Prayers please as Disciples in the MId-America region consider new ways of being Church in covenant partnership this fall. Among the many pieces of our own transformation is a proposal to help at least 50 of our 253 congregations to embark on a two year transformational journey, choosing and making use of tested processes (and effectively supported throughout those processes) and choosing ways to make use of an ambitious region-wide communications strategy in partnership with Visionworks Marketing Team - a professional communications consulting firm in Columbia Missouri. Our hope is to secure grants to help congregations fund these supportive initiatives.
In addition to prayers, we seek the wisdom of the wider Church, aware that what we do in Mid-America has an impact (positive or negative) on your own efforts to proclaim and to become Good News. We may be slow in articulating what many of you already know: regions are not meant to be silos. Our integrity is not rooted in place but in attitude and behavior and lifestyle.
Once we Disciples were known for our passion for Christian unity. You could find us at the core of local, regional, national and international efforts to identify common ground and to encourage and support efforts to launch high impact mission and ministry from there together with faith groups with greatly differing priorities and perspectives. Some of still claim that the Body of Christ would be welcome if and where it showed up - not as a pile of self-interested parts - but as a dynamic community of well-differentiated and divinely motivated members intent upon serving real communities with such excellence that people seeking faith would have cause to invest more diligently in their search.
I confess to being inadequate, inconsistent, and ineffectual in many areas of my personal and professional life but I choose not to remain stuck in what I am not or have not. I came to that stance unwillingly, motivated by thegrowing realization that we can either help or hurt the cause of Christ with our one and only life - there is no such thing as neutral effect. The older I get the more grateful I am becoming for the sacrifices of those who came before me - the really tough work of many to give us a denomination from which to serve. I appreciate more now the search for hope in the eyes of my grandchildren who, if I change nothing, do nothing more or better as a Disciple of Christ, will have to rely upon strangers to step in and rebuild from the ashes of my church leadership a new living community within which one can be equipped to be in the world as a bringer of Christ's light.
So I'll finish as I started with a request for prayers and for your wisdom. You matter. We matter. Christ matters and so do all those seeking life! Thank you.