They say every preacher only has one sermon. I think my sermon is that God is always doing a new thing. At all times and places God is out ahead of us bringing forth something new. It is this belief that led me to explore fresh expressions of church and to begin Praxis Communities. I think our communities and experiments are an example of the new thing that is now springing forth in our midst!
My friend Jason Evans, Missioner for Young Adults in the Diocese of Washington and amazing storyteller and creative collaborator asked if I would share some of the new things we are up to. Here is an interview that I did for him this spring but never posted on our site!
Feel free to check out the whole interview but here is a little snippet:
On days that you go to bed with a deep sense of satisfaction, what happened? What was accomplished?
People felt listened to, loved, and part of something bigger than themselves. People felt cared for enough to be vulnerable, to take a risk, to whisper a dream. I think offering ourselves in this way gives glory to God. It is a way of honoring the immensity and incredible uniqueness of God’s creation. I like feeling like I have bowed down to the Christ in another person. I love that Henri Nouwen quote about presence:
“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”
What advice would you offer to others starting something new?
Don’t be afraid. Tell people about your idea. Give permission to other’s great ideas by sharing yours. Accept messiness as a state of being – new things feel chaotic. Learn to find your center in the midst of the chaos. Play – it is the best way to alleviate anxiety and to remain creative! Have a community of practice or at least one other friend who is doing something new and meet regularly to support each other.