Dear Gibson Sisters and Brothers,
Do you have your sea legs yet? I often say we are on a renewal expedition, a sailing adventure of discovery that has great purpose, intentionality, and mission involving all hands on deck to join what God is already doing and the adventure he is taking us on. I remain enthused, expectant, and humbled to be with you, too, on this missional expedition. We have only begun, but already your renewal lead team is meeting monthly and learning new things already about our neighborhood which will lead us into some missional and intentional action.
LISTEN, IMAGINE, DO
Listen, imagine, and do. In a nutshell, these are the 3 key components of the renewal expedition we have begun together with the Center for Church Renewal. Currently we are investing deeply into listening. We describe it as 4-directional listening. I like to think of it as 360/3D listening, that is, it is multi-directional, and multi-dimensional listening that we pray the Holy Spirit will use and bless for our discerning God’s preferred and good future for Gibson Church. Let me describe the directions or dimensions a little more for you.
LISTENING FROM ABOVE
We are listening from above. We are listening to the Spirit of God as we read his word in weekly worship, but also daily in our congregational reading plans. So far we have listened through a couple of specific sermon series: DEVOTED from Acts 2, and ABIDING from John 15. We have also read Acts, Ephesians, and Colossians together as a congregation. I have been asking you throughout what the Spirit has been impressing upon you as you read and reflect prayerfully on your reading. We are listening from above. We also listen above as we read selected books. Our Renewal Lead Team is currently reading together The Gathered and Scattered Church by Hugh Halter for inspiration and insight into what it means to live out the Gospel in our world today. I, along with the other Renewal Lab Cohort pastors, have read Tod Bolsinger’s Canoeing the Mountains, a book about Christian leadership in uncharted territory. I found this book to be inspiring, thought-provoking and equipping for Gibson’s renewal expedition. We are listening from above.
LISTENING FROM WITHIN
We are listing from within. What is the Spirit of God speaking to us as we read God’s Word, and as we pray. We are praying individually and communally, and we are listening as we do. We pray and listen at every meeting, at every worship service, and at nearly monthly congregational prayer meetings. We are attentive to what the Spirit is saying to us on our renewal expedition. We are discerning his voice and direction. We are listening from within.
LISTENING FROM AMONG
We listen from among. What is our Gibson congregation saying about gifts and passions that the Spirit may use in God’s good and preferred future for us? As we are able to do more in person in the coming months, watch for a couple of events we’ll be holding where we will remember, tell stories, and share what the Holy Spirit has done at Gibson. We’ll also take our collective temperature with a S.W.O.T. analysis. What are our strengths as a congregation, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? We’ll discuss these together in the coming months. You’ll also be receiving a congregational health survey where you will be able to offer feedback on your impressions of Gibson’s current spiritual health and vitality. Your input is necessary and so valuable. Please do participate in as many of these opportunities as you are able. We are listening from among.
LISTENING FROM OUTSIDE
We are listening from outside. What is our community, neighborhood, and culture saying about needs and opportunities all around us? Our Renewal Lead Team is anticipating a variety of conversations in the near future with a variety of community leaders where we’ll be asking and listening carefully to their answers to 3 basic questions. What is going well in our community? What are some of the current needs in our community? And how might Gibson Church partner in helping to meet some of these needs? We have already received a comprehensive report called MissionInsite that gives us a treasure trove of information about our neighborhood of Laketown Township. The team is processing and discussing that information right now. These are just some of the ways we are listening from outside.
ALL HANDS ON DECK
I’ll say it again. This renewal expedition we are on requires all hands to be on deck. No pleasure cruises for any of us. We are all engaged. We all have a job to do. We all have a part to play, gifts to offer on this journey and for this expedition to be fruitful.
What can you do?
- Pray. Please continue to pray for our personal and communal renewal at Gibson. Pray for our Renewal Lead Team. Please pray for me as your Pastor. Pray for our neighborhood, for Laketown Township. Pray for open doors with our neighbors for the Gospel to be proclaimed clearly and effectively. Pray for humility and courage to follow the Spirit in the next steps we are being called to take.
- Participate. Please respond when I ask for input from you as we listen together. What is God speaking to your spirit by his Spirit as you read Scripture? Please fill out the congregational health survey when you receive it. Please join us for our congregational prayer meetings. Please join us for other in person opportunities to tell stories, give thanks, and listen to each other and the Spirit.
I remain so honored and grateful to be with you on this renewal expedition, Sisters and Brothers. God has a good and preferred Gospel-centered future for us, and I am eager and expectant to learn with you by the Spirit what that will be, to imagine it, and then to do it together. For now, let’s listen well.