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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Training Missional Leaders

The intern Living Water Lutheran Church shares with First Lutheran Church in Mandan comes from a seminary in Iowa. Last week, in the earthquake in Haiti, she lost a friend who died there. Like her, he was a student at the seminary, and like her, he just wanted to help people find their way with God...unfortunately, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now he is no longer with us. With Trisha (our intern) and the entire community of Wartburg Seminary, and all who do ministry in perilous places like Haiti, we grieve the passing of Ben Larson. Requiescat in pace.

Learning to be a missional leader is not easy. Unlike the seminary programs of old...well there is no "program" for mission. Mission is about following God into the world, in places like Haiti or Detroit or Charlotte and living with what is there, and sharing the grace that is there, and counteracting the negative forces there. You cannot learn stuff like that from books...I know, I've tried, and I've read many books, and as important as they are, they cannot stop a bleeding heart or a broken promise...

If you are interested in God I invite you to start ministering wherever and whenever you are...I think of the guy who started the poker league I am in, who sees getting together with friends once a month as about the most important thing a guy can do...we have a mix of young and old, some like me with kids the age of the youngest players, and we share tales of child-raising, being a guy, and living honorably in the world...and we play poker...ostensibly to give our hands something to do.

I think of the young woman who has not had too much in this world, and every day is a battle for her sanity, and to keep her son, and who through all the struggles manages to be kind and polite, and even gentle to those who come to her for help...amazing how one so wounded can be so gracious...

I think of my intern, given all the confusions and busyness that surrounds her life, and yet she finds a way to remember the passing of a friend, and the grief of his now widowed wife, another friend of hers. Ministry happens in places such as this, in times such as these, by these kinds of people whom God calls to live and love without fear, without counting the cost, without worrying about "how it looks" to the superficial people of the world.

All my students have, and do, impress me on a regular basis...not because they are always great students, but because they are great people...they love God, and they want to share that love...all the teaching and training in the world can't give you that...that kind of love comes only from God. It is a blessing to have such people in my life. Thank you.

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