It's been an inspiring few days at NEXTCHURCH 2018, a gathering of leaders mainly from the Presbyterian Church USA.
Probably the most affirming aspect, for me, was a sense of belonging. Belonging with people who welcome and are prepared to embrace the new thing that God is doing in the world today - and the implications that has for church. Belonging with those who are re-imagining church for today. Belonging with those who value ministry in all its varied forms and who welcome creativity. Belonging with those who are not threatened by others who are called to non traditional forms of ministry. Belonging with those who value the support of an institution and who are not afraid to challenge that institution about its priorities. Belonging with those who are hopeful and encouraged about God's purpose and vision for church today - and who gathered to tell their stories, to share their pain, to listen to God and to one another, to acknowledge that this work in which God invites us to participate is hard and that makes it all the more important that we support one another in it. Belonging with those who believe that the desert will bloom.