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
This week’s spotlight is taken from Together: Community as a Means of Grace by Larry Duggins.
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
by Larry Duggins
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
by Andrea Lingle
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?
Spotlight: Launch & Lead Alum, Karen Doucette
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.”
Freedom to Fail:
What Does Missional Mean?, Week 4
by Andrea Lingle
Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.
How often have we read those words of Jesus with a bit of a self-righteous—I would never?
How often have we examined our lives for ways we deny Jesus?
How often have we crowed in accusation, demanding that a betrayal, denial, disappointment be brought to light?
by Rachel Wells
Teen Life is a non-profit organization in Southlake, Texas, dedicated to encouraging and equipping teenagers with life skills and strategies to live life better. Our friends at Teen Life have created a curriculum that they use in facilitated support groups to serve middle school and high school students who are in crisis or are beginning to make choices that will lead to crisis. Staff members Chris Robey and Ricky Lewis received coach training from Missional Wisdom's own Bret Wells.
What Does Missional Mean?, Week 3
by Adam White
“It’s not normal!”
I usually hear this phrase when I confide to people that growing up I not only liked to dip french fries into a Wendy’s chocolate frosty…but also proceeded to let chicken nuggets join the party. I know, you are probably thinking,
“It’s not normal!”
by Marshall Mosley
I recently met Denise and Larry
at a mutual friend’s house where we met to discuss what living in community can look like. My wife and I were excited to learn from their experiences, because we feel like we are moving in that direction as well. We also shared with them about the community-centered after school program we began in our neighborhood. They asked us to share a little about our program, called Parents United.
God's Missional Initiation:
What Does Missional Mean?, Week 2
by Adam White
What Does Missional Mean?
What comes to mind when you hear the word “initiation”?
For me, I can not help but think of people being initiated into a Greek collegiate society or social club. It seems like persons being initiated are willing to go to great lengths so that they might be accepted into whatever group they are wanting to become members of.
Open to Grace
by Melanie Dobson
Melanie Dobson is a pastor at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC. She will be participating in the fall 2017 cohort of Launch & Lead.
Hebrews 4:16—Let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
by Andrea Lingle
What is Missional?
Well, missional is…
So, we hope to spend the next several months talking about what mission means, to us, and to you.
Photography as a Spiritual Practice
The Missional Wisdom Foundation is proud to announce the launch of Journey, our newest educational initiative.
As we experiment with alternate forms of Christian community in the Missional Wisdom Foundation, we also stop to share the lessons we've learned along the way. Journey is a hub for learning and engagement with standalone courses taught by our exceptional group of instructors. Earlier this week, subscribers to our Journey email list received a one-time code for 20% off a course. To get your code and receive notifications when new courses become available, sign up here.
One of the courses now open for registration, Photography as a Spiritual Practice: Reclaiming Our Encounter with God, is taught by Ryan Klinck:
by Justin Hancock with Lisa Hancock
Growing up in a medium-sized, almost rural, West Texas town, the kitchen table played a prominent role. It doesn’t matter if it was sitting down for Sunday dinner at my great-grandparents’ house, with what felt like a billion relatives to my 5-year-old sensibilities, or rolling up to the table as the smell of homemade Chex Mix that my mother had just taken out of the oven filtered through the house during the Christmas holidays. The kitchen, and more specifically the kitchen table, has exerted an almost primal hold on the most tender part of my heart for as long as I can remember.