It’s getting to that point in the winter when it feels like spring will never come. Yet, there is real growth happening amid the cold and ice. The Friends of Jesus community is growing in depth and momentum as we find our way forward as a community rooted in the Spirit. It’s amazing to watch God draw us together as a team, as friends, as companions in the way of Jesus. And I’m growing on a personal level, finding my way towards being more faithful in the ministry that God has called me to. Little by little, I’m finding ways to release my own priorities and open myself to how God wants to use my life.
I experienced this sense of opening just this weekend, during a trip to Philadelphia. On Friday, I was invited to speak to students at Swarthmore College about discernment and Spirit-led decision-making in the Quaker tradition. I shared about the biblical basis for our practice, and how we might apply these principles in groups and organizations that don’t necessarily share the same faith basis.
It seemed that my talk was very well-received, and I felt hopeful that it may have helped to strengthen the Christian and interfaith witness at Swarthmore. I was surprised and inspired to find this door opened to me, and this visit made me more aware of the hunger that the rising generation has for decision-making that is based in truth, rather than egotistical power plays. This may be an area for greater exploration.
Following my visit to Swarthmore, I headed up to Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House, where the planning group for Quaker Spring gathered for a weekend retreat. We had a deep time of shared listening together, and I felt blessed to be in partnership with these faithful Friends. I am looking forward to the Quaker Spring gathering this June 24-29 in Barnesville, Ohio.
My travels this weekend left me feeling inspired. Something has been broken open inside me, and I am feeling drawn to re-dedicate myself to the core ministry that the Holy Spirit is calling me into. This ministry is both local and universal, involving both a settled witness here in DC as well as traveling to share the good news of Jesus and support the emergence of new leaders and communities in other areas.
At times, it has been a challenge to stay focused on this mission. In the last year, in addition to the rather intensive demands of the ministry, I’ve been working several part-time jobs. Sometimes this has worked well, but on many occasions it has created conditions for a great deal of stress and anxiety in my life. Worst of all, I have the sense that at times my over-busyness has negatively impacted the exercise of the most essential ministry that God is inviting me into.
This weekend, something clicked into place, and I had a clear sense that 2014 is a year for me to be transitioning into more focused ministry, less weighed down by other concerns. There have been times in the past when I have felt a drawing to this kind of focus, but now God seems to be preparing the conditions for me to truly live into that vision. My local community here in DC has shown amazing support in recent months, encouraging me to pursue a more fully released ministry. I am both humbled and emboldened by the ways in which Friends are investing their time, energy, resources and love into creating a space where this ministry can advance unhindered.
In the months ahead, we will be exploring together what it looks like for me to be serving Friends of Jesus as a bi-vocational released minister. With the support of local community members and Friends from across the country, we are hopeful that we can help create space for this exciting ministry to flourish in the ways that God intends.
Thank you for your prayerful support of my ministry, and of the Friends of Jesus community as a whole. This month, please pray for us:
- That the Spirit would open doors for me to share the good news of Jesus with boldness, in unexpected and exciting ways.
- That the network of prayer and support for this ministry would continue to grow and create an environment in which ministry can be exercised freely.
- That we be empowered to cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit, gathering people into fellowships where Jesus Christ is known in an intimate, personal way; where each of us has the opportunity to become his disciple and demonstrate his love for the world.
In gratitude and friendship,