Rural Churches Consider Their Calling
The Church is a sign of God’s presence in the world. We come together as the body of Christ to join in God’s mission of redemption. We witness what God has done and is doing and invite the Holy Spirit to lead us in the next steps. The Rural Missouri cohorts offered a space to share dialogue and discernment around the ways God calls rural churches to be part of the mission and brainstorm opportunities to support each other in these efforts. We are so grateful for the pilot groups who have been willing to try new things and provide feedback throughout the process, shaping what this learning opportunity is now and is to come.
God calls us to be part of the mission. God also equips us with different talents and gifts. Our early conversations used discovery and appreciation to identify the best of what is. It was an excellent opportunity to learn about each other and model a way to lift stories of when churches and communities lived fully in God’s image. Naming the relationships, values, strengths and assets that influenced those positive experiences can be used to envision and design future ministry.
As participants shared dreams for their churches and communities, the hope was to respond from a position of curiosity. They asked questions about what the person learned or the steps they took to get to that point and encouraged collaboration through active listening and reflection. Participants were invited to reflect on the peer feedback and how it might be helpful for future steps.
It was an absolute joy to see these folks grow in community with each other. They shared ministry dreams, ideas and resources, asked questions and affirmed strengths and gifts. Together they celebrated the big and small places where God’s grace and light shine bright.