This last month has been a change of pace. During the past year, I’ve felt myself called to get much more local, to travel far less, and to focus almost exclusively on developing community in the DC area. That work has borne a lot of fruit, and we have grown substantially in both depth and numbers as compared with where we were at a year ago. But while I still sense that most of my focus still needs to be on nurturing and equipping our local community and leaders, this month I’ve felt an opening to forms of ministry that go beyond the local Meeting.
It started with a trip to the Midwest. In late September, I spent about a week in Richmond, Indiana, at the FUM Bridging the Gaps conference for youth and young adult workers. After that, I stayed in town for a few more days to participate in an FUM staff retreat. My time out in Richmond was invigorating. I was reminded that I am a part of a broader movement, and that we as Friends of Jesus are just one little cell in the worldwide Body of Christ.
Not long after getting back from a week away in Indiana, the Friends of Jesus Fellowship had its annual Fall Gathering right here in Washington, DC. Coming so close on the heels of my visit to Indiana, this was yet another reminder of the work that remains to be done in our wider network. I am feeling drawn to renew my commitment to encouraging the many groups and individuals who are either part of FOJF or who share a similar mission and focus. I don’t know exactly what this will look like yet, but I am trusting that God will reveal the ways in which I can be most faithful in the months ahead.
Believe it or not, I actually ended up taking another trip out to Indiana this month. The second one came immediately after the FOJF Fall Gathering, when I hitched a ride with Hoot Williams – an organizer for Friends of Jesus in Philadelphia. We attended the annual Pastors’ Conference held at Earlham School of Religion, and visited among Friends in Richmond. Despite the insanity of driving nine hours each way to spend a day and a half in Indiana, the trip was deeply refreshing and encouraging for me. The Pastors’ Conference inspired me to consider how to make the practice of Sabbath a bigger part of my life, and I was grateful to be able to spend time connecting with Hoot and Friends in Richmond.
As I continue to do discernment about my widening sense of spiritual concern, I am finding my conception of ministry broadened in ways beyond the geographical. For the first time in more than a year, I feel that God is once again inviting me into more proactive work for economic and social justice. While I’m not quite sure what this will entail, I sense it will be important for me to become active in gathering with a wide range of communities – variously secular and spiritual – to prepare ourselves for the many challenges that lie ahead. No great social change ever occurs without years or decades of groundwork, and I want to be part of a movement that advances the cause of justice and reveals the beauty of God’s kingdom for everyone to see.
As I explore these bubbling changes in my life and sense of calling, I hope that you will continue to unite with me in prayer. Here are a few specific ways that you might consider praying this month:
- For God to guide me in being faithful to the specific work that he is calling me to. Let me be given wisdom to know what is mine to do, and humility to leave the rest to others.
- That the Friends of Jesus communities have a deep awareness of the Spirit’s presence. May God raise up new leaders to equip us for the work that God is giving us.
- For us to make the connections and strengthen the relationships that we need to share God’s love and open up new life in the kingdom.
In love and friendship,