“Your Perspective, Insights, and Witness Make a Difference,” Blog Series Summary


Your Perspective, Insights, and Witness Make a Difference

TMC thrives on listening to and learning from you – ministry leaders, TMC cohort facilitators, and other conversation partners across the country – who continually provide deep insights, alternative perspectives, and imagination that helps us discern where the Spirit is blowing and how the TMC network can faithfully respond. Your collective feedback is a powerful witness to what God is doing in the world. So, as always, we want to hear from you! Each post in this blog series is a question directed to you, accompanied by short reflections about why we’re drawn to these questions, and a simple way for you to respond. We hope these questions resonate with you and others in your ministry context. 

What significant tensions are you and your ministry context currently navigating or anticipating?

“If you’ve ever put new strings on a guitar, you know that as you tighten a new string and tune it, it always feels like you’re on the verge of snapping it. But if you can get it to just the right tension, along with all the other strings, new strings sound beautiful. Sometimes life and ministry feels like that, like we’re a guitar string being tightened and on the verge of snapping. But sometimes that tension we’re experiencing is when we’re being tuned, alongside others who are being tuned as well (and like a guitar or other stringed instrument, we’re all being tuned to different notes!)”

– Adam Borneman


What Are You Learning About Faith Formation and Discipleship in Your Ministry Context?

“Making disciples requires teaching the Scriptures and stories. And yet knowledge and information alone does not make disciples. Jesus did not simply give a series of lectures or present a weekly sermon – he also invited people to follow him and see and experience what it means to live abundantly. We know that information does not lead to transformation. Nevertheless, we too often put resources, energy, and effort into programs and models that focus on Christian Education in a way that suggests a “know it and do it” mindset.”

– Beth McMullen Daniel


In what ways do you hope your congregation or ministry context can simplify and go deeper this upcoming year?

“My hope this year is that my congregation, The Breakthrough Fellowship, and all congregations can focus on and go deeper in Jesus so we can sift through all the portentousness, hyperbole, and verbosity that tells us that we as believers are somehow other, set aside, distanced, and at odds with culture. That we don’t belong in certain conversations, in certain places, and among certain groups instead of being the people of God swimming in the sea of culture that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned as the Beloved Community.”

– Jennifer Watley Maxell


What Passages of Scripture or Theological Themes Are Most Formative for You Right Now?

“You’re not going to get it all right. The task is too hard, the landscape is too quickly changing, and there are just too many variables to deal with. The expectation that we get everything right is not a biblical value but an idol rooted in late-stage American capitalism and its obsession with production, performance, and progress. So, if you’re feeling like you’re not getting everything right these days in your ministry, go easy on yourself. Getting it all right is not the job, nor is it the way of discipleship. The grace of Jesus Christ is for you, too.”

– Ryan Bonfiglio


What experiences in ministry are nurturing hope in you or your congregation?

“There have been challenges and learnings, but our deep love for Christ and one another makes even the obstacles opportunities for us to encounter the unpredictable movement of the Spirit when Christ is centered. It is astounding and it is encouraging.  Against the backdrop of the myriad challenges confronting small churches in poor communities, life is forcing her way through the cracks in the pavement and blossoming in small but significant ways. Let me tell you what I mean…”

– Adam Mixon


What Will You Need in Order to Build Trust and Capacity in Your Ministry for the Long-term (But Especially as We Prepare for Another Divisive Election Season)?

“I have been surprised by how people seem to trust what their little pocket hand-held computers tell them more than a person sitting across the table from them… Our world is moving at the speed of light and what we thought we understood about trust is shifting just as fast. We are told to trust the data, trust our leaders, trust what we see on TV or hear from others, and many of us are skeptical. We don’t trust the narratives that are out there and sometimes we make the narratives worse because we just don’t trust anyone.”

– Amy Valdez Barker


The Question Before the Question

“Among the questions I receive most often from pastors:  How can our congregation change things that need to be changed?  How can we challenge our focus for more effective ministry? In the shifting ground of post-pandemic life, with politics upstream of faith and everything up for negotiation in organized religion, those are potentially good, growth-producing questions.  Fundamental assumptions need to be revisited.  Long-standing processes in our ministry are ripe for closer examination.”

– Mark Ramsey

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