I am passionate about leading "the church on the move."
My joy is to see followers of Christ actively engaged in using their gifts, and blazing trails in effectively reaching the world with the transforming power of the gospel. As a servant leader of Christ's church, I want to do for others what my leaders and mentors did for me: facilitate that transformational connection between life on the ground and scripture/theology.
I see the Christian faith as a journey, a way of life. Many people can affirm that "church" is the people, not the building, but were that to become a reality in how we actually function, the church would be transformed. I'm fond of using the designation "follower of Christ." As I read the gospels, the essence of the call of Jesus is action: going, sending, doing.
Creating a “Culture of Calling”
What happens when God Calls?
While there has been growth in mid-life folks feeling called to ministry after a career (or two), Central remains interested and concerned for those who hear God’s calling as youth. Last month, a small ecumenical group of pastors, denominational executives, and youth leaders met at Central to talk about youth in our churches. Specifically, how do we help churches care for middle and high school students as they make some of the most important spiritual decisions of their lives? We wanted to know how Central and church leaders could nourish a “Culture of Calling” in our congregations. How can we best weave together a variety of ways to reach these youth? The question led us to exciting plans, including something called a “Gospel Slam,” and a Sample Seminary Day.
We began by remembering how people had helped us.
A youth pastor spoke of peers who nudged, encouraged and called forth responsibilities from him. For another, it was an aunt who was a pastor who took time to ask a 6-year-old theological questions that nurtured the possibility that her ideas mattered. For others it was a pastor, church member, or Sunday School teacher who listened, gave extra time, and did not treat young people “like stupid kids.” Our stories reminded us that encouragement and guidance in our journeys of faith are indispensable.
And so, weaving together ideas we brainstormed around the table, such as a summer camp prayer partner program, a youth leaders network, seminary-centered events, a circle of calling ritual, lay leader development, seminary student mentors for youth and lay leaders – along with seed money from American Baptist Churches USA for Central’s Transformed by the Spirit Leadership Center – our Culture of Calling Group started planning. Two events to be held at Central are in the beginning stages: a Gospel Slam, a creative way for teens to share the gospel in their own words (see www.academyofpreachers.net); and a Sample Seminary Day for youth and youth leaders with classroom experiences, mentoring, celebrating and consecrating the students’ vocational callings, and discernment practice. Few goals are more urgent or important than nurturing discipleship of our youth. We are excited about the energy and creativity that the Culture of Calling ministry has produced, and we invite you to join us.