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

The “third-third” of life

Why does it seem like such a rare find when we discover someone who keeps on growing and learning all the way to the finish line?

Cultivating prayerful reflective thinking is such a critical element of a maturing person’s life. This is no less the case as a person enters into the later chapters of his or her life. Terry Nyhuis describes the “third-third” of life as a time when significant life contribution is still likely, but can only come when one is “fully present” in that particular stage of life. Rather than hoping to get by with what we already know, a person must be open to God’s unfolding lessons in these new chapters. Continue reading

Things May Be Different Than They Appear

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

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

Empowered to Lead: A ‘Look’ at The Equipping Experience

In the bigger picture of the VantagePoint3 processes, The Equipping Experience is a natural next step for those wanting to continue the discovery process begun in The Emerging Journey, with a particular eye towards the skills associated with the work of leadership.  Like Emerging, it is an 8-9 month process in four stages that adds to one’s learning, practical skills for doing the work and activity of leadership. 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