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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Priceless

How often do we say it: I hear you!

Not only have your words been heard, but your meaning is understood. Jesus used to say it when he’d told one of his good stories: him who has ears to hear, let him hear. (For example see Mark chapter 4.)

In other words, disciples “Listen up!”

One of the phrases I kept hearing last week as our dozen co-missioned pastors worked together with Apostle Susan Skoor and worship specialist and president of the High Priest quorum, Jane Gardner was some version of that phrase, I hear you. Judi Hopkin and Mike Hewitt also brought glimpses into other areas of pastoral ministry that were much appreciated.

Extensive discussions of church policy, or excellent practices for public worship along with some very philosophical concepts about what it means to be a pastor, to bring compassionate ministry and create truly hospitable welcomes gave lots to listen to, for sure. But opportunities for one-on-ones, or quiet solitary walks added time for reflection. All of it necessary to translate those hours of listening into moments of understanding—of real hearing.

Combine all this with on-the-job experience of being pastors in congregations working together in pastoral teams, leadership teams, community projects and I’m seeing some amazing growth in these committed people. Nobody has it easy; many are dealing with incredible life challenges and everyone has the demands of family and employment. But they have formed strong networks and caring bonds of support with each other and with coordinators and instructors. Each pastor expresses appreciation for the investment being made in them and in their congregations. Again and again someone remarks on the opportunity of making personal friendships with church leaders who might otherwise be quite remote.

We’re a little more than halfway through our CPI experience. One more week of training in the autumn of 2011 and two spring retreats in 2011 and 2012 will complete the formation experience for this group. No decisions have yet been made about what happens next. Mission leaders and staff want to find ways to replicate the best parts of this initiative to develop skill and confidence in congregational leadership as a way to build up the CEM cadre of mission-focused healthy congregations with the optimum level of investment of resources. Lots of conversation will be happening to this end.

What do we get for your investment? More and more often we hear those precious words indicating another new insight: I hear you.

And when we do, it’s priceless!

Posted by Marion

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