, male and female, east and west, but all are one in Christ. Through the eyes of Christ every person is a child of God, a person of worth. As a leader, nurturing community means, you are leading people to see each other as God sees them and to see the world in loving concern. 

There is no selective service in caring for people. Seeing through the eyes of Christ means we see all people and not just the people who are like us. Where there is suffering, poverty, injustice, hatred, etc., you assist the people entrusted to your care to see Jesus.

2. We speak with the voice of Christ

When you speak, use words of care and compassion. Don’t confine the voice of Christ to those with whom you agree or with those who agree with you. Speak to human beings in every situation and every condition.  It is not a matter of a social gospel or a personal gospel.  Nor is it a matter of who is progressive or who is conservative. No, it does not matter who is a Democrat or who is a Republican. It is a matter of God’s love spoken into the lives of every human life.  Remember Jesus’ sermon recorded in Luke 4? He used the words of Isaiah, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He had sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). 

To speak with the voice of Christ is to use your voice with words of love (agape).  Whether it be in our families or with our enemies, no area is off-limits to God’s Word (Jesus, the Word made flesh). As a leader, you have been anointed to speak the good news and to equip those entrusted to you to speak to all who will listen. 

Paul in this letter to the church in Ephesus wrote: “Let no evil talk of out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). As a leader, speak with the voice of Christ, so that those who need a kind, caring, and encouraging word, hear your voice of love, support, and care.  

3. We heal with the hands of Christ

 When you respond to human need, respond with the hands of hope and healing. Sometimes hope and healing come with grace and forgiveness. Do you remember the story of Hosea? As a prophet to Israel, Hosea’s job was to predict the nations’ exile and later restoration.  In order to illustrate God’s love for the nation, he was commanded to marry Gomer, a prostitute. He did so, but his heart was broken when she proved unfaithful and left him. Later, Hosea sought out an emotionally broken and financially destitute Gomer, forgave her, and renewed their marriage relationship.

Hosea’s love for Gomer serves as a picture of God’s love for unfaithful people.  It serves as an example for us to follow.  There will be times you are called upon, as the leader, to seek out, forgive and restore those who have wronged you. Such actions will require the compassionate and grace-filled hands of Christ. 

Sometimes hope and healing come with justice and compassion among the poor and the elderly; in the divisions that continue between races, the inequities that continue between female and male, and the widening economic gap between rich and poor. The healing of hands of Christ are needed among those who are economically deprived and politically oppressed, as well among those who have everything except what they need to make what they have worthwhile and meaningful. As a leader, assist those entrusted to you to heal with the healing hands of Christ. 

4. We breathe with the breath of Christ

We are not only a human organization or institution, we are living and breathing organisms. In fact, we have no community without the breath of Christ. On the day of Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit to empower the church to be agape for all people. Because of God’s love for each of us, regardless of who we are or what we have done, God uses us to reach all people with his love. That is why, as a leader, assist people in finding connections in the community and in making their contributions of hope and healing. 

A Critical Moment

You are at a critical point in your leadership. This is a unique time filled with opportunity and promise. Will you step into this opportunity to nurture community to see with the eyes of Christ, to speak with the voice of Christ, to heal with the hands of Christ, and to breathe in the breath of Christ? God has provided the people you need to take a step into this opportunity. 

Think about it and reflect upon it. How can I come alongside you to assist you in making the connections needed, to make your God-given contribution to your nurturing community? 

Remember, who you are is how you lead. Your next steps reveal your place in the Body and the God given contributions you are making. 

When you need and want assistance, remember that Sara Thomas and I are with you on your leadership journey. When we can be of encouragement or help, contact us at connect@transformingmission.org. We are ready to assist you with insights and resources in becoming a courageous leader.   Check out LeaderCast. On the podcast this week, Sara and I  introduce our theme for June, “Rest, Relaxation, and Play.” If you want to build community, or deepen community connections, join us for Episode 180. Become a regular LeaderCast listener. Subscribe and listen to a new episode each week as well as catch up on past episodes. LeaderCast is one resource you will want to have as you navigate the leadership challenges of 2021.

Have you sensed the excitement of the people around you as the directives of the pandemic are being loosened? People are ready to get back to gathering. Whether it is with family, neighborhoods and playgrounds, schools and churches, weddings, graduations, birthday parties, reunions, funerals, etc., people are ready to get back to the community aspects of their lives. 

Before the pandemic, community life consumed most of our time.  Our interactions with one another influenced the way we thought and felt about the world and each other. We came together to exchange information, to inspire one another, and to develop relationships that brought a deep richness and joy to our lives. 

Community

Over the past year, the absence of gathering in community groups and activities has left a void that many people are ready to fill. Because people are hungry and yearning for the relationships of community, you have a unique opportunity to develop and nurture the social interactions people are missing. You were created to lead at this point and time in history. So, how will you lead? There might be other choices or alternatives, but the way I perceive it, you will either slide into the way things were before the pandemic or you will lead into a new way of living and loving. 

Remember, community is about the interrelatedness of people. It’s about belonging to something larger than ourselves. It helps people say, “I am a valued part of this body and have contributions to make”. The essence of community is a feeling of being in relationship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals centered in Jesus.  

With that in mind, I am assuming that you want to lead people into relationships that bring value and joy to their lives. So, how can you take advantage of this opportunity? Below are three questions to help bring clarity to your leading. 

1.What is the purpose of your gathering? 

To nurture community, you must keep your purpose or your mission in mind.  Your purpose becomes your plumb line for your decisions. 

Maybe you could think of it this way: We gather to worship. We gather to solve problems and make decisions. We gather to celebrate, to mourn, and to mark transitions. We gather because we need one another. We gather to honor and to acknowledge. We gather to strengthen our schools and neighborhoods. We gather to welcome, and we gather to say goodbye. There are many good reasons for coming together as a community, but too often we don’t know why we are getting together. What could happen if you looked at each gathering as an opportunity to focus upon your purpose?    

You nurture community by bringing meaning to your gathering. Without a focus upon why you are getting together, you end up meeting in ways that don’t connect with or nurture the people entrusted to your care. 

IRL Example

Let’s say the purpose of your community is to grow Jesus followers who live, and love like him.  Your Finance committee is gathering for their regular meeting. What is the purpose of their gathering? If you say the committee is meeting to oversee the finances of the church, to pay the bills, and to discuss ways to raise revenue, you would be correct in that is what they do. To focus only upon what they do without the plumb line of your purpose, people begin to solve all the problems of the church. They begin to talk about the people who only take but never give. The idea of scarcity sets in and they begin to protect the assets of the community. There is an uneasiness and tension which tears at the fabric of trust and compassion. 

I think you would agree, that is not the purpose of the Finance committee. You nurture community by leading the Finance community in developing the relationships that help people grow as Jesus followers who live, and love like him. So, as the leader, how do you take advantage of the opportunity? Could you introduce a devotional moment focused on scripture? Have members of the group answer a question like, “Who was someone who was influential in you becoming a follower of Jesus?” Or have members pray specifically for one another? 

You already know you can do the same with any group that meets. The question is, how will you take advantage of these opportunities to nurture relationships. 

Explore the blog and podcast page to explore examples of how others are leading and loving in a new way. (Note: Episodes 159 – 162 of Leadercast are all about Purpose.) The point is there are resources to assist you in developing and putting into action a plan for living into your purpose. 

2. Who are the people involved in your gathering?

To nurture community, you build up and equip the people entrusted to your care. People are your greatest resource. 

Every group is made up of different individuals who work for a common purpose. As the leader, you look for the potential in each person and you develop that potential. You not only recognize their strengths and gifts, but you also realize that a diversity of strengths and differences in ability are crucial for the health of the group.  

Each person has unique strengths and gifts for the good of the community. Individuals might find pleasure and joy in their specific gifts, but the gifts are given to the group. As a leader, you have the opportunity to assist in discovering and developing the strengths and gifts of the group. To put it another way, you have the opportunity to lead people into becoming who God has created them to be. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, wrote it this way, “…until we all reach unity in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of God” Ephesians 4:13.

According to Paul, Jesus understood the importance of building up and equipping people.  From his perspective, the people nurtured by Jesus were the foundation stones of his movement, “some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 14:11). Each person was given unique gifts to enhance the community of followers.  The gifts were given not only for the enjoyment of the recipients but for the purpose of having all people become who God had created them to be.

Building Up and Equipping People

By building up and equipping the people entrusted to your care, you can find pleasure in developing their strengths and capabilities. There is satisfaction in finding the potential in others, treating even difficult people with dignity and compassion.

Maybe you will consider this. Jesus saw great potential in his disciples. The potential that might have been overlooked by others, was developed by Jesus investing his life in them.  Barnabas did the same in his relationship with Saul. He worked to develop that potential until he had the pleasure of seeing Saul become Paul (Acts 11:1-14:28). Paul did the same with Onesimus (Philemon 1-25). Consider the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and Paul’s emphasis upon building up the lives of others in II Timothy 2:2

People are your greatest resource. Who are the people entrusted to you? In whom will you invest your life so they and you will become who God has created you to be? 

Sara Thomas can assist you in discovering the strengths of the people entrusted to you.

3. How will you model the love of God with the people around you? 

Jesus told his followers to love one another in the same way he loved them. This was a new and different kind of love. You live this love by:

  • Being quick to listen and slow to speak. You elevate the importance of a person when you take them seriously by listening. It is important for people to know that you care enough to listen to them.
  • Being patient and slow to anger. Regardless of how unkind and hurtful people might be, you show the same patience with others as God has shown to you.
  • Being kind. You build meaningful relationships when you are kind. Being kind helps with connection and cooperation, as well as trust and well-being.
  • Being generous. You are slow to pass judgment and quick to offer grace. You freely offer space and time for people to be who they have been created to be. Ask questions like “How can I help you?” or “What do you need from me to do what you need to do?”  

Showing Love

The early followers of Jesus showed love in everything they did.  For them, to love God and to love the people around them was the motivation for everything. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Everything should be done in love” (I Corinthians 16:14 CEB).

If you need assistance in living in the love experienced in and through Jesus, invite 3 to 5 people to join you once a week for an hour to discover and discuss what it means to live in a relationship with one another. Remember, at the heart of our relationships is the love of God we know in and through Jesus. Jesus is our common bond and it is greater than anything or anyone else.  It is the love of God who draws us into community and who loves us in and through each other. 

Again, you can explore blog posts and podcast episodes to encourage and guide you. In fact, this section on “How will you model the love of God with the people around you?” is directly from two blog posts: One Never-Before Opportunity to Lead and One Thing More Important Than Mission.

People are hungry and yearning for the relationships they have missed over the past year. You have a unique opportunity to develop and nurture those relationships for this point and time in history. So, how will you lead? Will you slide into the way things were before the pandemic or lead to a new way of living and loving? 

Who you are is how you lead. What is one thing you will do this week to help you lead into this new way of living and loving?

Reminders

As I have mentioned throughout this blog, when you need and want assistance, remember that Sara Thomas and I are with you in your leadership journey. When we can be of encouragement or help, contact us at connect@transformingmission.org. We are ready to assist you with insights and resources in becoming a courageous leader.  

Check out LeaderCast. On the podcast this week, Sara and I continue our conversation with April Casperson, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the West Ohio Conference. This will be Part 2 of our conversation of working better across differences.   

If you want to build community, or deepen community connections, join us for Episode 179. If you have not been a regular LeaderCast listener, you will want to start with this episode. LeaderCast is one resource you will want to have as you navigate the leadership challenges of 2021.  

Over the past year, in the midst of a pandemic, you have done some amazing things. You have kept yourself and the people you are leading focused upon the mission. You have learned new ways of doing important things. You have identified obstacles and navigated around them. You have even discovered and developed the potential in people who have stepped up to serve. Well done! 

As you reflect upon what you have accomplished, what would you say has been the most important thing you have done as a leader? Now, you might not agree with me, but as I look at it, the most important thing you have done is nurture community. 

What Does It Mean to Nurture Community?

Community is about the interrelatedness of people. It’s about belonging to something larger than ourselves. It helps people say, “I am a valued part of this body and have contributions to make”. The essence of community is a feeling of being in relationship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals centered in Jesus. 

Through a stressful time of disconnection, you have been a catalyst to holding people together. You have done more than manage people and coordinate events. You have nurtured community.

What does it mean to nurture community?    

Agape

To answer that question, let’s start with the biblical image of “agape”. Although “agape” is not a word we used in our everyday language, it is a concept found in the New Testament of the Bible. It is a Greek word, rarely found in the non-Christian Greek literature, used to describe the distinct kind of love found in the community of Jesus followers. It is the love embodied in the life and ministry of Jesus. This kind of love is at the heart of Christian community.  

Agape defines God’s immeasurable, incomparable love for us, all of us, as human beings. It is God’s ongoing, outgoing, self-sacrificing interest and concern for creation. God loves you, me, humanity, and all creation without condition. 

To put it another way, this love is not contingent on any value or worth of the object being loved. It is spontaneous and does not consider beforehand whether love will be effective or proper. It is the extension of God’s love lived out in and through our relationships with each other. 

Agape love is: 

More than an emotion. 

It is the highest form of love described and experienced in the Bible. As much as I like Hallmark Christmas movies, the love that holds the community together is not a Hallmark movie love. As much as we talk about the church being a family, this love is greater than friends and family. In fact, this love is greater than race, color, or belief.

More than unity. 

As much as I dislike conflict, this love is not about “getting along” with one another. Sometimes, for the sake of unity, we set this love aside and become nice instead of loving. It is in the midst of our differences and disagreements that this love is the source of our relationships. The purpose of the early church was not unity but agape, the love of God as experience in Jesus.

More than transactional. 

Too many times we talk of loving others so we can save their souls, get them into the church, or meet our budgets. This love is greater than our institutional concerns.  We love because God in Christ first loved us.  Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” This love is about being who God created us to be for no other reason that being who God created us to be.

Expressed through action. 

Too often we talk about love and loving others but are slow to live the love we talk about. John, in his first letter wrote, “Those who say, ‘I love God’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars. After all, those who don’t love their brothers or sisters whom they have seen can hardly love God whom they have not seen! This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also” (I John 4:19-21).

I have a friend who tells of when his son came into his office one day and said, “Dad, can we go to the park and practice ball today?” My friend said he was busy and told his son they would go later. His son came to him everyday that week asking him to go to the park and practice ball. It so happened that every time his son came to him, he could not go to the park at that moment. At the end of the week, the boy came to him again, “Dad, can we go to the park today?” My friend replied that they could go later. It was at this point that the boy looked at his father and said, “Dad, we have been talking about going to the park all week.  When are we going to do it?”

A different kind of love. 

Jesus told his followers to love one another in the same way he loved them. This was a new and different kind of love. You live this love by:  

Listening

You are quick to listen and slow to speak. You elevate the importance of a person when you take them seriously by listening. It is important for people to know that you care enough to listen to them. Too often, in conversations, we are forming our responses and interrupting before the other person finishes speaking.  As important as your position and opinion might be, it is more important to listen, especially to those with whom you disagree.

Being Patient

You are slow to anger. You are patient with people more than patient with circumstances. Regardless of how unkind and hurtful people might be, you show the same patience with others as God has shown with you. The patience of love always wins.

Being Kind

On one hand, you are quick to compliment and to affirm, and on the other hand, you are clear with feedback. You build meaningful relationships when you are kind. Being kind helps with connection and cooperation, as well as trust and well-being.

Being Generous

You are slow to pass judgment and quick to offer grace. You freely offer space and time for people to be who they have been created to be. So, when people don’t move as fast as you, you are generous with “they are doing the best they can do.” Then you ask, “How can I help you?” or “What do you need from me to do what you need to do?” Being generous means, you are providing what is at the time. 

This love is so important, that the early followers of Jesus showed love in everything they did.  For them, to love God and to love the people around them was motivation for everything. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Everything should be done in love” (I Corinthians 16:14 CEB). Agape love is the essence of God. So, it makes sense to love one another as God has loved us. 

With that in mind, there is one thing more important than the mission. Without it, there is no mission and there is no church.

One Thing More Important

Fred Craddock tells the following story, “I was walking one afternoon, and I passed a corner where a man was doing something that fascinated me.  I stopped my walk and watched him.  He had a pile of bricks, and the thing he was doing was measuring each brick; how long it was, how wide it was, and how deep it was.  He threw a bunch of good-looking bricks out.  He said, “I have to get them all exactly the same.” 

I asked, “Why?” 

He said, “I’m building a church and I want it to stand.” 

Craddock said, “There are people who think that the way to really have a church is to get people that are from the same economic and social and educational background, then they will all be together.”  He said, “The man started stacking those brinks; they were all just alike.  I went by the next afternoon, and they were all just piles of brick.  They fell down.” 

I went on around the corner, and I saw a man with a pile of rocks.  You have never seen such a mess in your life.  No two of them alike, round one, dark ones, small ones, big ones, and little ones.  I said, “What in the world are you doing?” 

He said, “I’m building a church.” 

I said, “You are nuts!  The fellow around the corner had them all alike, and he couldn’t make it stand.” 

He said, “This will stand.” 

“No, it won’t.  It won’t stand.” 

“Yes, it will.” 

Craddock said, “You can’t get it to stand.  The fellow around the corner… 

The man said, “It will stand.” 

The man went over to a wood tray, took something like a hoe, and began to stir something back and forth.  It looked a lot like cement to me, but that’s not what he called it.  He put healthy doses of that between the stones.  I went back thirty-four years later, and it was still there.  It was that stuff in between that looked a lot like cement that made the difference.  That’s not what he called it.  But you know what it’s called. 

There is one thing more important than mission. You know what it is, don’t you? Let me know what difference it makes in how you lead within your community.

Remember, who you are is how you lead. 

A Reminder

When you need and want assistance, remember that Sara Thomas and I are with you in your leadership journey. When we can be of encouragement or help, contact us at connect@transformingmission.org. We are ready to assist you with insights and resources in becoming a courageous leader. 

Check out LeaderCast. On the podcast this week, Sara and I continue our discussion on “community” with our guest, Christ Wiseman. Chris is the pastor of the Marne, Smith Chapel, and Perryton United Methodist Churches. If you have not been a LeaderCast listener, I invite you to join us for Episode 177. LeaderCast is one resource you will want to have as you navigate the leadership challenges of 2021. 

When you hear the word “community,” what comes to mind? The geographic area in which you live? The church to which you belong? Or do you think of actions like service, development, or outreach? As a leader, have you considered how you lead within each context?   

Community leadership is unique in its approach and goals. It is not about managing or coordinating people or events. It is not about dictating or imposing ideas onto others. So, what does it mean to lead within a community?

Koinonia

To answer that question, let’s start with a biblical image of a community called “koinonia.” Although the word “koinonia” is not a word we use in our everyday language, it is a concept we seek to live. It is a Greek word which means “fellowship, sharing in common, or communion. 

It is first used in Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Koinonia is a key aspect of Christian community. Jesus followers come together, as a community, in love, faith, and encouragement. 

Images of Koinonia

Several images of koinonia are found in the words “one another.” Some of those images are: 

The essence of koinonia is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals centered in Jesus. 

Leadership Actions

With that in mind, what does it mean to lead within a community? In addition to traits of effective and courageous leadership, such as integrity, vulnerability, and responsibility, here are ten traits you need as a leader:    

1. Purpose

Leading within a community means not only thinking for today, or even tomorrow but being able to make wise decisions that will still benefit people long after you are gone. It is Jesus who connects us. Value what holds the community together as followers of Jesus regardless of cultural, denominational, social, or political differences. Keep the main thing the main thing and move toward your goal.

2. People

Leading within a community means people are your business. People are your greatest resource. So, invest in the people entrusted to your care. Focus upon what you can give people instead of what you can get from people. Keeping your purpose in mind, what can you contribute to the people around you so all may share in the life and love of Jesus?

3. Relationships

Leading within a community means you develop deep and meaningful relationships. Koinonia involves active participation in giving and receiving.  In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells of Gentile believers in Macedonia who had nothing in common with the Jewish believers in Jerusalem except Christ. (Romans 15:26-27). In The Acts of the Apostles, Luke focuses upon the relationship among believers (Acts 2), while in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul focuses upon the generosity within the community. (II Corinthians

4. Identify and Maximize the Strengths

As a leader within a community, you work with volunteers. They might be elected by the community, assigned to work within the community, or have stepped up to help. In any case, these are the people in whom you invest. It is your job to identify the strengths and interests of each person, to engage each person in the community, and to celebrate each meaningful contribution.

5. Recognize Needs

While each person brings unique strengths and talents, each person also brings unique needs to be met. Some have a need to control, while others have a need to be appreciated for time and service. As a community leader, your job is to recognize and balance the needs of the people while keeping your focus on your purpose. Here is another place to remember that your leadership is not about you.

6. Work as a Team

Community leadership involves equipping people for the good of the whole community. As convenient as it is to “just do it yourself,” leadership within a community means you equip others to work together as you focus upon your purpose. As the leader, you model the difference between being an efficient leader and being an effective leader. An efficient leader might take a task away from someone who is not completing their work in a timely manner. An effective leader will ensure that the person gets the support they need to complete the task. Effectiveness takes more time than efficiency. Community leadership is about building relationships, coming alongside people, and working together. To lead a team of people takes time and patience. But the purpose of community is to support one another and to assist one another along the way. 

7. Lead by Example

There is a myth that leaders lead, and doers do. But in a community, leading by example is often the most effective way to get full buy-in and participation. There are no “hands off” approaches when leading within a community. Your leadership includes arriving early, staying late, cleaning up, and generally rolling up your sleeves to pitch in.

8. Be Accountable

Leading within a community is about people. Yes, there are policies, processes, and procedures to oversee, but your leadership is about people. Because people are your business, you are accountable to the people you serve. Be authentic and vulnerable. Stay focused upon why you are doing what you are doing, assess the needs, identify the strengths, take responsibility for finding the potential in people, and develop that potential. Leading within a community is about assisting people to become who they are created to be.

9. Recruit, Equip, and Mentor New Leaders

Leading within a community is about leaving a legacy. Learn to give your work away as you keep in mind the people who will be around after you are gone. Develop a succession plan to keep the community strong as you move forward into the future. Too often leaders get caught up in what needs to be done today and forget about tomorrow. Developing leaders for the future is an important aspect of community leadership. Having a healthy base of leaders to take on new responsibilities is an indicator of a healthy community.

10. Lead from Within and Not from Above

Leading within a community is about demonstrating effective and courageous leadership. You start with self-leadership and self-responsibility. Then you lead by example. You come alongside others asking what they need from you to get their work done. Instead of seeking entitlements and privileges, you are empowering others to demonstrate effective and courageous leadership as well. You walk beside them, listen to them, and assist them in discovering and developing their own potential as leaders. Instead of taking on problems and attempting to fix everything yourself, mobilize and guide others, and facilitate what needs to be done to provide long-term health and vitality of the community. 

The essence of community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals centered in Jesus. So, how are you leading within your community? 

Practice What You’re Learning

Taking in consideration the above, here is an exercise that will help you lead within your community. I learned this exercise from the comedian, Michael Jr. 

As you reflect upon how you are leading, think of three people within your community. People other than family and friends. Get their faces in your mind and their names on your lips. Now, this week contact each of them and say these three sentences: “I love you.” “I appreciate you.” And “I’m sorry I don’t say these things to you enough.” Let me know what difference it makes in how you lead within your community. remember, who you are is how you lead.

When you need and want assistance, remember that Sara Thomas and I are with you in your leadership journey. When we can be of encouragement or help, contact us at connect@transformingmission.org. We are ready to assist you with insights and resources in becoming a courageous leader. 

Check out LeaderCast. On the podcast this week, Sara and I introduce “community” as our topic for the month of May. Our discussion will be on “Three Aspects of a Nurturing Community.” If you have not been a LeaderCast listener, I invite you to join us for Episode 176. LeaderCast is one resource you will want to have as you navigate the leadership challenges of 2021.  

How are you?

I’m not being perfunctory. I really want to know. You are leading during a time like no other time in history. You have been navigating a pandemic, balancing work responsibilities at home with family life, and now, trying to make sense of the recurring evil of racism.

If you tell me you are tired, I understand. You may want to tell me you are ready for things to go back to the way they were. I get it.  If you tell me that you feel helpless regarding making a difference in anything you are facing at the moment, I want you to stop, take a deep breath, and walk with me for a few minutes.

As a leader, you can change the world.

Like no other time in history, you have the opportunity to shape a future without racism. To fight this disease that threatens the lives and dignity of so many of our sisters and brothers, you must become the courageous leader God has gifted you to be. Antiracist work is hard and exhausting, but you have been created to lead for such a time as this.

If you are willing, walk with me a little further. I’m going to ask three questions. They are for you and your reflection. I don’t need to know the answers. All I ask is that you be honest with yourself.

 1. Are you a racist or an antiracist?

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, in his book How to Be an Antiracist, writes “A racist is someone who is supporting a racist policy by their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea. An antiracist is someone who is supporting an antiracist policy by their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.” He says that “racist” and “antiracist” are labels like nametags. They are not permanent. They are placed and replaced based upon what you might be doing or not doing, supporting, or expressing at any given moment.   

What is interesting is, there is no “not racist” category. Not racist claims neutrality. The opposite of racist is antiracist. You either agree that some racial groups are better and should be on top of a scale of education, employment, opportunities, etc. or you are working for racial equality.  Here’s another choice: You either believe problems are rooted in groups of people or the problems are rooted in power and policies. You either allow racial inequities to persevere or you confront racial inequities. There is no in-between safe space of “not racist.” In fact, “not racist” neutrality is a mask for racism.

Have you ever heard someone say, regarding recognizing the differences of people, “I’m color blind”?  This statement is related to the idea of being “not racist.” This sounds harsh, but color-blind individuals, by failing to see race, fail to see racism and fall into racist passivity. Saying “I don’t see color” or “I’m color blind” is a mask for racism.

Before you get angry and walk away, both the ideas of “not racist” and “I’m color blind” are interwoven into the fabric of our culture.  In 1896, United States Supreme Court Justice John Harlan proclaimed in the case that legalized Jim Crow segregation, “Our Constitution is color-blind. The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage.” A color-blind Constitution for a White-supremacist America.

2. Are you willing to struggle with your humanity and the humanity of others? 

Being a racist or an antiracist are not fixed identities. You can be a racist one minute and an antiracist the next. What you say about race, in each moment, determines what you are not who you are. The movement from racist to antiracist is always going on. It requires knowledge and understanding.  It requires the intentional work of turning away from racism based upon biology, ethnicity, body, culture, behavior, color, and class. And beyond that, it means standing ready to fight at racism’s intersections with other bigotries.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi writes, “No one becomes a racist or antiracist. We can only strive to be one or the other. We can unknowingly strive to be a racist. We can knowingly strive to be an antiracist. Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.”

Are you willing to enter the struggle? Many of us don’t want to be in the racist category because there is shame attached to it.  No one want to be labeled “racist.” But we don’t want to be in the antiracist category because there is so much work attached to it.

Here’s one of many challenges: we know how to be racist. We know how to pretend to be not racist. The question is, are you ready and willing to be antiracist?

If you are still with me, I know you are ready, have been ready, and are already working to be the courageous leader needed to navigate and lead through this time in history. Let’s take one more step.

3. Where did I learn this thinking or feeling?

Racism is complicated. It is woven into the politics and power of our government, the policies of our schools, the practices of our public safety systems, and the politics and practices of our churches. The truth is racism is woven into everything we hold near and dear.  One of the steps we must take to be antiracist is to recognize our own participation in racism and how we continue to perpetuate it.

I have one more question for your reflection. It is in relationship to different forms of racism.  As you read each form, ask yourself this question, “Where did I learn this thinking or feeling?” I will remind you of the question after each category.

 Biological Racist

  • One who is expressing the idea that the races are meaningfully different in their biology and that these differences create a hierarchy of value.

Biological racial difference is one of those widely held racist beliefs that few people realize they hold. They do not realize that those beliefs are rooted in racist ideas.

We often see and remember the race and not the individual. So, we place all people into certain and selected color-marked categories. He acted that way because he is Black. She acted that way because she is Asian.

Biological Antiracist

  • One who is expressing the idea that the races are meaningfully the same in their biology and there are no genetic racial differences.

An antiracist treats and remembers individuals as individuals. “She acted that way, not because she is White but because she is racist.”

Here’s a Question to Consider:

  • When I think and feel that that non-white people are biologically inferior to white people, where did I learn this thinking or feeling?”

Bodily Racist

  • One who is perceiving certain bodies as more animal-like and violent than others.

The research reveals that Americans today see a Black body as larger, more threatening, more potentially harmful, and more likely to require force to control than a similarly sized White body.  No wonder a Black body had to be lynched by the thousands, deported by the tens of thousands, incarcerated by the millions, segregated by the tens of millions.

Over the years, we have taught ourselves and our children that the violence in America has a Black face. In fact, as far back as the 1600’s the Black body was demonized as being a beast and less than human.

Bodily Antiracist

  • “One who is humanizing, deracializing, and individualizing nonviolent and violent behavior.”

The research reveals a stronger more prevalent correlation between violent crime and unemployment than violent crime and race. If Black people are violent demons, then the violent-crime levels would be relatively the same no matter where Black people live.  But Black upper-middle-income and middle-income neighborhoods tend to have less violent crime than low-income neighborhoods.  The research reveals that low-income neighborhoods struggle with unemployment and poverty and their typical by-product is violent crime.

Here’s a Question to Consider:

When I feel afraid of a Black man or woman or feel uneasy driving through a “Black” neighborhood,” where did I learn this thinking or feeling?”

There are other forms of racists like ethnicity, culture, behavior, class, gender, sexuality, etc. The question is, “where did I learn my thinking and feeling toward people who are different?”

I am grateful that you have been willing to walk with me to this point.  We will take another step in another blog. I am also grateful that you can see that your leadership is needed to grow a new generation of antiracists.

You can find more information about being an antiracist by reading the book How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi.  You can also find a list of resources on an earlier blog titled, “Overcoming Racism.”

Sara Thomas and I are leading a group discussion regarding racism and antiracism.  Click here to register your interest in participating.

Over the past several weeks as I have reflected upon how to respond to the violence of our day, I keep coming back to the words, “Love your neighbor.” And I keep asking myself the question, “How do we love our neighbor when our neighbor is a neighborhood? When our neighbor is a different culture? When our neighbors disagree? When our neighbor is considered an “enemy”?

It may be too simplistic here, but most people think the Christian life consists of private, one-to-one relationships. Certainly this is a part of it. If we think being nice and smiling is all we need to do to live as followers of Jesus. We’re not living the full Christian life. We need to deepen relationships and live into loving our neighbor. Read more

Tom Wiles, while university chaplain at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, purchased a new pickup truck.  While the truck was parked in his driveway, his neighbor’s basketball post fell against the truck leaving dents and scrapes on the passenger door.  The scratches looked like deep white scars on the new truck exterior. 

A friend happened to notice the scrapes and asked, “What happened here?” 

Disciple-making involves building relationships. Growing in love with Jesus is at the heart of discipleship. But, we have a challenge in western culture. #jesus #disciple #discipleship #faith transforming mission

Tom replied with a downcast voice, “My neighbor’s basketball post fell and left those dents. I asked him about it. He doesn’t feel responsible for the damage.” 

“You’re kidding! How awful! This truck is so new I can smell it.” His friend continued, “Did you contact your insurance company? How are you going to get him to pay for it?” 

Tom replied, “This has been a real spiritual journey for me.  After a lot of soul-searching and discussions with my wife about hiring an attorney, it came down to this: I can either be in the right, or I can be in a relationship with my neighbor.  Since my neighbor will probably be with me longer than the truck, I decided to focus on our relationship.  Besides, trucks are meant to be banged up, so I got mine initiated into the real world a bit earlier than I expected.”¹

In Relationship or In the Right?

Wow!  How many times have we sacrificed being “in relationship” for the personal satisfaction of being “in the right?” How many times have we won the argument, but lost a friend or damaged a heart?  

Did Jesus come to teach us “right” theology? Or did he come to redeem our relationships with God and with one another? Jesus’ own prayer in John 17 revolves around the stewardship of his relationships.  He saved the world by teaching twelve individuals how to get along and to belong to one another.  In other words, Jesus saved the world by teaching them how to be in a relationship with one another. 

This should not surprise any of us who call ourselves Christian. Relationships are central to Christian theology because God is love. Love is impossible outside of relationships. Relationships are central to God’s kingdom, the new creation.  From my perspective, we have no choice but to live with, listen to, and learn from one another. 

We have a disciple-making challenge in western, American culture. At the root of the challenge is relationships. #faith #jesus #disciple #discipleship #transformingmission

Courageous Leadership

In our work of developing leaders, we have learned that improving relationships and sharing the stories of those relationships are indicators of courageous leadership. We are learning:  

  1. Nothing takes the place of being a Jesus follower.  Being in a relationship with God and with one another, in and through Jesus, is central to our witness and to our leadership. Relationships are key to Jesus followers and are taken seriously by courageous leaders.  
  2. The Word of God, the scripture, bears fruit, not when it is comprehended, but then it is lived. The fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) found in Galatians 5:22-23 is proven in and through relationships. Knowing about Jesus; his life, teaching, and message, is part of being a student of Jesus. But following Jesus, becoming like him, growing in grace and sharing that grace, requires not only thought but a transformation of heart, soul, mind and strength.  No one has ever become more like Jesus by saying, “If I just think hard enough about Jesus, I’ll become more like Jesus.” When relationships are healthy, our lives, our work environment, and our congregations become healthier.   
  3. Developing healthy relationships is hard work. Because it is hard work, it is hard to identify quantifiable behaviors (relational ministry), so we end up focusing on what we can count (membership, attendance, finances, etc.). When relationships are healthy, there are stories to back up the relationships. Relationships, not numbers, show if growth is biblical, healthy, and truly fruitful.  

Evidence of Spiritual Fruit 

So, maybe it is time to declare a moratorium on statistics in the church. What if the one thing we reported on was the answer to this question: “What is the evidence that spiritual fruit being produced in my church?  Give us the stories, not more statistics.    

When we are focused more on being right than upon relationships, our disciple-making conversations are reduced to what we do not have in the church.  It is at that point we begin to protect what we have and yearn for the “good ole days” when we had children, youth, young families, people involved in church activities, and money for ministry. 

It’s Not a Scarcity Problem

It is difficult when the focus is on shrinking resources and lack of people who want to engage in the mission. But the disciple-making challenge is not a scarcity problem.  More money and more people will not fix it.  If we go back to the “good ole days” and project forward, we don’t have a scarcity problem, we have a disciple-making problem.   

Read more or listen to Episode 051 of LeaderCast: We Have a Disciple-Making Problem

The disciple-making challenge is not focused upon getting more people into the church building, although we all would welcome more people. The disciple-making challenge is focused on leading and assisting people in becoming Jesus followers. And that begins with relationships.

It’s a Relationship Problem

We don’t have a scarcity problem, we have a relationship problem. We are convinced that when God’s love is lived out in our relationships: reaching out and receiving new people in God’s love, offering God’s love in Jesus, practicing God’s love in relationships, and engaging our communities in God’s love, our greatest focus will not be upon “do we have enough money or people,” but will be upon “are we breaking God’s heart?”  

There is no quick fix program for our disciple-making challenge.  We can’t expect to fix it overnight. But we can start today. Ready to get started?

We invite you to begin the experiment introduced at the end of LeaderCast Episode 050 and Episode 051 of LeaderCast. No time to listen? Download the Sqaure Sqaud experiment here. Whatever you do, take a step toward building new relationships with people in your community.

In Christ, 

Tim Bias and Sara Thomas

 

  1. Story adapted from Out of the Question…Into the Mystery, by Leonard Sweet. Chapter 7, Loving the ‘One Anothers’: When Being Right Is Just Plain Wrong, page 91. 

Emmanuel

God disrupted all creation as Emmanuel. In the midst of all the chaos and crisis, in the midst of the violence and pain, and in the midst of despair and grief, God came to be with us. God came to be with us with true peace and love.

Emmanuel means “God with us.” God came to us. God left God’s place and came to our place. When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife…she gave birth to a son.

Joseph called him Jesus. Jesus means “Savior” or, “saves his people.” Together, the names Emmanuel and Jesus help us see in the birth of Jesus, God has come to heal us and to make us whole.

A New Year

What would happen if this new year, you and I think differently about ministry? In addition to inviting people to worship, what could happen if we invite the people in our congregations to serve in the community?

What would happen if we disrupted the community by leaving our places and going into the community to be with the people? What would happen if we took the love of God, the special music, the light of the world and became holy communion in the communities in which we live? God did not say “come to my place and I will give you peace.” God came to us with peace and love.

Disrupt our Communities

I will be in worship every Sunday in 2018. But in every church I worship I will be thinking of how you and I might disrupt our communities. Not for the sake of disruption. But disrupting our communities by bringing love and peace into every situation and circumstance we find ourselves.

I’ll sing the hymns, the praise songs, and listen to the music. But I will be thinking about how you and I can bring a kind, caring, encouraging word into our communities. I’ll be thinking about being God’s Word in the places we live, work, and play.

I look forward to celebrating holy communion with God’s people. But I will be thinking of how you and I might enter our communities, come alongside our neighbors, both friends and strangers, to include all people in God’s love in Jesus.

The Word became flesh and lived among us. How will you and I become part of God’s love that brings peace to our communities and goodwill to all people…whether we like them or not?

I hope you will make worship a regular part of your spiritual discipline through 2018. But even more, I hope your worship will be a true celebration of disrupting the world in which you live. Why? So that you might become more the person God created you to be.

I’ll be praying that your worship will lead you into the community with the God’s peace and love. So let it be!

disrupt our communities transforming mission

Prayer for Today

O God, disrupt my peace so that I may experience your peace. By your grace fill me with so much of your shalom that I have to disrupt the world in which I live to share your shalom in all places with all people. I offer myself to you in the name of Jesus. Amen.