Dear friends and colleagues,
Your continued support for one another from coast to coast is inspiring. We have the privilege of being able to observe how you all are connecting, communicating, encouraging, and challenging one another in this truly remarkable time of ministry, and we are humbled by the courage and creativity you are exhibiting. Keep going! We’re with you! Let’s keep moving forward in the Spirit as God draws us into an ever-evolving witness of faith, hope, and love.
It would be difficult to overstate the complexity of circumstances we all are navigating right now, and indeed the exhaustion that accompanies it. You are dealing not only with the emotionally draining reality of not being able to physically connect with your congregations and others in the community, but also with an incredibly high degree of civil unrest around racial injustice and a highly contentious election season. Consequently, the conventional rhythms of the ministry year have been upended, and many are wondering what ministry will look like as we move into the fall. Especially for those of you who are in communities being disproportionally affected by all these forces – often due to ongoing and inadequately addressed racial, economic, and social injustices – we are aware that that these additional layers are incredibly burdensome. Again, we want to come alongside you all in whatever ways might prove helpful.
Seth Godin recently penned a short piece that included this reflection, “… just as you have to figure out where to put the tired when you run a marathon, you’ll need to figure out where to put the fear when you do work that matters.” It has us thinking about the words of 1 John 4:18, “perfect love casts out fear…” What will it look like for us to do the work that matters right now while receiving and sharing Christ’s love that casts out fear? What is the risk? What is the cost? What will be the reward?
A quick update from our team: We are exploring and experimenting in several ways about how to best serve pastors and lay leaders. We are currently wrapping up a successful 6-week virtual cohort of 20 pastors who focused on the themes of identity, sabbath, justice, and paradigm shifts. It was so refreshing to be a part of these deep and life-giving conversations, and we look forward to hosting more of these short cohorts. To that end, we are also developing a 6-week cohort designed for white pastors of predominantly white congregations who feel compelled to faithfully advance racial justice but who feel stuck or unsure about how to best proceed in their particular context. We continue also to engage in formal and informal coaching and consulting and, are also looking forward to hosting some regional virtual workshops this fall. All of this is in the foreground while we continue to press forward with our conventional three-year cohorts, including some new ones that are starting this month. What ideas do you have? What else could we be exploring? Stay updated on all our offerings through our Facebook page, website, and signing up to receive our weekly resources. Additionally, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our podcast, Ministry Leadership and Digging a Deeper Well blog posts, webinars, as well as the recent data we shared concerning churches reopening during a pandemic and what we’re learning.
When we have conversations with individual pastors and cohorts of pastors, we often end by saying, “and if there are any other ways we can provide support, let us know.” We want you to know that we mean that. What are you working on right now? How can we come along side you? How can we be a generative conversation partner? To whom might we connect you? What else? Let’s be in touch. Never hesitate to contact anyone from our team. There is indeed so much uncertainty, and yet we are certain that the good work God has begun in all of us will be brought to completion.
With deep gratitude,
TMC team: Mark Ramsey, Adam Borneman, Jennifer Watley Maxell, Adam Mixon, Ryan Bonfiglio, Laura Long,
Laura Whitaker, and Shannon Perry