Leslie Newbigin wrote:
The question that has to be put to every local congregation is the question whether it is a credible sign of God’s reign of justice and mercy over the whole life, whether it is an open fellowship whose concerns are as wide as the concerns of humanity, whether it cares for its neighbors in a way which reflects and springs out of God’s care for them, whether its common life is recognizable as a foretaste of the blessing that God intends for the whole human family.**
I read that yesterday from JR Woodward’s introduction to his Creating a Missional Culture. That’s the first book assigned in the Doctor of Ministry program of St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City that I’ll begin in January. It is also indicative of why it is that I’m entering this program…at a time of great transition for our family as we move to Seward, Alaska…at a time of great transition for both the church I leave in Girdwood after 12 years and the churches I’ll be headed to in Seward and Moose Pass.
This is a big step. This is not something I’ve entered into lightly. It’s something I’ve been considering for many years and with greater intensity for 4-5 years. But, during this time, I found my commitments to itineration (visiting churches, soliciting support) and General and Jurisdictional commitments would have meant far too many weeks away from the people of Girdwood and my family. And, because there has been a change in the program, moving from a community-based “cohort” system to one of more individual study, I struggled with whether or not I still wanted to make a three-year commitment. It’s not everything that got me pumped about the program in the first place.