by Stephanie McKellar
November 2 - 4, 2017, the newly re-formatted Launch & Lead cohort met in Winchester, Virginia for our first gathering together, the Foundations Workshop.
We begin with spiritual direction, in the safe space of the Rotunda; we are hosted in our weekend by Shenandoah University. Matt Johnson welcomes us to the space with an abundance of spiritual tools to facilitate our spiritual practice. We are welcomed to the space of the weekend and the learning process, and we trust that the Spirit will show up to guide us along the way. How can we create practices of margin and stillness in our lives in order to create more of a porous soul that the Spirit can dive into and fill, informing and nourishing our work and our call?
We’ve completed a series of personal assessments in preparation for this weekend; our story emerges with more clarity as we pour over our assessments and consider how they inform and shape our views and equip our gifts. Renda Garner encourages us to lean into our strength: how are we fearfully, wonderfully, and intentionally made? What is it we already have to offer in abundance and as the intentional, beautiful human God created us to be?
Our first L&L course was on the topic of Story; throughout the weekend we reflect more deeply on the story we bring to the table and the spiritual one we strive to live into. How do we tell our own stories, and how does our context tell itself its story? How do we discover and learn the story of a place and a people, and witness the intersection of the Kingdom story weaving throughout?
We finish the weekend breaking off from the cohort into our peer groups, together crafting the beginning trellis of a Rule of Life upon which to grow the vines of our work in our communities. We’ll continue our work separately in our contexts, encouraging and learning from a distance, leaning into the dance of the Trinity. We’ll reconvene for our second workshop in Dallas in April at Missional Wisdom’s National Gathering.
I depart with a community of fellow story-tellers and story-listeners, empowered and equipped to begin asking important questions in my story, my spiritual life, my context, and my community. I depart with my imagination invigorated and inspired to daily dance with the dreaming of the Spirit and discover how it invites me to bring my gifts and presence to the communing table.