Dear Friends, Colleagues and Churches, 

At the turn of the millennium, the late Eugene Peterson sharpened and revised a wonderful book – ‘A Long Obedience in the Same Direction’. New centuries often cause or precipitate alternatives in our perspectives. We each experience epiphanies; moments that cause us to re-evaluate our priorities and our focus or goals going forward. Last year, while contemplating the maddening throng of ‘digital advice’ to churches and church leaders, I read this in Peterson’s book:

‘There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness. Religion in our time has been captured by the tourist mindset. Religion is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure.’ [1]

This narrative stirred conversations internally and in team, concerning the need to arrest ‘quick fix’ thinking and follow the path of wisdom, thereby discerning what is critical for the church in this next season. With so much on offering with assistance to churches, it seems that every book, every consultant and every course has a solution that is delivered instantly online!

Alternatively, the wisdom pathway is an invitation to a deeper, more rich experience, where one slows down enough to allow the Word of God to penetrate our soul and leadership with timeless truth. When Moses passed on the leadership baton to Joshua (Exodus 35:31), there was prayer and the laying on of hands: each were spiritual actions that accompanied a spirit of wisdom.

With this mind, Fresh Hope has been mindful of leadership postures for our church that help us look beyond the immediate into a long-term future or horizon. Last year, we launched 5 cornerstone strategic themes that we believe help settle our sense of mission, and focus us together for a vital future. While each of our churches within Churches of Christ are self-governed, we desire to impart wisdom that will help each church see clearly those insights with passion and conviction.

Over the next 5 months, I will write on these themes. I do so not to impose them, but to invite you into a deeper wisdom journey; to ask important questions together as to the future of the church that you have carriageway over in leadership. 

We continue to pray that God will position the church for contextual mission and offer fresh hope to communities nearby. May 2020 be full of vision and wisdom.

Blessings, 

Andrew Ball
Executive Ministry Director

 

 

[1]   Peterson, Eugene.  A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society. © 2000 IVP.