Today, I retire from writing this blog. The regular writing and posting has been demanding. And yet the simple exercise of writing a few words has forced me to give attention to passing thoughts and deepen my reflections. For this I am grateful. That some took time to read these thoughts humbles me.
To be a leader in the church is a vocation. Wangerin observes that a vocation is the way God serves us by giving us something meaningful to do. To be an elder is to be engaged with the lives of others for their growth and the life of community for its health and well-being. This engagement is a gift to others and to God. Since the call comes from God, the call invites us to pay attention in fresh ways to God’s intentions and the life of Christ in the lives of the least and of the greatest.
While I leave this particular task, that vocation continues. I trust my reflections may have helped you in your call to shepherd God’s people. I hope you find your call not just a burden but a gift from God giving you something meaningful to do in the life of the community and the kingdom.
Today I begin my sabbatical. It is about giving attention to God and others. It is part of the ongoing life of leadership.
May God bless you in your ministries.
Neil, thank you for your many blogs on eldering and spiritual formation over the last several years. They've been unfailingly fresh in perspective, and written with style and grace.
This is long overdue...
But I believe that the elders who read these Network comments will have sensed deep gratitude to Neil De Koning for his helpful leadership! Neil has served several congregations with distinction. He served the denomination with equal distinction. I think of Neil with deep appreciation. Our friendship goes back to a church in Toronto when I taught catechism and Neil was member of the class. His devotion to his Sender was evident then already.
Blessing to you and yours, Neil,
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