The meeting with Luke Hellebronth went well, so did the meeting with Graham Tomlin. (Thank you for praying for me while I've been here and for my meetings with various people.)
As I am debriefing with myself and with the Lord, after what seemed like many days (and not just the few days that I've been here), certain items are becoming much clearer.
1. The Ethos of Hope. These were the actual words spoken by Graham Tomlin, the head of the theological school. He himself has been trying to isolate what exactly he would want to see after a student finishes his or her theological education. Graham's answer: HOPE. Hope for the students themselves as they venture into their calling. Hope for the churches they will be serving. And hope that God is doing great things locally and globally. Without hope no good change will take place.
2. Leadership Development. But without leaders, this hope cannot be sustained. And without hopeful leaders, no lasting transformation will take place. That is a factual statement. I've tended to think of leadership development "organically," meaning you don't intervene all that much in someone's growth as a leader. Some people, like hardly plants, manage to grow in whatever environment, while other, less hardly plants shrivel even in optimal greenhouse environments. Some people are born as leaders; some born as followers. The tricky thing is that some good "followers" become excellent leaders, while some obvious "leaders" are really not good leaders. My epiphany: I'm moving from "organic" to "cultivating." Picture, if you will, grapes: grapes grow "organically" in the wild (that's where they were originally discovered!) vs. grapes that are "cultivated" in places like the Bordeaux region. These cultivated grapes are just as hardy, actually even more so than native sorts, and they produce wonderful wine! The right, Spirit-directed, biblically grounded cultivation of leaders is one of our church's callings! [I will be addressing this topic (not grapes, but leadership) this coming Sunday in my message.]
3. Collaboration. The new generation of young people -- the emerging leaders -- more than previous generations, want to collaborate. They want to share. The "sharing" economy highlights this demographic fact, from airbnb, uber, social funding, etc. This is true in the Church. Sharing resources, doing things together, worshipping together. This co-laboring is actually a biblical model (the Acts community shared all things in common). Furthermore, the classic sign of Revival is united prayer movements, especially praying for revival to rescue and restore a city or a nation. This is beginning to happen in the DC area. The importance of collaboration is also traveling around the globe as different denominations and movements are linking arms to bring Hope to the world. "Acceleration by Association" in Bob's words.
Two Dispatches in one day are more than enough. But in truth, I am doing this as much for my own reflection and processing as well as for your enrichment. I hope you were enriched. Again, I couldn't help but thank the Lord that a tiny church like ours is moving in exciting ways with God in these last days. Thank you again for your prayers.