I recently read Susan Beaumont’s latest book, How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season. A catchy title, right?! The book is highly relevant and helpful. In April, Ms. Beaumont will present at our annual Clergy Convocation. I highly recommend her book and you won’t want to miss her at Clergy Convocation April 27, 2020.
In the midst of unknowns, we can still focus on missional priorities during liminal times. In fact, it is important to do so. During this Fall Charge Conference season it has been a joy to hear about missional priorities such as new places for new people and ministries with marginalized persons. I’m sharing some of these “good news!” stories with you here.
Manchaca UMC shared about their growing ministry with the homeless youth at nearby Akins high school. Over time, the ministry expanded to now include college tours for several students recommended by the school’s counselor. As a result, high school graduates who never believed college was a possibility are now enrolled and attending college. Dripping Springs UMC’s associate pastor Jesus Samano shared about the growing Hispanic ministry there. He told about beginning the work years ago with the assumption that he would knock on doors in neighborhoods only to realize there were not many accessible neighborhoods. With most homes ‘hidden’ on ranch lands and gated communities, he instead began meeting people in the community at places like local restaurants and playgrounds. The connections and relationship building came first, but in time a vibrant worship service began that continues to grow today. Bertram UMC, a smaller congregation outside of Austin, shared about their connection with the nearby public school. They’ve long had a history of surprising teachers with cookies and special lunches. And now, under the leadership of new pastor Jesse Hinds, the church has several new volunteers trained to be mentors for students at the school.
These are just a few of the many stories I hear when I connect with our local churches. Such stories bring me joy and renew my hope. Thank you for all you are doing to make disciples and change the world for the better. Indeed, God is with us. We are not alone! Thanks be to God!
“During the liminal experience we may feel drawn towards passivity, tempted to throw our hands up in despair and simply wait it out. But a passive stance will not help our congregations move through the murkiness. Or we may try to set audacious goals, cast bold new visions, and wrestle our way towards a new beginning. That approach may provide a false sense of control and momentum, but it avoids the discernment work that liminality requires.
Instead we can approach this season with a different leadership stance, engaging a different body of leadership work. We can let go of our egoistic need to look successful and lead instead from a place of sacred wonder and curiosity. We can be led by the future itself as we discover the mind of God for the heart of the Church.” – Susan Beaumont, read more here.