By Bret Wells
We made several significant changes to Launch & Lead during our redesign a few years ago. We were particularly excited about the possibilities created by hosting all fall and spring workshops at the same time and place. This meant that everyone participating in Launch & Lead would have the opportunity to meet and connect with everyone else, regardless of where they are in the process. It seemed to us that this presented the perfect time to finally implement our vision for a National Gathering. Now, each spring, we have an opportunity for the entire dispersed community of the MWF—including current, past, and potential Launch & Lead participants—to share stories, encourage one another, collaborate on experiments in missional mischief. As the National Gathering is going on, cohorts that are just beginning their Launch & Lead journey complete their Foundations workshop, cohorts that are finishing up participate in the Story Retreat, and both groups also have opportunities to participate in certain aspects of the National Gathering with everyone else. For cohorts that are in the middle of the Launch & Lead process, the NG itself is their workshop. This strategy ensures that the National Gathering is always going to be beautifully chaotic…and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Sarah Howell-Miller, Launch & Lead participant says:
"Missional Wisdom's entire mission is to 'experiment with and teach about alternative forms of Christian community,' which can mean a million different things. One thing is has meant for me is that I've been building Christian community via video conferencing software with my colleagues at the MWF as well as with my peers in Launch & Lead. One of the greatest gifts of National Gathering was getting to be with all those people in 3D. It showed me that community can be, and indeed is, built over long distances with the help of technology, and that it is so important to living incarnationally that we regularly put ourselves in one another's physical presence. As part of the Fall 2018 Launch & Lead cohort, getting to meet and spend time with those peers and our incredible instructors motivated me to engage more fully in those times when we are dispersed and remote. Attending workshops on intentional community, spiritual formation, writing practice, and more gave me a much bigger picture of the MWF community and how many new/old ways there are to build the kingdom. National Gathering helped me concretize connections I’d already made online; gave me connections with new co-conspirators and friends; and energized me to dig deeper in my own work and spiritual life."