I work on the Connections project from my home in Ancaster, Ontario. I have colleagues that I have never met: a regional pastor in Classis Yellowstone, a Safe Church representative in Classis Rocky Mountain, a Resonate Local Mission Leader in British Columbia, a Worship Ministries Catalyzer in Grand Rapids. I call them my ministry-team neighbors.
But how do we love these neighbors we work alongside as colleagues but may never meet?
Are they out of sight, out of mind?
We are on a team together. All 350 folks who receive this newsletter are part of one ministry-team. In other words, I am on a team with you! And you are a neighbor I am called by Jesus to love as I love myself.
What does that mean specifically?
- I love to think of the 350 of us as a huge "wrap around team", working together to serve all 1050 Christian Reformed congregations. We all know that God’s call upon congregations right now requires significant, multidimensional support. Together we provide that support in dozens of different ways. I am called to love you by praying the Lord's wisdom for you, and thanking the Lord when you are able to share his blessings with churches.
- I will love you as my neighbor by serving as your advocate in these two ways: I will delight in connecting ministry leaders with ministries that will strengthen their witness. Second, I've learned that it's very easy for church leaders to disparage denominational ministries. Whenever I encounter such negativity, I will graciously counter with the stories of blessing that flow from various CRC ministries.
- Congregations are in a paradoxical situation; many face significant challenges, but they often do not trust that denominational ministries can support them in facing these. I will love my colleagues by seeking to bolster the trust capital between the local church and CRCNA ministries in any way that I can. This love may come from sharing a testimony from your ministry, or pointing to a resource, or facilitating a personal relationship.
We've begun calling this kind of love the "Connections Mindset."
A Connections Mindset blesses congregations by encouraging them to embody their calling and mission more fully through active listening, holy curiosity, imagining with them their God-led future, and serving as a strategizing partner.
What about you? How do you love your ministry-team neighbors with a Connections Mindset kind of love?