When Adults Gather …. Significant Things Happen (Part 2)

I uncovered in graduate school, and now practice almost every day, the deeply held belief that when adults gather together, “the answers are in the room.”

My favorite adult education professor would tell you “the answers are in the room” means that the rich experiences which shape the lives of adults gives us the capacity for outstanding problem solving and the ability to see into our settings and know far more than we initially deem possible.

At a recent VantagePoint3 Enriching Retreat in Green Lake, Wisconsin, I witnessed this depth when adults work together. More than 40 adults who care deeply about their churches and people, confirmed once again that “the answers are in the room” but much more than this.  They confirmed the evidence for the Spiritual Kingdom that is already alive in the hearts of believers.

Let me explain.

At the close of the second full day we were processing together what we were each seeing and learning.  I was leading the group through pretty complex layers of reflection on individual spiritual growth, care for others, and care for our church settings.  I asked everyone to simply write down on an index card what they were seeing and learning while the session was finishing up.  We wrote in silence. Continue reading

When Adults Gather….Some Significant Things Happen (Part I)

In Eugene Peterson’s memoir, The Pastor, he humbly searches for a word to best describe the ins and outs of being a pastor over time.  To that end, he chooses the word, “witness.”

“A witness is never the center but only the person who points to or names what is going on at the center — in this case, the action and revelation of God in all the operations of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  (1)

Not all of us are pastors.  However, we are all witnesses to the ever present action of God in our midst.  If we but pay attention.

I had the privilege of being a witness at the VantagePoint3 Enriching Retreat in Green Lake, Wisconsin recently.  More than 40 adults gathered to consider how they could nurture the spiritual growth of other adults in their unique settings, as well as being interested in growing more deeply and richly and slowly in their own life of faith.

One of the most challenging aspects of Kingdom work is simply “getting people together.”  Perhaps this is because when adults DO gather…some significant things happen. Continue reading

Good Words From A Good Pastor

Jason Koleba is the lead pastor at Cochrane Alliance Church in Cochrane, Alberta.  If you get a chance to hang out with Jason, before you reach the end of your grande coffee you get a sense that he is a person in love with Jesus and His way in the world.  In fact, a concern for unleashing the church to live more missionally is a significant part of Jason’s signature, and why he knows the importance of investing in the deepening and empowering of those who call Cochrane Alliance their home.

The following are some words of encouragement and challenge he offered to those whom he had been walking alongside over the past three years, helping them discover more deeply who God is, who they are, and what God desires to do through their lives for the Kingdom.  To be honest, I find myself prayerfully hoping for similar words and letters to be given by more pastors across North America.  The church would become an attractive community again if such “walkingalongsideness” were practiced. Continue reading

A Few Good Practices

It is a good practice to glean what you can from those who know how to practice well.  Last week VP3 hosted a webinar called, “Best Practices in Local Church Leadership Development.”  Three panelists joined our time to share what they have learned over the years regarding an investment in the formation of those within their local communities.

Pam, Kent and Beth are seasoned at knowing how to notice the particulars of those whom they walk alongside.  All three know how to “call out” what they see dormant in peoples’ lives.  They are careful, yet direct in making appropriate and tailored prescriptions, helping people move toward a better place of maturity and a truer place of service.  Quite frankly, I was impressed with the practices they keep in this sometimes misunderstood deal of leadership development.  Their practice grows from a conviction that leadership development from a Christian perspective is first and always tethered to helping people tend to their followership to Jesus Christ.  You will benefit from listening in on what they said.  Here are some highlights… Continue reading

A Gathering of Saints

Last week twenty-seven of us gathered together in Sioux Falls for a retreat.  By the end of our two days together we realized we were no ordinary group of twenty-seven people.  We became a remarkable community of brothers and sisters in need of some space, perspective, words, silence and friendship.  The theme for our gathering was “A Sacred Heart.”  The hope for the gathering can be heard in David’s prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me (Ps 51:10).

There are no shortage of things that get us entangled and snared along the way of this deal we call ministry.  This unusual gathering of saints had plenty of tangles and snares to share, but more so plenty of presence, experience and from time to time a word or two to offer. Continue reading

Potential Next Steps…

This is the time of year that many of The Emerging Journey groups are beginning to see that the end is in sight, and some in your groups may be wondering, “OK, what’s next?”  If that’s the case, let me suggest some “next steps” for your participants and possibly your church in the bigger picture of the VP3 process. Continue reading

Wrong or Right?

VantagePiont3 has been around for about a dozen years.  In that time we have encountered remarkable changes in the lives of hundreds of people who have gone through one or more of our processes.  And, we have also been able to see some of the ripple effects from those changed lives upon their local church communities.  We have experienced in good measure James Houston’s wise words, “Shape the person and you shape everything else.”

This work I’m a part of at VP3 is such a good work…a deepening and empowering of peoples lives so that they might participate more fully in the ongoing Kingdom work of God.  But, it has also been a hard work and in my more honest moments I sometimes confess why something so good and consistently life changing has been a rather difficult sell.  ”What am I or we doing wrong?” is usually the question that immediately follows such honest moments. Continue reading

Discipleship: The Critical Need in Leadership Development Today

Today BrianSteenhoek and I facilitated a webinar called, “Discipleship:  The Critical Need in Leadership Development Today.”  It seemed to scratch an itch from the responses of those who attended.  We thought we would offer you a condensed version of some of our notes here.   Continue reading

Saints in the Making

      A walloping great congregation is fine and fun, but what most communities really need is a couple of saints.  The tragedy is that they may well be there in embryo, waiting to be discovered, waiting for sound training, waiting to be emancipated from the cult of the mediocre.

–Martin Thorton

This week is the third of four weeks in January, filled with “Block B” Facilitator Training Retreats.  Randy and I will have the privilege of being with a group of facilitators at Faith Church in Dyer, Indiana, Monday and Tuesday.

In an effort to both prepare and support in the implementation of The Emerging Journey or The Equipping Experience, this facilitator preparation process is structured in two retreats: Retreat Block A (usually in June) and Retreat Block B (usually the following January).  It is 4.5 days of training that seeks to do at least 4 things for those who participate: Continue reading

Moving Faithfully into 2012

2012.  A new year.  Resolutions.  Decisions.  Choices to be made.

It helps to have a plan.  And equally important, it helps to have guiding statements that inform that plan.

Whether you are making resolutions, new decisions, or reexamining your ministry, a clear understanding of who you are, who God is, and what God desires to do through you, is fundamental to making the kinds of decisions and plans that match your temperament, passion and values in service to God. Continue reading