Forward Today: Challenges and gifts

Dear friends in Christ,

This coming Sunday’s epistle comes from 1 Corinthians 12, in which Saint Paul reminds us that we Christians together are the body of Christ, and that each one of us is a member that has a crucial role to play in the body.

I was thinking about how this works out at Forward Movement, a ministry of the church that has a different calling than a local congregation. Our work is to inspire disciples and empower evangelists. We do this in lots of ways. We host conferences, publish books, create apps, provide websites, offer podcasts, and more.

Doing our work requires a variety of gifts. We need people whose spiritual calling is finding missing commas. We need people who are patient and persistent to make sure that our orders ship on time. We need people who can tell the story of Forward Movement and what we have to offer the church. And that’s not even getting the list started!

The pandemic has pushed us hard. At times, it has felt futile to struggle against the tide of adversity. And at other times, I think we’d all say the pandemic has challenged us to work in new ways that will help us be more effective in our ministry. Our whole staff is weary, but I’m also amazed by the resilience of every single person at Forward Movement, as the staff has pressed onward to carry out our mission. We know that just as this has been tough for us, it’s also been tough on the individuals and congregations we serve.

Dozens of shipping boxes and mailing envelopes, stacked in the back of a large hatchback car.One of our latest challenges is that our warehouse has struggled to ship orders. You’ve read about all the issues with the supply chain and the world of logistics. Well, it’s no abstraction for us! To get things out on time, our Cincinnati customer service team has worked tirelessly to ship orders from our offices in Cincinnati.

This photo shows a carload of orders heading out. That’s just one of many batches. These orders—and hundreds more over the last few months—were all hand-packed by folks who stop every day at 10:00 a.m. to pray for our work and the ministry of the whole church.

I’ve certainly learned a lot about logistics and shipping! And we’ve had to change how, where, and when we work. We’ve improved our technology. We’ve learned to support one another in new ways. We’ve learned to go with a flow a bit more readily. Someday when the global health crisis is over, we’ll work better because of the challenges of the last two years.

Why am I telling all this? First, while I fully acknowledge and grieve very real costs of the pandemic in terms of death, illness, and personal struggle, I can also see that it has pushed us in some ways we needed to be pushed. I wonder if that’s true in your congregation? Second, we couldn’t have gotten through the last two years without the support of the whole church. I know that you have been patient with us. You have prayed for us. And you have supported us with an outpouring of donations to sustain our ministry. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We’re going to get through this. Things will change, but we have each other and we have the abiding Holy Spirit with us along the way.

Blessings to you. May you have the strength and the courage to do the work God is calling you to do in this strange and challenging time, and may we never forget that Jesus has promised the Holy Spirit’s companionship with us on our journey.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

More from our ministry:

From Grow Christians, our family blog: Who is Jesus to you?
Get your Lent calendar today: Join the Journey through Lent
Help make this work possible: Donate to Forward Movement