This weekend, the Friends of Jesus Fellowship will be holding our Spring Gathering out in Barnesville, Ohio. We’re expecting our largest attendance ever – so much so that we’ve barely been able to house everyone!
Our theme this spring is Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. Jesus says that the kingdom of God
is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.
At our gathering this weekend, we’ll be exploring three seeds that, if allowed to sprout and blossom, can lead us into the reign of God on earth. The three seeds are spiritual gifts, leadings & callings, and kingdom work.
Spiritual gifts are the foundation that God provides for everything that we do as a fellowship gathered in Jesus. The apostle Paul describes our community as being as being one body with many parts. Just as each part of the body has a specific function – the eyes for seeing, the tongue for tasting, and the feet for walking – each one of us has been given particular talents that we can use to strengthen the whole body.
At the Spring Gathering, we’ll be exploring the gifts that God has given each of us. We know that these gifts are not simply given to the individual, but to the whole body, so we’ll be looking for how each one of us can use our gifts in ways that equip us for our shared work as Friends of Jesus.
Leadings and Callings
The second seed that we’re looking at this weekend is leadings and callings. Through leadings and calling, we sense God calling us to bless others in tangible ways. If spiritual gifts are the raw materials for God’s action in the world, leadings and callings are the blueprints for moving forward.
One focus this weekend will be learning to identify the purpose that God is giving us for our lives. What is the vital work for each one of us, in our own context? What is the role that the Spirit is calling us to play in this time and culture? By slowing down and paying attention to the way that Christ speaks to each one of us, we’ll learn how to be more faithful to the specific ways that he calls us to follow him.
Once we’ve identified our spiritual gifts, and the calling that God is putting on our lives, the only thing left is to put our faith into action. Kingdom work is what happens when we respond to God’s call on our lives, using our spiritual gifts to bless the world around us. This weekend, we’ll look at the specific forms that this work can take, and how we can carry it out in ways that are life-giving, sustainable, and in sync with the ways the Spirit is directing us. By the end of our time together, we hope that each of us will have connected with others who can support us in the particular type of service we are called to.
See You This Fall?
It’s too late to sign up for this weekend’s gathering; registration closed a week ago, and we’re all out of beds! But we’d love to see you at our Fall Gathering. We’ll be in the New York City area over Labor Day Weekend (September 4-7). Can you join us? Make sure to save the date!
In the meantime, I hope you’ll share about how you’ve discovered your gifts, calling, and gospel work. How is the Spirit equipping and leading you as a follower of Jesus? Have you found a community where you can develop these gifts and engage in this work with the support of others?