Discussion Topic

A few months ago a group of seven leaders in our denomination joined in a book study of Canoeing the Mountains with the intent of reading, discussing and applying what we learned. It was an incredible six weeks! 

It was so important to hear each other's insights and how we tried to ...

November 17, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Workshop or Training

SheLeads is coming to Grand Rapids this Saturday, October 28. It's not too late to register for this outstanding opportunity! 

October 23, 2017 0 0 comments
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Rev. Elaine May, senior pastor of Mayfair Church in Grand Rapids, MI, was the first to register for the SheLeads Conference to be held at Calvin Theological Seminary. Find out why she's going and join her! 

October 17, 2017 0 5 comments
Blog

Three CRC ministries, Race Relations, Disability Concerns, and Safe Church Ministry, are excited to put on a free, four-hour workshop on Sept. 9 that will bring together resources and opportunities to learn from each other. Come! 

August 22, 2017 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

Here are ten of my top blessings from Inspire 2017, which happened last week in Detroit, MI. What are some of the blessings you experienced at Inspire? 

August 10, 2017 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

Were you at Inspire 2017? If so, what was your favorite part?

August 8, 2017 0 2 comments
Resource

The Reformed Leadership Initiative team has created a project brief with highlights of the project, guiding principles, our vision for the next generation of leadership, and key learnings for the future. 

August 8, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

There is grief in the closing of a church—for the parishioners and for the pastor. Allow space for grief, allow space for loss, and allow freedom to let the pastor move forward in serving God’s kingdom.

July 30, 2017 0 10 comments
Blog

At this year’s synod, a group of 35 women from churches and ministries in Canada and the U.S. gathered for dinner for our first Women in Leadership forum. I was surprised when we ran out of chairs! 

July 27, 2017 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

In just over two weeks, something big is going to happen. For the first time ever, people across the CRC will board planes and pile in cars to meet in Detroit, MI, and be INSPIRED. What are you most excited for? 

July 18, 2017 0 1 comments
Blog

I keep a growing list about why seminary education is more than just helpful—it is vital for church leaders and the church. Here are three of my top reasons for attending seminary. 

July 7, 2017 0 1 comments
Blog

Although Detroit has at times gotten a bad rap, the city is in the middle of renaissance. As Detroit-area residents and pastors, my friend Mark and I have put together a list of reasons you can’t afford not to come to Detroit for Inspire 2017. 

June 22, 2017 0 1 comments
Resource, Workshop or Training, Facilitated by Others

The Clinical Pastoral Education program is offered to pastors from both CRC and RCA churches in communities throughout the United States and Canada. Read more about it here.

June 16, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

What stood out to me most is how World Renew strives to help the people who are most vulnerable – many of the families we learned about could not afford home insurance or were not able to qualify for assistance from the government.

June 8, 2017 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Before we switch ministry gears to summer, or even (gasp!) fall, can we take a minute to look around and look back? What's one thing you learned this past year?

May 22, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

As of April 19, 112 Christian Reformed Congregations representing 33 of our 48 Classes (regional groupings) have registered at least one person to attend. Is your church on the list? Is your classis? 

April 25, 2017 0 2 comments
Blog

North Hills CRC in Troy, Michigan is excited about Inspire 2017! Check out the ways they're promoting Inspire 2017 in their church, and learn tips for promoting Inspire in your own church.

April 24, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

We tell our students that if you are leading, you should have an understanding that difficult circumstances are either present or just around the corner. Here are a few principles for navigating these challenges. 

April 16, 2017 0 1 comments
Blog

A key point in the book is that leaders, in a Christian sense, are called more to be servants and fools than endowed with the take charge and “get it done” attributes and skills we often associate with leaders. 

January 24, 2017 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

Details for Inspire 2017 on August 3-5 in Detroit, MI are unfolding nicely! But before the planning goes any further, we want hear from you. Are there topics you want to discuss or stories you want to hear?

December 21, 2016 0 8 comments
Resource, Workshop or Training, Facilitated by Others

You're invited to a one-day learning event at Crossroads CRC in Des Moines, IA, focused on helping local church leaders and pastors find unique yet practical ideas to bring health and growth to their church.

December 20, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

One of the hardest things for us to do is to love. It’s hard sometimes as leaders to love the people we are leading, because we inevitably encounter struggles with them. But Jesus gives us thrilling insight for loving each other. 

December 12, 2016 0 1 comments
Blog

Where do we turn to when life perplexes us, when there doesn’t seem to be any clear answers, when we have come to the end of our thinking as leaders? Is it not the poetical books of the Bible? 

November 29, 2016 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

We still live with the incredible notion that the local church consists of one or two leaders and dozens (if not hundreds) of followers. What is our fear of being involved in leadership?

November 28, 2016 0 2 comments
Blog

It’s no secret that ministry leadership can be lonely. So how do you enter into a mentoring relationship with someone you can trust? Here are 5 things I've learned along the way. 

November 21, 2016 0 0 comments

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Hi Linda,

I happen to be in LA the day before SheLeads so I went to the host site in Pasadena on Saturday. It was a very good event for me because I heard a new idea or perspective about shared leadership, challenges for women in the pastorate and testimonies of God's faithfulness.  The networking, host site and worship were also wonderful.  We are likely to host it again at Calvin Seminary.  I really liked being in Pasadena.  If you weren't able to go, I hope it's available now from Missio Alliance.  We have a debriefing next week to talk about the GR site.  Blessings

 

Linda Grace, I am so glad you want to attend! Here's the link to the national conference. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find the regional venues. I hope you can find one that's close to you. Blessings! Sharon Smith http://www.missioalliance.org/sheleads/

Linda Grace, I so hope you can attend one! Here is a link to the national website. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the different regional venues. I hope one will work for you!  http://www.missioalliance.org/sheleads/

Sharon Smith

Greetings! I would love to attend a video streaming session but cannot figure out where they are held! I live north of Seattle. Thank you. Linda Grace

Honestly, it was hard to choose just one part because it was all "Inspiring"! The things that immediately came to mind are these: ~ Even though Liz Curtis Higgs was not listed as one of the original speakers, she was a gift from God for me. Listening to her speak was exactly what I needed to be refreshed. Her personal story, the Gospel story and her delivery brought tears to my eyes and hysterical laughter! Thank you, Liz! ~ The breakout session on "Praying Like Jesus" was meaningful because of the emphasis on memorizing and praying the Psalms. Kevin Adams' sharing of stories and encouraging group participation made it interesting and memorable. It created a desire in me to follow through with some of the suggestions. ~ The music, worship and singing were like a little glimpse of heaven as we sang songs in different languages and tempos. It was evidence and a reminder that we believers are part of the larger, global body of Christ!

Josh - Yours may not be the turnaround story you mentioned, but in many ways it is a more important story to tell. And it certainly takes more courage to write! To be faithful, we must remove the stigma associated with closing a church. If not, we'll have churches hanging on past when they should, and that prevents us from responding to how God is calling us next. Thank you for sharing this. Your honesty and wisdom in this reflection is the kind of leadership we need from pastors, and from all of us. Judging from the pageviews and the comments here, your words have struck a chord and have already had a significant impact.

Besides the fresh spiritual insights from the main speakers(gathering)and the breakout sessions , the venue was a good choice and an experience in itself; the Communion at the end of Inspire sealed our love, unity and commitment to move on with God in the CRC. Inspire 2017 is one of the best things in the life of the CRC. It was a rekindling experience indeed. Thanks. Rev. Bulus A. Gani, CRC- Nigeria.

Joshua, thank you for sharing this part of your life. My experience was a "near death" situation. I did not do the last service but I probably would be the last full time pastor unless the Lord does a miracle. At some point, the journey felt like being led to the cross to be crucified. Though surrounded by some who cared for me, it felt very lonely.  I found comfort in the word of the Lord to the people of Israel "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10). May you be comforted too.

 

What was my favourite part? ALL OF IT. Really!

In order... Workshop 4 to Cass Community. WOW!!! Powerful work going on that could be replicated in a few ways.

Food and fellowship... great spaces to eat and meet new and old friends. Lots of time to do so.

Reflective, engaging, inspiring worship... thanks Melody and the team.

The space in which we were in... enhanced community.

I appreciate you sharing this. A smaller church needs a pastor to love them. A church that is dying still needs a shepherd. It takes someone of courage and great leadership skills to take a call to such a church for the glory of God. I would hope that churches looking for a pastor would see the amazing leadership and pastoral skills needed to be a pastor of such churches. We have to stop making things so "man-centered." I fear some search committees are about glory be to man.

Can one can do all right leadership stuff and the church can still close?

--the pastor can preach the Gospel every Sunday

--the pastor can show how the Gospel every week changes your life and addresses what you are going through

--the pastor can make changes at the council level so the council actually talks about ministry rather than status quo.

--the church can do Gospel-centered outreach in the community

--the church can do music with quality

--you can do your best to contextualize the Gospel like explained in Center Church by Tim Keller

I am convinced the church can STILL close down. We can't always blame the culture, but the culture is hostile. Read the book How (Not) to be Secular by James Smith. The deck is stacked against the church, and our culture's worldview is more at odds with a biblical worldview than ever. 

Maybe the church has shot itself in the foot over and over again—it would be extremely hard for even the most gifted of pastors entering into that situation. 

Its not the pastor’s fault or simply lack of leadership skills. Its not even the quality of the preaching all the time. 

I hope pastors stop guilting themselves and find the their righteousness is in Christ. What those pastors did for Christ will last for all eternity.

Josh - As one who walks the road less traveled, let me first say Thank you!   Those of us who have led a church through the process of closing have much more to offer than many realize.  Sadly, there is great fear that somehow those who have participated in the closing of a church are now tainted.  The place God has called us to and we willingly walked into is a place that only those who have been there can begin to understand.  After Parchment CRC completed its ministry it took me nearly 4 years to receive a call.  I gave up counting rejections... some were honest enough to say my participation in the death of a church was the deciding factor.  

To those of you who carry this grief, who walk with this fear and wrestle with all that closing the doors of a church entails - the PEACE of Christ to you!  

To those of you who know the pain that comes when a church has completed its ministry - Your grief is legitimate, the pain is real, and there is grace sufficient for it even when it doesn't feel like it. My prayer for you is that the God of all comfort will reveal Himself to you in the midst of your grief and give you the hope you need for each moment as you continue to Love God, Love Others, and Build His Kingdom.  Thank you for being willing to follow God's call into the most difficult place - the valley of the shadow of death.  The awesome thing about our God is that He really does make dry bones come alive.  Be still.  Wait. Hold one another as the waves of grief ebb and flow... and trust... that the One who called you to this place is faithful.  He will make a way where it seems there is no way. It's what He's best at. (-:  

Know that prayers are paving the way! 

Thanks for your honesty here, Josh. The fear is real for many of us in low-membership congregations as well, and this sheds light on a topic that many, I believe, are afraid to look at. May God bless you as you continue as a Minister of the Word.

Hi Tricia, thanks for reading this update on Women in Leadership and making a comment.  I would love to connect with you to get to know about your journey and also what we can expect in the future regarding women gatherings.  My email address is dposie@crcna.org.  Please send your contact information and I will either call or send an email, whichever you prefer. Please pray for this work. We truly need God's guidance. I look forward to hearing from you!

I'll pray with you!

We are facing with the same difficulties here in Hungary - I want to be your brother in your distress! May Our Lord keep you and your family!

Hi Josh, The loss of your congregation and church is a very real loss.  I was a part of the closing of a small Christian school.  It was very painful and I too experienced grief in that loss.  When I was passed up for teaching position after teaching position I was certain God had just forgotten about me.  Very dejected and depressed.  I will be praying for you in the challenges you are faced with and for God's presence and guidance to be real to you.

I would love to know of future meetings, events, opportunities when women leaders in the church get together.  I am a woman working to heed God's call into ministry, and I know I need the continuing support of other women on the same road I am.  Is there an email list being compiled or other plans for women getting together?

Josh, thanks for sharing your deepest thoughts and experience of closing a church. I know your experience is real and honest! Thank you! 

Thanks much for sharing.  I get some of Joshua's pain.  We served a church for 13 years which decided to disband at the end of 2016.   That brought grief on multiple levels, even on the question of where we could worship with shalom after the final worship service.    I do think the CRC needs to face the reality that more churches are closing.  And lumping everything under an article 17 does not help the Pastor.  When my article 17 was announced in the online Banner and explained as as a pastor being separated from his ministry, a friend contacted me right away in support because he had assumed something else.

Thank you for writing this. Your transparency opens the door for powerful conversation. I will be praying for peace in the middle of the unknowns. May God be with you. 

This event has been prayed over a lot! I'm excited to see how God will work in response.

Before seminary I was doing ministry in a non-denominational, organic, young and hip group with zero budget and no ties to a building. I was living the dream that a lot of anti-seminary, anti-denominational, anti-institutional seminarians and pastors think they want. And there were some great things about it - but it wasn't nearly the dream that people like to think. I was so thankful when God called me to attend CTS! I came in with the attitude of wanting to get to know God better and understand His community of children - the Church. I was seeking for a greater filling with Christ, and I found that. The time I spent in seminary were some of the best years of my life, digging deeper into my relationships with God and with His Church everyday. I got to sit at the feet of people, past and present, who have been recognized as deeply knowledgeable, passionate, and wise about God. Yes, there is an academic structure and rigor to it all, but every relationship comes to a point where it takes an organized and intentional effort to grow. When I hear someone talk down about the importance of a seminary education I end up wondering how serious they really are developing their relationship with Jesus.

Glad I'm going - now I'm even more excited!

Jeanne Kallemeyn - CRCNA Pastor Church Resources

Thanks Kathy.  I've fixed that error.  Sorry for the mistake.

Just to clarify your records, Maple Ridge CRC is in Classis BCNW.

I am inspired by this article. It conveys what I know to be true and my experience in leadership. The metaphors of "a journey" and "marathon" are right on.  Listening and making room for people who have different perspectives, cultures and experiences are critical in Christian leadership.

When I read articles in the CRCNA on leadership, I try to see myself , an African American woman who did not grow up in the CRCNA, and others like me in what is being said. This article is transparent and relational. 

I especially like, "As a white male; I need to keep before me the need (if I am going to be a good leader) to seek out the voices of others who will bring wisdom and insights that I would miss—if I am not deliberate to listen and learn from them. If we really see value in a chorus of witnesses, we need to be willing to seek those voices out to be part of that choir. For me, this mean that I must seek the counsel of women, Canadians, African Americans, Brazilians, Chinese, Koreans, Latinos/Latinas and the list goes on.  (I have a lot to learn.)"

A key question is really, "What do we value?"

Thank you. Have a blessed time as you continue the Reformation Tour.

Hi Mark,

I like Boer's idea of spheres of leadership and the church as the body in which all parts are servant leaders without a hierarchical structure. Hope I have opportunity to read it and continue learning about leadership. Thank you.

posted in: Foolish Development

Amen! 

posted in: Foolish Development

Craig -- I just LOVE your passion and succinct messaging!  I couldn't agree more!  It's the sharing of our faith, our personal stories, our willingness to be vulnerable, our heart for others, and the connecting we do that turns us into a church!  It's how we reflect Christ!  Those are all the things HE TAUGHT us!  Yes, it is certainly IN the mix, and some of the sessions will focus on this more than others, but I couldn't agree more!  We, as a team, will go back, with your comments in mind, and revisit the sessions to make sure this will be an emphasis!  I hope you will join us and encourage such behavior as well!

God wants nothing more than for us to represent HIM well in His church!  Praying we can do this as we plan, as we execute, and as we prepare to gather together.  Our prayer is that we can all humble ourselves to each other and BE CHRIST to others as well.  Thank you for your heart and message to chew on!  ~Paula 

I'm sure that this will be included somewhere in this mix but it needs to be talked about specifically, that It's All About Relationships!  We are so good at developing programs, ministries, and even strategies but it all comes down to relationships.  What should be a natural and expected aspect of life has been thrown by the wayside.  The older generation no longer knows the children and vice-versa.  We skitter around from one practice, one meeting, one game, etc.  We send out emails, texts, Facebook messages and consider that our social interaction.  Meanwhile I hear complaints about how church used to be our family and how we used to invite people over but not any more.  I don't care what you are talking about (evangelism, worship, Bible studies, outreach, etc.) it is all about developing and growing relationships and we need to stop for a moment and talk about how we can nurture that.  When I look at my life it was relationships that grew my faith the most and when I hear from those who don't attend church anymore the repeated response is that they don't feel connected.  It doesn't have to do with style of worship, lack of ministries, or anything else.  It is simply because we don't take time to build relationships.  Like I said, I expect and hope that this will be included is some of what has been listed but it can't be a little spice that we throw into the mix.  It is the whole recipe.

Dan -- Thanks for your heart and passion for those that might have areas of accessibility issues.  We have been working closely with Mark Stephenson and his team!  Our goal is that this event will be barrier free and that we can encourage the churches to have the same goal.  We will have specific breakout sessions on ideas/perspectives/reasons for creating environments for ALL of God's people.  We will also have sessions on inclusive behaviors and messaging that would invite and embrace those that are different than us as well... not just physical, emotional, and accessibility conditions.  We are hoping to change the lens by which we see things from how can we help them to possibly how can they help us... be better!  Thanks for the reminder, the passion, and the heart!  God is certainly smiling!

And... I will take a look at the language of our breakout sessions to make sure we are communicating clearly what each session will cover!  Perhaps when the website goes live, the "summary" of each session will give a better idea of the content you'll find in the session.

Thanks again Dan!  Look forward to seeing you at Inspire 2017!  ~Paula

Terry -- Thanks for your thoughts!  YES!  We are hoping for lots of gathering for churches/leaders/volunteers to share stories.  We have a few breakout sessions designed to ignite those conversations.  However, we are hoping that ALL the sessions (no matter what the topic) ignite conversations with the attendees.  We are praying for new relationships to be birthed, new partnerships to form, new ideas to bubble up, and LOTS of mutual support for ministries happening in very different areas.  I hope you'll come and help spark those conversations.  With 2000 attendees planned, we are not going to be able to BUILD those small groups, but we are creating time and space for them to pop up!

Conversation, energy, and the Spirit of God will be driving this event!  We're anxious to see God at work!  I hope you are planning to come and join in!  In the meantime, please continue to pray -- for the attendees, the presenters/facilitators, and the continued planning.  We all want to honor GOD at this event!  ~Paula

Angela -- Love... that you are looking for this!  We too, have thought this to be a vital part of Inspire 2017!  Although we are not using a specific book to drive the sessions, we have a number of sessions planned for reminding us of our connection with God!  We have a session on discernment of the Holy Spirit's call, one on healthy habits of connecting with God, and another planned to help folks find renewal with God when you are tired and worn.  In addition, we will have a prayer room, a specific prayer walk, and lots of sticky spaces to have partners in ministry pour into each other WITH God!

Thanks for your interest in conversations at Inspire 2017!  Please continue to pray -- for the planning, for the presenters/facilitators, and for the attendees as they prepare to come!  ~Paula

I do not see anything in the plans that highlights the inclusion and belonging of people with disabilities. With 1 in 5 households including someone who lives with a disabling condition, and with the CRc having historically led the way in prioritizing persons with disabilities, this is suprising. I would recommend the following:

- Joint presentations by Mark Stephenson and Terry DeYoung what their office does for CRC churches

- Presentation on the importance of including people with disabilities

- Discussion/panel/presentation on starting a disability team in your church

How about having a session where everyone gathers in small groups of churches (a half-dozen or so) to tell stories, share ministry ideas, and pray for one another?

I looked through your list of topics and almost all of them are about DOING something in the kingdom of God. Not necessarily wrong but what about learning to listen with discernment to what God is doing in the church and following what he is up to. We are using the book "Pursuing God's Will" by Ruth Haley Barton as the basis for spiritual practices that build up leadership discernment. More information about personal spiritual practices are found in Soul Leadership and Sacred Rythms. I believe learning to be in God's presence and being transformed into the image of Christ for the sake of others is crucial for healthy leadership that discerns where God is at work and follows Him there. What about some workshops on spiritual practices like silence and solitude, scripture reading for transformation not information, retreats, fasting, prayer, listening to consolation and desolation to name a few.

 Wonderful!  and hurrah for Mr. Merton, but the leadership of the CRC fails to see Christ in LGBT people and so do many people in the pew, particularly in pews south of the Canada U.S. border. The last Synod drove the nail in the coffin.  I appreciate Mr. Brouwer for posting this.   I hasten to add, sexual orientation is not the only kind of person in whom Christians fail to see the Christ.    

Christ's sumary of all  laws and prophecies into the  one word of LOVE  is a stumbling block for many  Christians.  As long as churches are obsessed with their "Absolute Truth'  and unattainable purity, they will continue to remove the splinters from the neighbour's eyes but because they have a beam in their own eyes they cannot see Christ or see LOVE!   May the Holy Spirit do her work and change hearts and lives and teach them to LOVE!

I hear, more and more, the "narrative of fear" as an explanation for people not stepping up to a challenge, and/or not helping out and have come to wonder whether this is really a misnomer for something else. There is a "meta-narrative that runs deeper in our post modern world, i.e. "disengagement" from institutions and community life that has been evolving over the last 20-30 years that is likely at odds with the vision of communal life set out in scripture. 

Are there really that many fearful/inadequate people out there? It is troubling in today's society and churches to find that many people consider themselves inadequate in engaging in social institutions, etc. when they operate quite "competently" in the work and family world, skills that can be carried over to the former. Yet, having seen the results of a recent Building Blocks of Faith Formation survey, only confirms the inadequacy explanation for not engaging. Think we need to dig deeper.

Question: Is "fear" a mask "cover-up" for something else?

Question: Why is it that in today's church, rather than volunteer, the preference is to hire/pay someone else to do the task?

 

Amen - a modern summary and pointing to why "the priesthood of all believers" is such a critical part of the Reformation and continues to be important. Thanks Keith.

It's great to read about these assignments again from your view point Joe. Thanks for sharing.

How very timely Mark. Thanks.

posted in: Leadership and Loss

First off: Awesome use of the Apocrypha.

Second: Great question at the end of this article, which actually illuminates our culture in the light of the Gospel. Generally, ‘Conservative Chrsitianity’ minimizes scriptural mercy and ‘Progressive Christianity’ minimizes scriptural holiness. To side with either of these truncated philosophies is to live only half a Gospel, usually in the hope of gaining some power or control over how the Kingdom is maintained or expanded.

Jesus’ absolute love of God and neighbor calls us to place our entire outcome in his hands – whether we can see the outcome or not. We can learn a great lesson for our personal life and public culture by being so satisfied with the obedience we are called to live that ‘power’ and ‘control’ – winning – looks cheap in comparison.

Thank you Fronse for your response to this challenging and relevant question.

As we look at what is being exposed in our country today (more specifically racism and police brutality), it is so important for our churches to know how to biblically, contextually and culturally help raise African American next generation leaders. We have a powerful role to play in raising up our young leaders and modeling good leadership before.  There is a place for them to serve mightily in advancing God's kingdom. We have to help them discover their God-given gifts, strengths and callings at an early age. It requires intentionality.

You are right about the importance of adult influences and the need for healthy role models in every arena of life. They are impressionable and some are faced with many negative, unhealthy role models.

We pray for God's guidance and the Spirit's power.  I am thankful for the many years of the Black and Reformed Youth Conference and its educational scholarship for young people.  I believe there are other encouraging stories about the good things our young people are doing in God's work.  Every seed we sow will reap a harvest!

Rev Posie, This is a very challenging post and question. There are built in church structures to involve adults, fewer for youth. Each minister and council has opportunities to ensure Youth development.

How? From early childhood, parents and council can form youth to be leaders by including and encouraging youth participation in church events, planning and worship.

The greatest words to build self confidence are "You've done well." Children achieve when they have structured kindness based encouragement. Let youth plan an event, not be told what to do.

yes, constructive criticism is sometimes needed and should be done in love.

Cadets is the structured group that can be a base. Juneteenth, MLK, KWANZAA are cultural events for Youth and family participation.

one last comment: our children and Youth sitting in the pews hear adult tone and tenor very well. Thus we must prayerfully consider how WE speak and act around them. They take their ques from us.

Thank-you for the reminder of how my own quieting myself of/from distractions is a gift I bring to those to whom I pastor.

Thanks, Mark, for your thought provoking article... and for the resources to help us all become more attentive and better listeners.

Thanks, Mark, this is good stuff.  thanks especially for the book suggestions, and the Simone Weil link!

 

I appreciate Mulholland's insight.  In a world of "niche" spirituality, he urges us to not only appreciate how God has made us but also how we need to sometimes "play against type" in order to grow spiritually, venture into those areas that are naturally uncomfortable for us, where we feel the most vulnerable and not in control and therefore, find ourselves relying more on the Spirit then our own tendencies and strengths.  As a natural introvert, I've definitely found this to be true in those times when I've been called into extroversion.  

 

An interesting dovetail with this is Gordon Smith's work on conversion, his book Beginning Well, where he notes that moments of spiritual growth/continuing conversion often take place when we are exposed to a Christian tradition not our own.  

Love this post! I often forget how deeply personality type influences spiritual formation. My introverted nature often affects my willingness to participate in small groups and other group settings, but it has also allowed me to serve in other ways. It's so interesting to see how different personality types serve the various needs of a church. I love that God works through all personality types, and that he can also push us to grow and move outside our comfort zone too when needed.

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