Within a few days Mary Lou and Gary were in two Covenant Churches with over 135 years of history in ministry and then some Churches with less than five years of time in ministry. These Covenant Churches were preaching the same Good News and celebrating the same new life in Jesus Christ. And, they showed us more of the challenge that we have in “Preparing ourselves and others to receive and live out the gift”—the theme that we have been writing about for the past few months.
Our time in the U.S., visiting our ministry partners, has allowed us to develop this theme further and deeper. We are sharing with others who have an identity and unity in Jesus Christ, as we all do as children of God. As his children we are desiring to find out how to best live out that identity and unity together in the ministry of extending the Kingdom of God, developing leadership, and setting compassion, mercy and justice loose. We are finding out how vast and different our brothers and sisters are here in the North American Covenant Church and how that enlarges and amplifies our identity in Jesus Christ. It includes people and personalities and attitudes and visions that we haven’t encountered previously. And, in all that we have seen and experienced, with those that we have met for the first time and those that we have re-connected with, we have not encountered any ministry partner or Covenant Church that is unwilling to join us in this journey to live out together our identity and unity. It is quite exciting and challenging to walk together toward the next steps – encouraging joint participation and joint ownership and full voice in discussions and conversation.
As we go forward, we want to begin putting steps to all of the possibilities, “meat on the bones”, strategy points to the ideas, substance to the framework—so to speak. We know that this aspect of preparing ourselves to live out the gift is the challenge ahead. We don’t want to think that we have seen it all before, and thus, have to come up with something new. We don’t want to think that it depends on any one person, Church, ministry or Mission. We want to continue working to break down whatever barrier might appear unbreakable, close any distance that seems unreachable, build relationships that seem unbuildable, and bring together in unity what might appear to be impossible.
It’s got to happen.