Often while praying I become distracted by thoughts entering my mind. I want to focus on God, on an image, on a person or situation, but the cares of the day or my grocery list come pressing to the fore. Entering the stream is a way of receiving and letting go.
As you begin your prayer time, imagine that you are walking down into a clear and gently flowing stream. You find it refreshing and comforting. The temperature is perfect, your feet feel steady, and the water enfolds you in its embrace.
This stream is the continual flow of prayers being offered around the world. Conscious prayer is not something you stop or start, turn on and off. It is constantly there for you to enter and exit as you are ready and able.
Once you find yourself in the middle of the stream, allow your prayers to join those moving toward and around you, surrounding and holding you. Any extraneous thought that comes will be like a large leaf floating on the water. Do not try to reject, ignore or hold it at bay. Simply take it up from the water in one hand. Notice briefly its size, color, texture, and anything else that stands out. Turn it over into your other hand, and place it gently back on the surface of the water, allowing it to ride slowly away. Return your attention to the water.
We cannot keep the thoughts away. Nor do we want to focus on and follow them. This visualization technique allows us to acknowledge, note, and then release these thoughts back into the stream. If they are important and worthy of our attention, they will come back to us when we have time to deal with them. For now, our goal is simply to be fully present to this moment of prayer. Enjoy the experience of standing in the stream for as long as you like. Then return to the bank and whatever awaits you in the day. Remember that the stream of prayer continues for you even when you can not be fully in it. And allow the water of prayer that has soaked into you to transform how you experience and engage your world until you return to this place again.
Outsiders bring fresh perspective and new insights into our world. Inviting someone in to hear and see our lives, to reflect prayerfully and then to speak faithfully, this is a great challenge and opportunity. We risk hearing uncomfortable truths with the hope and expectation that we will be renewed and transformed as a result. The Kingdom of God is found where our internal needs and resources intersect with those of the community around us.
The Missional Church finds its fullest expression at this intersection. The next week will be spent pouring over data, stories and collections of interviews as we prepare a Comprehensive Report. In June The Best Start Project began working with our first congregation. This is a congregation with great strengths and competencies already on board. They have a strong history over their 20 years, and are positioned now to be transformed and grow into the mature Body of Christ that they are called to be.
This work begins with the congregation centering itself in prayer and bible study. On this foundation it builds by bringing together information gathered from Market Research, customized Congregational and Community Surveys, Listening Conversations, Leadership Style Assessments, Ethnographic Interviewing, and Congregational Analysis. The Comprehensive report synthesizes all of this information into a digestible format with the addition of Observations and Opportunities. The congregation then has a path forward and the increased capacity to use these tools for continued renewal and transformation.
You work as part of a team. There are times when everything flows smoothly and you are amazed at the productivity. Other times the wheels come off, and you can’t figure out why.
Our matrix combines the unique strengths of each team member into one graph, allowing you to see at a glance where the TEAM Strengths gravitate, and where there is reduced or no emphasis. This does not mean the team cannot accomplish these tasks or function in these ways, but simply that it will not come as easily or naturally. It also suggests that future team development will benefit by filling in the present gaps.
StrengthsFinder can help you understand how you function best – the areas in which you are naturally gifted AND which energize you. Let us help you develop your own leadership and your team functioning for peak performance across all your key metrics.