I found myself thinking and praying this afternoon for the many participants who are currently working through Stage 2 of The Emerging Journey. And along the way I remembered a story that I shared a few years back in an online meditation for The Joshua Foundation. So here’s the balloon story, a story told for all those walking through the narrative process this fall.
August 1, 2005 — So I was driving the other day and a blue balloon floated at a distance across my line of vision. Some one hundred feet or more above the freeway, the balloon with its string-tail drifted from my right to my left and I said to myself, That balloon has a story. It must. It has come from somewhere. There is a story with that balloon. And I
remembered another balloon story.
Two summers ago my dad and I were leaning against a car in the front of my sister and brother-in-law’s home in Broomall, Pennsylvania. It was the afternoon of July 4th and we were a bit tired after having partaken in all the fun and heat and noise and food of the morning’s parade festivities. We were listening to my six-year-old niece, Sarah, chat on about what she enjoyed most from the parade. Details of fire engines and cotton candy and convertibles and parade floats filled her speech. She was interrupted when her four-year-old sister, Bekah, came skipping and whirling around the corner of the house, proudly swinging a red balloon. She stopped in front of us and posed with a big smile. She held onto the string of the balloon floating a few feet above her head.
I think we all had the same thought because my dad asked, “Bekah, that sure is a beautiful balloon. Can I tie it to your wrist so you don’t lose it?”
“Nope.” And off she spun with her smile and her red balloon trailing behind her, returning around the corner of the house, out of our sight.
After which Sarah remarked, “She’s going to lose that balloon.”
I just got a look at this short video yesterday. A group of Emerging Journey participants at Tabernacle Presbyterian Churchin Indianapolis gathered to share via film their experience. It is such a clear and encouraging reflection of what this eight-month spiritual formation process can invite in people’s lives. Take a look at their conversation. Wonderful!
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 →
Next month begins a season of Block A training retreats for those who are facilitating The Emerging Journey and The Equipping Experience groups in the fall. For those who are new to VP3, attending one of the Facilitator Training Retreats is the first step in implementing the VP3 processes in your ministry setting. And it is not too late to sign up for one of these practical and ministry-shaping events!
In case you needed some encouragement about the value of the Facilitator Training Retreat, I invite you to read Norm Grube’s comments when I asked him, “Was the Facilitator Training Retreat valuable to your group and to your own spiritual development?” Continue reading →
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 →
When I completed my seminary work and entered my first role as an ordained pastor, one of the things that became eminently clear were the limitations to the preparation I had received for ministry. Hermeneutics, biblical studies, systematic theology and sermon preparation, were important skills that seminary had done an excellent job in preparing me. However, it was the ‘work’ of leadership and my on-going spiritual formation that seemed to be at the forefront of what the church was demanding from me in my new found role as a pastor. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
The slogan we use around VP3 is, “Helping You Discover.” It reminds us that we develop processes to help people discover answers to three of life’s most important questions, ‘Who is God?’, ‘Who am I?’, and ‘What does God desire to do through me?’ We believe we have developed some of the best resources available to help people pursue the answers to these questions through a biblical framework. However, we also know it is the good people who take our material–the ministry leaders, facilitators, and pastors, combined with the Holy Spirit, who make personal discovery and life transformation possible. And it is always fun to hear how churches and ministry leaders have taken our resources and creatively applied them in their context. Let me tell you a couple of recent examples. Continue reading →
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.
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 Journeyor 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 →