Be the Artist God Created You to Be!
by Rev. Gary A. Shockley, a friend and supporter of Missional Wisdom Foundation, and member of our Dispersed Community
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” -Pablo Picasso.
Because we are made in the image of Creator we are all creative. Every one of us has the potential to do something that sparks imagination, expresses feelings, provokes thought and helps others to experience beauty: painting, sculpture, music, dance, gardening, writing, cooking, singing, preaching, coaching, teaching, praying (and the list goes on) are all forms of creativity.
Launch & Lead Student, Diane Rheos
Diane shares here the ways in which she is using the skills she is learning to launch and lead new communities.
A Community in Partnership with a Great Lead Team
The WaySide is an intentional Christian community connected to Fremont United Methodist Church in Portland Oregon.
We are getting to know how we can be supported by our lead team, which we call The WaySide Outside. Together we hosted an all church event on Sunday July 23rd . In Portland each summer there are Sunday Parkway events. The city closes a loop of streets and hundreds of people get on their bikes and make the circuit. The WaySide house-mates suggested the idea of an event to host a BBQ and then participate in the ride. The WaySide Outside Team were enthusiastic supporters. Together we provided a BBQ lunch for everyone in attendance that Sunday morning, and then a group of people decorated their bikes, and rode on the Sunday Parkways cycling route.
The active work of the Missional Wisdom Foundation is lived out through ongoing missional experimentation. These experiments are developed through a conjunction of the contemplative stance and missional imagination.
Imagination is what we experience when a story takes root in our mind. As the tendrils of narrative spread, new regions of brain activity are ignited. Once our imagination is fully
engaged, we not only hear the story but we see the story; we can smell it, taste it, touch
Launch & Lead Alum, Mary Beth Taylor
Reverend Mary Beth Taylor noticed a different kind of community while she was Associate Pastor at Littleton UMC outside of Denver. Mary Beth, also a graduate of Launch & Lead, noticed that many people enjoyed spending some of their recreational time having a cold beer and some appetizers at the local pub, just like she and her life partner, Steve. She pulled together a small group of people and formed Open Space, a community that meets monthly in a local bar and grill.
What do model trains and tadpoles have in common? This newsletter article!
This week we are looking at two stories of missional living from two different communities of faith, a local church and a neo-monastic community.
Launch & Lead Alum, Nora Ortiz Fredrick
Nora Ortiz Fredrick is a consultant, fund-raiser, and entrepreneur in Anchorage, Alaska. Nora, a graduate of the Missional Wisdom Foundation's Launch & Lead program, noticed that the timing of traditional church services makes very little sense in Alaska. Many people are drawn to Alaska by its natural beauty and the wide variety of outdoor activities is offers, yet churches were asking people to take several hours out of the very middle of their weekends to come into an urban setting in order to sit indoors for worship.
Who We Are and Who We Represent
What Does Missional Mean?, Week 10
by Adam White
“Remember, who you are…” These words awaited us every time we as the youth group at New World United Methodist Church traveled anywhere.
The words came from our Youth Director, Sherry Womack. Sherry would always turn and look at us, sometimes just me directly, and, before we could get off the bus, say “Remember, who you are!” and then we’d respond with a glib symphony of pubescence and reluctance, “and who you represent.”
And We Act
by Bret Wells
Contextual awareness is one of the fundamental aspects of everything we do in the Missional Wisdom Foundation. It is why our training programs – especially Launch & Lead – focus heavily on processes for discernment, maintaining curiosity, asking good questions…and actually listening to people. It is a cornerstone for processes like asset-based community development and universal design. It is why we place a heavy emphasis on coaching, both as a resource we provide and as an essential leadership skill we help cultivate.
From Pity to Compassion
Author: Andrea Lingle
Being missional or sent out is tricksy. It is tempting to go out in one’s strength toward those considered needy. We, here in the safety and security of privilege, come to you, there in the lowness and dislocation of your need. If the people of God move out, missionally, from a place of certainty, then a missional way of life just becomes another, hip crusade. It is the way of pity, and no one wants to be pitied.
Launch & Lead Alum, Lynda Fickling
Table fellowship has been a traditional part of the life of many Christian denominations for years in the form of Wednesday night dinners or Friday fish fries. These activities, however, were typically inwardly focused—serving the people of the church—and were large gatherings. Lynda Fickling, director of servant ministry and spiritual director at St. Luke’s UMC in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and a graduate of the MWF’s Launch & Lead program, decided to combine the joys of table fellowship with the idea of small groups by developing Kitchen Groups. Lynda put together a leader’s guide that provided insight into hosting a simple dinner in a home.
What Does Missional Mean?, Week 8
This week’s meditation is taken from Together: Community as a Means of Grace by Larry Duggins.
I believe that community itself is a prudential means of grace. Our Creator lives in a constant state of life-giving community, thriving through an inseparable bond between Father, Son, and Spirit. Our Creator made us in the Creator’s image, so we, ourselves, long for the same kind of community connection, and it is the prayer of the Redeemer that we experience that kind of community with each other and with the Creator. Through learning to love each other in communities, we live into our nature as the reflection of the image of God, fulfilling the desire of God, which draws us closer to God.
Launch & Lead Alum, Ben Floyd
As my family and I sit in the midst of boxes and pictures taken off the walls, we’re able to take some time and reflect on the last 4 years and how God works in our lives in ways that are often beyond our understanding. My upcoming appointment in the UMC in Todd, NC, is a sure sign of God working in us and through us. I will be serving as campus pastor of Blackburn’s Chapel, connected to Boone UMC. Along with this privilege I will also be serving as executive director of a non-profit that seeks to build community through listening, presence, and working with an intentional community of 3-4 young people who seek to live into their calls as disciples and disciple-makers in rural ministry. I can’t help but see this placement as being related to the work and formation I’ve been a part of through the Missional Wisdom Foundation. It was at the initial retreat for my Launch & Lead cohort four years ago that God spoke to me in a voice that was unavoidable. His call to me and my family was clear after that weekend – we were meant for ministry, more than what we were doing at the time. For me, that call took the shape of seminary and candidacy in the UMC for ordination.
What Does Missional Mean?, Week 7
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30 The Message
The surveys are in. The numbers are down. Church is changing.
Within church walls the conversations center on what to do. How do we hang on? What has changed? Why do we gather for an hour one day a week to sing and listen to someone else talk?
Five years ago when I was in Seminary, there was, as there is now, a growing anxiousness related to Church attendance. I was frustrated by the mantra—“We just have to get people through the doors.” I love to worship, to be in church, to belong to a family of faith, to be in community, and to be on mission together. Instead those words seemed forced, even though I know that was not the intention—the words come from a desire for folks to know and experience the love of Christ.
One verse that I go to often is Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasure of living with you forever.” (NLT) I felt a restlessness in figuring this out, my needed response and how to make space for what God wanted in our world and context today.
What Does Missional Mean?, Week 6
by Adam White
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Most of us probably understand the concept of synergy and how it helps to have complementary parts of something working together for a desired outcome rather than separate parts attempting a goal. Last week we discussed how segmented we can be and how living missionally, in light of scripture, calls us to un-segment ourselves. The next step, after un-segmenting, is to missionally bind together. This step involves entering a divine synergy with one another through the Holy Spirit.
by Catherine Johnson
Last week we trimmed a tree, which resulted in a pile of limbs in our front yard. We were glad to mark off tree trimming on our to do list; however, we now had to figure out how to get rid of the limbs. We have a neighbor, Joseph, on our block who owns a landscape company. We had heard through another neighbor that Joseph is willing to help neighbors haul yard waste away whenever he is taking a load for his business. This is great, but I don't have Joseph's phone number and he works long hours this time of year. It's not easy to track him down and ask permission to load a pile of branches on his trailer.
What Does Missional Mean?, Week 5
by Adam White
We lead segmented lives.
We divide our time, presence, and energy depending on where we are, who is in front of us, and how much time we allot to a given situation.
Whether it is segmenting our home life from our work life; how we interact socially between family, friends, and acquaintances; or even what mode of communication we invest in, be that in person or through social media—our lives have become and continue to be segmented.
The Equity Project
by Todd Porter
Todd is a friend of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, who attends the Taize service led by Larry Duggins each week.
“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” –
That being the case, it seems that our economic is perfectly designed to multiply wealth for those who have it, while holding the promise of wealth just beyond the reach of those without. I find this reality troubling and find myself under increasing compulsion to do something about it. I call that something “The Equity Project.”