Last week I attended my yearly tribal (denominational) gathering. It culminated Thursday evening with the “reading of assignments” a wonderfully imbedded tradition where pastors and leaders are formally assigned or reassigned to their places of ministry here in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.
The gathering was distinctly different from previous years evidenced and confirmed by many of those in attendance. Something of a new wind blowing, almost bordering on a paradigm shift. The Spirit has been laying the ground work for what I would describe as something of a “missional thrust” among both conference presenters and participants.
Multiple stories were told of congregations initiating and implementing creative ministries relevant to serving their community and neighborhood needs, such graffiti cleanup, decorating neighborhood streets with flower baskets, feeding the homeless, and providing carnival events for children. One church in Bend, Oregon closes its service for a Sunday to provide service to the city in various cleaning and renovation projects. The exciting piece this is; the added stories that accompany these service projects.
The congregations involved in these types of ministry hold a strong “go to them” stance as they relate to their individual places of ministry. In the past too often its been a “come to us” mentality. This current stance is just one avenue of many, but one that definitely communicates a posture that embodies the Gospel of Jesus Christ in ways relevant to the postmodern culture.
Historically our tribe has held a strong missional stance, but in recent years it has displayed itself in more dormant nuancs. This particular season is one of intentional engagement with the culture and I’m encouraged!!!
Another factor that bodes well for the future of our tribe which seemed in jeopardy not long ago, is that a majority of the stories were told by leadership that is relatively young, those in their twenties and thirties. In the past, these voices were not regarded as legitimate – now they are and we are the richer for it. Personally I’m looking forward to hearing new stories currently being written.