Last night I had a first. I joined an online video conversation, by using webex, with others involved in mission/pioneering/fresh expressions, most of whom were in the US … at least on this occasion I was the only person from the UK. The experience was great, it was good to ‘link’ with others and hear the stories of others. For a little while now, Thomas has been inviting me … and at last I managed to be around for one. It was even more of a pleasure as I can’t even remember how I got on the mailing list for this.
Tom gathers people like this on a monthly basis on a Friday at 4.00pm EST (9.00pm BST) for a 90 minute discussion. The strapline is: ‘an online gathering for those leading Missional Initiatives of all sorts, shapes and sizes.’ I kind of think that sor of connects with me!
Today Teresa Pasquale was interviewed. She was great to listen to. Teresa is working in SE Florida where she is creating sacred space for worship, food and discussion particularly for the 20’s/30’s age group. . What I loved about listening to Teresa is that she is exercising her mission out of her personal experience and pain. When she was asked, ‘how are you developing your approach?’, she responded with something like … ‘I used to be these people, so I am using the experience of what I needed … I am creating a space that I’ve been looking for all my life.’
Isn’t that amazing?! Terea’s calling is one of challenge and pain and danger …. and yet I believe she has hit on something in her outlook that embody’s a realistic honesty towards our lives. A gritty honesty that acknowledges we are created in the image of God, and trusts that we are called by God as we are in our humanity. By that I mean, the yearnings and desires and needs that we have from God are also to be used in our mission.
Too often we look at ourselves and think what we want or need are things for God to deal with as we progress in our journey. And, of course that is partly right …. but if we are called as we are, in the here and now, that maybe some part of our calling meets some part of our need also.
Our personal need for community and belonging, although not to be a driving force, could be something God given that drives our missional calling. Finding, or creating, a space that others are looking for is right and a massive amount of my own calling; but in that creating, I wonder if that also needs to be a space that I myself have been looking for as well.
Creating space together, that helps us all as a community to experience God in a meaningful way that makes a difference to how we we live speaks to me a lot of journeying together, supporting together, and growing together.
I loved what Terea said tonight and I think it linked in amazingly strongly with the ‘ministry of presence’ stuff that has been bouncing around the walls of my mind over the last few months and written about here and here amongst other places!
I’ve checked out Teresa’s blog and I’d recommend going to some of the stuff that is there. I particularly love the Homemade Dinner Prayer which you can link to at the foot of her page …. all I can say is ‘wow!’
Thanks Thomas for the invite, and thank you Teresa for your story.
I look forward to next time!