Filled to the Brim with Hope!

Today, I am filled to the brim with hope!

I am in a church body with a beautiful rich tradition that is rapidly hurdling towards its demise.   And yet, I am experiencing joy!   While a significant section of clergy in my Synod are sadly seeking to maintain a spirit-un-led life , I am encouraged!

This happiness flows from spending 3 days at the Best Practices Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.    On the campus of Christ Lutheran Church, I engaged with more than a few of the 850 in attendance.   With gratitude I networked with folks who are in awe of how God is moving in marvelously messy means.

The generous leaders spent their time encouraging servant-hood.  The focus of these “successful” visionaries were locked in on how to equip and release people to live out their calling with boldness.  The topics were numerous, the focus singular:  sharing the good news of Jesus!

No checks for honorariums were cut.  No travel expense vouchers were handed out.  All of the 70 + workshops were hosted by servants wanting to both teach and grow—on their own dime.  It only gets better:

The generous congregation of Christ Lutheran fed 3 meals a day for 3 days to all in attendance.

No fees for shuttles to hotels.

Free pop, water, fruit, ice cream, snacks, and water without an offering basket in site.

Joyful Spirit-led worship led by volunteers who were glad to lead and love.

The huddles between workshops were filled with phrases like “I never knew that.”  “It was good to hear that even ___________ struggles with….”  Preposterous posturing was put aside for phrases such as:  “How can I care  … pray  … serve … support … encourage you?”

This week I was blessed with a picture of “church” the way that it is supposed to be.  Tomorrow, I head back to a creative congregation doing amazing ministry with renewed courage and focused intent to love God and love my neighbor…even more!

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