Multivocal Ministry –

My work focuses on helping individuals gain clarity and perspective on where they are, where they want to be, and then designing a path forward. From there, I accompany clients on their journey, supporting and refining the goals, strategies and paths as the situation changes. Wherever you are on life’s journey, you don’t have to travel alone.

You’ll usually find me in one of these places…

SL Trinity Circle Synchronous LifeSynchronous Life

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Institute for Vital Ministry

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Missional Wisdom
Foundation

 

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JumpStart

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Entrepreneurship

 

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Church (UCC)

My ministry vocation finds is full expression through a variety of channels. These six are the primary ways that I seek to live out God’s call on my life, which is to support leaders in their pursuit of personal wholeness in the midst of transformative and world changing work.

Life is complex and filled with competing claims on our time, the only truly limited resource in life. My goal is to help clients integrate the energies in each area of life so that the physical and spiritual, emotional and relational, intellectual and occupational expressions of life lead to harmony and vitality rather than competing and thus depleting the very essence of life as it could be lived.


 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please fill out the contact form below.

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Ministry Beyond Our Ability

* Sermon notes for 082116

Ministry beyond our ability

Jeremiah 1:4-10;  Also: Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56

God calls us to ministry that is beyond our ability, and often beyond our confidence and comfort. At such times we naturally say, “Not me Lord. I / We can’t possibly do that. I / We are not __________ enough. Call someone else.” We may simply doubt the call and think we simply got someone else’s email. When this happens, God promises to bless us with all that we need, in ourselves an in those around us who will accompany us into ministry.

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What obstacles stand in your way of being who you know, down deep, you could be? Even who you are called by God to be? What’s present in your self-talk, your self-understanding, that limits your possibilities and undermines your courage.

Ministry BeyondOur Ability (1)I am not talking about ignoring limitations. Jeremiah was correct in saying that he was young, and that he was not practiced as a compelling public speaker. True and True. The problem that God addresses in the text that Jeremiah is allowing this to hold him back. Scripture does not suggest that any one of us has everything needed to accomplish something great. Rather, that we are called and formed to be one body, where each member contributes particular gifts to the whole. Where one is weak, others are strong. And where we are weak, there God’s power is able to work more fully in and through us in the world.

For me, it is pretty simple. I know my self-talk pretty well and how it limits me.

  • I am an introvert. This has taken multiple colors over the years, from:
    1. being very withdrawn, to
    2. severe insecurity, to
    3. self-doubt, to
    4. “nobody likes me everybody hates me think I’ll eat some worms,” to
    5. “I don’t really like people,” to
    6. “I’m invisible”
    7. And so on…
  • I have not experienced effectiveness at attracting people toward an idea, an event, a community. This is related to all the things above, at least in my head. Which drives the other or how they play on one another I’m not sure. Either way, I have plenty of negative self-talk around this.

SL Trinity Circle Synchronous LifeThese two things have been particularly problematic for me in the last 3+ years as I have attempted to build a business and a non-profit – both focused on individual and organizational vitality. I hold onto mottos like “We are companions for your journey. Wherever your road leads, you don’t have to travel alone.” And, “Don’t just survive, Thrive!” I developed a very solid theory for a coaching approach that addresses the various aspects of human life taken as a whole, not as siloed segments. I have written other really good material for individual and group work and for congregational transformation. What I can’t seem to do is get the word out so that those who would benefit from it can see, hear, understand and engage.

One could call it a failure of marketing and sales, and that would be true.

But there is something deeper going on. I can’t seem to get out of my own way. Perhaps you can relate.

The question is how do you see yourself in the Jeremiah text? What excuses are you giving yourself and God for not fulfilling the dream you have in your heart and mind? For not accomplishing the life giving and life transforming work you imagine?

Complete this sentence for yourself:

“I would do ___________________ for God,

if only I were more ___________________

or less ____________________.”

What stands in your way? What is your self-defeating inner dialogue? What sentences and paragraphs show up in your written journals or prayer diaries, year after year?

It is important also that we try to distinguish between something we would like to do or experience (I want to own a 50+ foot yacht and sail offshore.) and separate that from the seed of a dream that is God’s kingdom work within us.

The latter is that thing which disturbs your heart and mind, and for which you imagine a solution, or at least a response, but you hold back from pursuing it because it seems too big and you feel too small. A mentor friend of mine says,seed2

“The life-transforming dream within you
is a seed of the kingdom of God.
God placed it there, and
with your help and permission
God will bring it to blossom and bear fruit.”

Take a moment and write down a few key words, or draw a picture, that symbolize the dream within you. That passion that troubles your mind and won’t let you rest because “Someone needs to do something…”

  • Is it senior adults who are isolated and alone?
  • Is it children who are abandoned or abused?
  • Is it those with some special physical, mental, emotional or learning need?
  • Is it a particular racial or ethnic group?
  • Is it an issue of gender or sexual orientation or identity?
  • Is it a concern for creation – plants or animals?
  • Is it the lack of meaningful and sustainable employment?
  • Is it a general lack of health and wellness among one or another population?
  • Is it people who live in the midst of violence and civil unrest?
  • Is it people who live without hope?
  • Is it people who live in extreme poverty and some particular aspect of that?

This list could go on and on. There is, I am assuming and hoping, something that burdens you as it burdens God. All of these things and more weigh on God’s heart in a way that is incomprehensible to us. If we attempted to shoulder it all we would no doubt be crushed. So Go in Wisdom gives us one or two things that really stir us, make us want to act, to change or improve the situation in a measurable and meaningful way. Or at least to try.

I’ll say too that when it comes to a church, there are several ways of looking at this question.

  • We could ask, “What is the one issue that as a congregation we want to pursue with great energy and resource?” I’m in relationship with a pastor whose congregation has identified “early childhood education for our city’s poorest and most vulnerable children” as the population and the specific project or program to which they will dedicate themselves. This means their programming and building and budget are being radically reallocated to respond to this need. AND it means they are partnering with the local school district and several nonprofits to bring a collaborative approach to addressing these issues with the families of these children.
  • We could ask, “What is each person’s passion, burden or concern, and how can we as a church undergird and support the development and pursuit of these ministries?”
    I have developed two resources that follow this second approach, and which may also over time result in the emergence of the first.

    1. Ministry Internships – this process supports individuals in an intentional, intense and ongoing action / reflection study of their personal vocations – who and what God is calling and equipping them to be and do.
    2. Dream Discovery Process – this 12 month program walks a congregation through a study of scripture and their community to allow them individually and collectively to see how and where their strengths and the communities needs intersect. Along with how the congregation’s needs and the community’s strengths overlap. You see we are surrounded by people who want their lives to mean something – they want to make a difference and one of the greatest gifts a congregation can give its neighbors is space to explore and develop that dream.

The reality is that these are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary and interdependent. Any large ministry focus of a congregation will require many within the church to see it as their personal calling and to be able to find their place in it. At the same time, many will also long to address things outside that main program focus, and so the congregation will want to address those passions as well.

My entire ministry is really about these two conversations, their intersection, and supporting the clergy and laity who are leading the discussion and providing the resources. I recognize that doing this kind of work is difficult and lonely and frustrating at times, while also being energizing and life-giving.

I love to come alongside leaders who are dreaming something new and discovering how I can support them, and how I can connect them with others on complementary paths. I can’t do it enough. Literally. If I could I would gather every pastor and lay leader together in a room and ask, “What do you need in order to pursue the dreams that God has placed within you and your people?” and then I would set about helping them find and access what they needed, whether it comes from within them, around them, or above them.

What about you? Look again at that piece of paper where you wrote or doodled a few ideas. What is the vision that floats before your eyes?

hand up rock climbing 1Now write briefly what stands in your way or holds you back. (Not the stuff outside of you – no doubt there may be plenty of that.) What is within you – thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, fears, inner dialogue, self-talk – what stops you from doing that which perhaps God has called and will gift you to accomplish.

Notice again what God says to Jeremiah:

“Do not say ‘I am only a youth.’”

  • Stop the negative self-talk. Stop taking what is factually true and using it as an excuse.

“I formed you. I knew you. I consecrated you. I appointed you.”

  • You are qualified and able because of me and who I am, not because of you and who you are. My strength, and your identity in me, will more than overcome any limitations in you.

“You shall go to whom I send you. You shall speak the words I give you.”

  • I am the one who sends you. I will provide what you think you are lacking, if in fact you need it and if in fact it is absent now.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

  • I know you feel inadequate. I understand, and it will be OK. You are not alone.

Then, God touches Jeremiah and says, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.”

  • There is both a physical and a spiritual experience for Jeremiah – a holistic response from God who recognizes that fear and self-doubt manifest in mind, body and spirit.

“See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

  • Some things that exist now will need to end, to make room for what is next.
  • Some objects, ideas, programs no longer bear fruit – they must go.
  • Some systems hold on to the past too tightly and hinder new growth – they must go.

All the way through God says, “If you will walk forward, I will meet you at your point of need. It is time for the community to be transformed, and the dream I have put within you will work toward that transformation. No, I don’t expect you to do it on your own. You couldn’t even if you wanted to for the very reasons you have said. But I, I will do what I have promised.

AND: “My word which I sent will accomplish the purpose for which it went out, and will not return to me empty.” (Isaiah 55:11)

quadro-decorativo-we-not-me_1God is with us. We are not alone. Allow yourself to dream again, to imagine what God desires to do, what blessing you desire to see in the world around you. And remember that God calls and commissions us for ministry beyond our ability. If we know now how can do it on our own, then it is not from God and is not where we are to be investing our lives anyway.

If we will open ourselves to this hope, then God will provide the resources, the knowledge, the energy, the people, to accomplish that which God dreams for us and through us for the world.

 

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Ministry BeyondOur Ability

Worship Notes for Sunday 8/21/16

Psalm 71 sv

Leader: In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.
People: In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me.
Leader: Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
People: Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
Unison: For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.

PoC:  36A

Text: Jeremiah 1:4-10
Title: “Ministry beyond our ability”
Also: Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56

God calls us to ministry that is beyond our ability, and often beyond our confidence and comfort. At such times we naturally say, “Not me Lord. I / We can’t possibly do that. I / We are not __________ enough. Call someone else.” We may simply doubt the call and think we simply got someone else’s email. When this happens, God promises to bless us with all that we need, in ourselves an in those around us who will accompany us into ministry.

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