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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Covenant Conversations

First, allow me to express my appreciation for the opportunity to join a community of people who are passionate about God's vision for the church.

Since this is my first post, I wanted to offer something that might create some reflection and dialogue. Immediately, I thought about an item I shared with Northwest Baptist Church two years ago as we began considering the journey of discerning God's vision for the church. This item created a great deal of conversation which helped to clarify the type of journey we were being called to embark on as a congregation. I encourage you to take time to read and reflect, and then offer your response(s). I look forward to the discussion.

Covenant of Openness to Visions
from Thomas G. Bandy, Moving Off the Map: A Field Guide to Changing the Congregation (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998), 185.
We promise to help create a climate of openness to receive the visions God would reveal to us, from _________ to ________ (dates).
1. We declare our readiness to "Let Go." We are ready to risk our heritage, our tradition, and our survival in order to discern the new directions in which God would lead us.
2. We declare our readiness to "Let God." We are ready to be surprised or dismayed, challenged or judged, changed to new ways or confirmed in ancient ways in any way God addresses us.
3. We declare our readiness to consider all options. We are ready to consider any change or sacrifice, any opportunity or cost - even the amalgamation, relocation, or closure of our congregation, for the sake of our walk with Jesus.
4. We declare our readiness to focus on priorities. We are ready to entrust the relative trivialities of insitutional management to a gifted few and to concentrate our energies on what is truly important about our future and our faith.
5. We declare our readiness to share all ministries. We are ready to free our clergy and equip our laity to share equal responsibility for ministry so that all may have time to deepen spirituality and listen for the callings of God.
6. We declare our readiness to stretch our imaginations. We are ready to listen to crazy ideas, consider the impossible, taste the distasteful, converse with strangers, and experiment with the nontraditional so that God can help us to grow and change.
7. We declare our readiness to laugh. We are ready to tolerate odd personalities, go to extreme diplomacy, and offer the maximum generosity. We are prepared to laugh at ourselves and laugh with each other. We are eager to try, fail, learn, and try again.
{DISCLAIMER: Please do not conclude that by my posting this item that I agree with it wholeheartedly. You will discover my thoughts as we dialogue. I post it simply because it should create reflection and dialogue.}