I’m keenly aware that anything I write right now will likely be overshadowed by all of the Big Conversations we’ll be having at Synod 2022 in June. It seems like some decisions that our congregations or denomination are making require all of our energy.
As I pray for our denomination in anticipation of Synod, one of my prayers is that we won’t focus so much on inward-looking conversations that we lose sight of the church’s calling to join God in mission. How can we do both—address important internal matters while also loving our neighbor?
It makes me think of the stories in Luke 9 and again in Luke 22 when the disciples get lost in a discussion or a quarrel over which of them was the greatest. How does Jesus respond? Both times Jesus pulls them out of their navel-gazing and reminds them of their calling to lead with a servant’s heart, especially to serve the least of these.
One of the missional practices that Michael Frost stresses in his best-selling book Surprise the World is to bless three people every week, at least one of whom is not in your church community. This act of blessing, Frost says, changes us as much as it offers an act of love to others because we take our eyes off of ourselves and see the community God is asking us to serve.
What if we committed to this missional practice of blessing in the midst of these conversations over the next couple of months? How might it change our approach to these discussions and remind us of our calling to love and serve one another? How might it help us be attuned to the Spirit?
Giving a blessing doesn’t need to be an extravagant act. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Words of Affirmation: Write a thank you note to someone who leads in your community, or text a word of encouragement to a friend.
Acts of Service: Offer to babysit for a family in need of a break, or help a senior citizen with lawn work.
Gift Giving: Bring flowers to a coworker or bake cookies or bread for a neighbor.
Quality Time: Invite a relative to coffee, take a walk with your spouse or friend, or call someone who seems lonely.
Amy Schenkel is Resonate Global Mission's Regional Mission Leader for the Great Lakes Region.