What can we do to help you?
Both congregations have now seen fit to retool us by sending us to PLI’s Missional Leader training starting this Fall. Debbie and I will be participating in what is called an immersion the first week of October on the topic of “Missional Exploration.” In total we will be part of four such immersions over the next 2 ½ years. Between immersions there will be assignments for us to work on and coaching to keep us on track. The following immersions are: Missional Living, Missional Catalyst and Missional Church.
My description, with my current understanding, is this is similar to throwing a rock into a lake. The biggest splash occurs where the rock hits, then there are ripples the radiate from that initial splash. My understanding is that Debbie and I are the initial splash and the ripples are intended to flow through our congregations.
We are set to go, but there is some pre-work that we have been asked to do. And we have found it to be helpful already! One of the parts of preparation has to do with listening. Let me see if I can convey that here.
How good we are at listening was called into question immediately. As churches, do we listen to our community? Do ask our neighbors ‘What can we do to help you?’ I recall hearing that missionaries who were sent to Africa long ago saw the clothing, or lack of clothing, worn by the people and insisted that they change how they dressed to conform to being more modest.
We know that dressing modestly is a good thing, but is that our entry point? We know that worship is important, but is that the first thing someone should do? We know that there are physical needs that people have, but is that the first thing they need?
I can’t speak for you, but I know that I rarely invest time sitting in a coffee shop and listening to the people there. I don’t have the habit of walking the streets listening to people share what they would like our church to do for them.
Just how connected are we with our community, really? When we do connect with them do they leave feeling loved? Do they have such a wonderful experience that they want to come back for more, as soon as possible?
Perhaps we can all start to ask those questions of ourselves as we move forward. Please keep us, the leaders and all those participating in your prayers!