Dear friends in Christ,
I have a confession. When new folks step up to serve on the vestry or another key leadership role in the congregation or diocese, I pray for them. Of course, I pray for God to grant them wisdom and patience as they steer the church. But I also pray this: Dear God, let them still want to be a part of the church when their vestry term is complete.
Seeing how the sausage is made isn’t pretty. Because churches are institutions with human beings, they have all the foibles and flaws of humans. We might expect (and hope and pray) that church folks will extend grace and see Christ in one another—and many times, we do. But as humans, we also have the capacity to be mean-spirited, petty, territorial, and stubborn. And when this happens in our churches—places that we hope will be a sanctuary from this type of behavior—we can become disillusioned and disheartened. I should know. After nearly two decades of working for church organizations and as the wife of a priest, I have been there, broken-hearted and soul-weary.
That’s one of the reasons I am so excited about the work of the Rev. Canon Dawn Davis of the Diocese of Niagara in the Anglican Church of Canada. She recognized that the administrative functions of church leadership—making sure the bills are paid and the facilities are maintained—often become the focus for church leaders, and spiritual growth and nurture fall to the wayside. It’s easier to mark off tangible items on a to-do list than to engage in the messy, non-linear work of strengthening our spiritual lives.
And yet, without our connection and relationship to God, we are simply social service agencies that meet on Sunday mornings. When we don’t have the time or energy to respond to the deep calling of God, we eventually become empty vessels, unable to keep leading effectively and aching for everlasting water.
Dawn spent time with church leaders and began developing a response that she has shaped today into Revive. This small-group discipleship program celebrates the faithful service of lay leaders and offers them the gift of exploring their faith journey and discerning their calling.
Over the course of ten months, lay leaders experience different ways to pray and study God’s word as well as learn how to confidently lead groups in prayer or Bible study. The program invites participants to explore and discover spiritual practices that will feed them, so that once nourished, they might go and help others grow in love of Christ and neighbor.
Having spent significant time with the resources of Revive, I believe they can transform the experience of church leadership so that at the end of service on a vestry or diocesan committee, leaders might not feel drained and exhausted but rather reinvigorated and revived, fortified by a deeper relationship with God and with each other and ready for new opportunities to serve and be served.
Yours in Christ,
Deputy Director and Managing Editor
Today’s Flash Sale: A Journey with Luke
A masterful storyteller with the compassion of a physician, Luke paints a picture of Jesus as healer, full of mercy, forgiveness, and love. The Gospel of Luke features the lovely Magnificat, Mary’s love song to God, and the nativity story heard in Christmas pageants around the world. Luke includes three parables not heard in any other gospel: the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, and the unjust judge. Luke, also believed to be the author of the book of Acts, emphasizes prayer as central to the life of faith.
Join the journey with Luke with fifty days of scripture readings, meditations, and prayers written by dynamic spiritual leaders from around the world. A Journey with Luke is part of a series of fifty-day Bible studies and is an extension of The Bible Challenge, a global initiative to encourage daily engagement with the Word of God.
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