When the Thanksgiving holiday came around in Canada, which was usually the second weekend in October, I saw it primarily as a long weekend. In order of importance were: a day off school and eventually work, one extra night to stay up late and an extra morning to sleep in, for-sure church attendance that Sunday (Mom’s idea), and of course the signature turkey meal.
I remember my first American Thanksgiving in Missoula, Montana. I took a year off from the electrical trade to travel around North America with a ministry team of college agers. We would visit churches performing concerts, dramas, door-to-door visitation and discipleship training. I was the sound man. For the life of me I could not figure out why there was such a big to do by the Americans on the team regarding Thanksgiving, and why they felt so disheartened about not being able to be home with their families to celebrate what was obviously a major deal. Continue reading →
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 →
Deep Mentoring: Guiding Others on Their Leadership Journey (InterVarsity Press, 2012) arrived in the mail last week. We wrote this book with the simple desire to help others come alongside others as a guide and friend, investing in their spiritual formation. For those familiar with the different VP3 processes many of the invitations in the book will be familiar, although expressed in new and different ways.
For those unfamiliar with VP3, Deep Mentoring provides a great introduction to what we care about and how we go about responding to these challenges of following Jesus in today’s world.
Eugene Peterson’s “Foreword” to the book has been a highlight for both Randy and me. Continue reading →
The Reeses decided our vacation time this summer would include time spent in one of the most beautiful parts of the homeland of Canada, Banff National Park. Just before you get into the park along the #1 Highway you come to Canmore, Alberta. An impressive little town with ginormous sentinel mountains surrounding the town.
One of those mountains is called Ha-Ling Peak, named after a Chinese cook for the Canadian National Railway who in 1896 was double-dog-dared for fifty bucks to plant a flag at the top of the mountain. Those wagering the fifty bucks said he couldn’t do it in less than ten hours. He started at 7am and was back in time for lunch, planting a large enough flag for the doubters at the local watering hole to see. That was before any paths were cut to make it “easier” to get to the top. Continue reading →
The most significant book I have read in the past two years has to be Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor: A Memoir. It is the story of his formation and his vocation as pastor. If you are not acquainted with Peterson or only acquainted with his contemporary translation The Message, then The Pastor would be a great place to start getting to know this important author. The book provides so many directions for fruitful reflection, conversation and prayer whether you are a pastor or not.
The one thought in particular that keeps on grabbing my attention is in his Letter to a Young Pastor found at the end of the memoir. Continue reading →
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 →
I have been re-reading the Bible. It’s been a while since I’ve read it from ding to dong. Usually my intake of the Word is guided by a bit of a gut check to be honest with what book of the Bible or passage I need to land on for a bit. And I have never been disappointed in the Spirit’s way of timing what I read with the particulars of my life. Maybe that’s part of the “living and active” thing.
I’ve been making my way through Genesis over the past several weeks. There have been many foundational blocks laid in Genesis that our faith has been built upon, held together by the mortar of God’s Spirit. Quite frankly, I have found myself saying to myself many times on this read through, “Holy moly. Talk about your crazy narratives and timelines!” 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 →
We are a few months away from an annual highlight on our VP3 calendar The Enriching Retreat. We are gathering at a U.S. location this year, Green Lake, Wisconsin (October 5-7, 2012) for a time of shared reflection and discussion, pause and prayer. Randy Reese and I will be inviting a conversation around the topic of “Guiding Others on Their Leadership Journey.”
For so many of us the Spirit is inviting us to pay attention, to move beyond the work of leading to the work of developing and guiding others as leaders. For others of us we are needing time to slow down and to reflect upon what the Lord is up to in our context and in our person. How can we help our communities pay attention and discover God’s good work with us and among us?
We are excited that this years conversation will flow out of our forthcoming book Deep Mentoring: Guiding Others on Their Leadership Journey (IVP, to be released October 2012). We hope you and folks from your community will consider joining us for this unique opportunity. All of this is offered in the beautiful autumn setting of the Green Lake Conference Center. We are prayerfully looking forward to the conversation that develops at this year’s retreat. Click here for details…
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 →