I've been wondering something lately. I've actually been wondering a lot of things lately. The Lord has been stirring a number of things in my heart. I fear I may have been doing a little too much “navel-gazing”… a little too much self-introspection. I’ll share a bit and you can be the judge.
The book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks was recommended to me as a read to help understand why we self-sabotage and fail to reach our highest potential. While I was reading it, I also read David Benner’s The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery. Benner’s book (a delightful read which I highly recommend) is written from a Christ-centered perspective; The Big Leap, not so much – actually, not at all. Both books have me thinking, though, about what things – emotions, circumstances, situations – hold us back from reaching the top of our game or excelling at being our very best in Christ. Or, as I’ve been praying and ruminating and navel-gazing, I prefer to think of it with this question in mind: What is God’s very best for me?
I say all of this, because I want to raise the question regarding our Mission Affinity Groups. As I’ve been pondering and praying through these books, coupled with conversations I’ve had since the national gathering in January, I wonder if the way we’ve defined MAGs in our polity document is really God’s best for ECO? We’ve established some minimum, joyful “shalls,” but does God want more for us in our MAGs? Bear with me for a moment and let me explain.
In the infant and toddler years of ECO, we introduced the idea of MAGs. It was something so new, so different and even foreign in many ways to much of our leadership. The intent, of course, is multi-faceted. We want to build a layer of authentic accountability among the pastor and elder leaders in ECO. We hope MAGs will deepen relationships within the leadership so that we might spur one another along in love and good deeds. We pray that the work of MAGs will invite us all into a way of life of the covenanted order. All of this is to be accomplished with a minimum of one annual meeting focused on the Narrative Questions. In many ways under the current modus operandi of MAGs, those desires are being met. But I wonder, does God want and intend more life-giving, fruit-bearing activity to happen in our MAGs?
Take a moment and dream some dreams with me. What would it look like for ECO MAGs to commit to a global mission project together? What could God do if MAGs partnered and engaged in the work of ELI together establishing a new way of leading within the culture of their churches? How could God grow flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ if a MAG went through the Discipleship Initiative together? What if a MAG developed an internship for a seminarian, giving that future leader the opportunity to see and experience 3-4 different churches? How might a MAG partner together to be a core unit of church planting and transformation?
Will you join me in praying for what God’s best is for our MAGs? (And then will you let me know what God tells you, so we can prayerfully and obediently make it happen! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Blessings!)