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Recently some of us have been listening to and reading some material from Soma Communities. I am trying to flesh out some of the concepts in my head and would love your feedback. There is a ton of stuff on this website, but I am focusing on the “mercy” portion for now.

I chose this for a few reasons… we have done probably the least to equip our mercy extender’s directly & I think if we really grab onto some of these things God could use us to make a big difference in the world for His Glory!

MISSIONARIES

Listen: carefully and submissively listen to God alone and together to gain clarity on the

mission He has called you to lead people toward

ACTIONS:

  • Take some extended time to listen, pray and journal
  • Do pray walks or prayer drives to discern what God is saying
  • Pay attention to His calling as demonstrated through personal convictions, passions, ongoing leadings
  • Let the Spirit of God check your heart – what are your motives?

Story-formed: as you gain clarity on the mission God has called you to, begin doing the

work to understand the story of that context and how best to bring the gospel to bear within it

ACTIONS:

  • Do a historical study of the neighborhood, city, people groups, etc...
  • Look for things that already exist that demonstrate the story of the culture (civic groups, social services, educational strengths/weaknesses, businesses, housing structures, people groups, etc…)
  • Identify things that exist that are open doors for the gospel and those that are demonstrations of gospel barriers
  • Overall, look for where the Story of God and the Story of the Culture can intersect

Celebrate: identify and join the celebrations that already exist within the culture God is

sending you to and look to develop new forms of celebration that bring the gospel to

bear in a culturally appropriate way

ACTIONS:

  • Identify the celebrations that the culture is engaged in that you can participate fully in and still display the gospel
  • Identify the celebrations that exist that need redemption and look for ways to enter in and redeem them
  • Identify the celebrations that do not exist, ask God if they should and if so, how you should go about developing culturally appropriate forms for celebrating
  • With a team of leaders/workers begin to engage in present celebrations and prayerfully plan out culturally appropriate ones for the community

Bless: determine the most appropriate forms through which the community you’re called

to would feel blessed and it would be “Good News”

(Consider one of the Seven Pillars as a starting point: Education, Business, Media/Arts, Health Care, Government, Service Organizations, Disenfranchised)


ACTIONS:

  • Determine what is broken or missing in your community
  • Find out what exists to deal with those things and determine how you could serve
  • If it doesn’t exist, discern with God and in community whether you are supposed to start something and who you should work with to see it started

Eat: begin to identify the “watering holes” in the community God is sending you to and frequent them often

ACTIONS:

  • Determine the watering holes by paying attention to where the people you’re sent to hang out often
  • Regularly eat/drink there and pay attention (listen to others, ask questions, learn)
  • Become known as people who live out good news (tip well, bring more business by leading others to join you, etc…)
  • If a good gathering spot does not exist, prayerfully consider starting one

ReCreate: learn about the work habits of the community and what they do for rest and play

ACTIONS:

  • Get to know the kinds of work people are doing and what connection points you might have with them
  • Discover their weekly/monthly/yearly rhythms of work/rest/play and begin to align with them
  • Prayerfully consider how you might demonstrate Creation/Rest to your culture so they might see Gospel through you and with you

Adapting a theology of mission from missiologist Leslie Newbigin, George Hunsberber, develops 3

relationships that must occur between the church, gospel and culture:

What thoughts, questions, answers, does this bring to mind?

I just finished reading Leadership Essentials by Greg Ogden & Daniel Meyer. Over the past several months I have been considering how the lessons learned in the book could help me with my own leadership at Visio Dei, my personal life, and equipping others for leadership. It has been a huge help. Its one of those books where I will go back and need to review the material over and over again. 

 

It is broken up into 12 lessons, each starts out with a key point, then has a memory verse, then a scripture passage to go through, then some commentary, then some reflection questions and action steps. It is set up to do each lesson in a week, but I took a little longer than that. 

 

Anyways, if you are looking for a new guide to studying scripture and a good probe into your faith and leadership journey. This is the book I would recommend. 

 

Here is a quote that I will need to take with me…


In order to overcome temptation we need to internalize how much we are already loved by our Father in Heaven. 

Each time a [person] stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., from an address given to South African young people on their Day of Affirmation, 1966

Where have you seen this in action lately?

Lets Celebrate and continue!

I came across this quote a few weeks ago, wrote it down and stuck it in my wallet. I pulled it out today and thought… that is really great! 

“The Kingdom is God’s presence and power breaking into human personality and culture to bring about the glorious renewal of life.”

Where have you seen God’s Kingdom lately?

Have you celebrated recently? I mean taken time with your home group, servant team, or friends to rejoice in what God is doing? If you haven’t… DO IT!!

God is at work in us and all around us. Sometimes its easy to focus on the what’s next without cherishing the Glory of God at work in our lives and the lives of others.

Some Suggestions:

  • Simply go around and have people share things they have seen God doing, possily at the beginning of a home group gathering.
  • Have paper and pens for everyone to write on through the course of an evening and a big box to put them. Pull out the pages over time and read them out loud.
  • Post on your blog about how God is moving.
  • Ask God to help you see how he is working your life and in the lives of others.
  • Sing at the top of your lungs when you realize the love of God and how you get to be a part of it.
  • Post a comment here saying something you would like to celebrate.

It moving towards Thanksgiving and there are many things I could write about being thankful for the blessings God has given to each of us, but I want to suggest something to you. If you are reading this and you are a leader or a part of a team of people… think about those you work together with, think about the gifts, talents, abilities, and unique aspects that these folks bring to your life and work. 

 

Take some time to notice, to thank them, to remind them they matter to you, and most importantly to God.

A priest was walking down the road and found a monk praying on his knees. He stopped the monk and said, “You must be very close to God.” The monk replied, “Yes, God is very fond of me.” 

 

My initial reaction to this story is how self-centered and off base the monk is to respond that way. I thought for sure the next commentary in my book on servant leadership would be something about how he was self focused and needed a reality check… BOY WAS I WRONG!! 

 

Instead, the author (Greg Ogden) suggests that in order for us to really be servant leaders as Jesus was we need to know how much God loves us already, regardless of performance, regardless of all the good things we do to further his kingdom, regardless of how much we pray or how little we seem to screw up… God loves us, that is why we love others. 

Its simple right? You may be thinking, “Traci, this is not rocket science 1 John 4:19 says we love because he first loved us; John 3:16 says for God so loved the world that he gave his son… there are many other passages that describe this same thing, what is so special about this realization?”

 

My answer is, I have known all of those verses and have studied and incorporated them into my life over the years in many different ways, but as I am working with our church and trying to empower people to use their gifts and think about serving I have been challenged. I recently read an account in John 13 where Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. This passage was prefaced with Jesus knowing that all things had been given to him by the father and the assurance that he had about returning to be with him. 

 

Jesus probably wouldn’t have gone to the cross if he didn’t have that assurance. Guess what, we have the same assurance! In our fears and failures, we have the love of God and have been called his children as well. There is no need to strive and get acclamations for our gifts or our deeds.  We serve a God who is very fond of us. 

 

Do you believe, deep down, that God is fond of you?

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