April 26, 2017

Our Missional Voices

We hear a lot about quiet time for reflection. This weekend, rather than quiet, I overheard a cacophony of reflection. This past weekend was our second Missional Voices National Gathering, and more than 200 clergy, laity, and seminarians from around the country gathered to discuss the mission of God and our neighborhoods.

I could tell you all about the wonderful presenters (videos available soon!), or about the worship, or any other of the planned and programmed activities. But this isn’t a sales pitch, so I won’t. Instead I want to tell you about the trouble we had in getting people to stop talking.

After each programming section, we have huddle groups. These are randomly assigned groups that are “forced” to come together and share. The groups are meant for people to rapidly reflect on what they are seeing and hearing, but also to begin discussing what they are doing in life and ministry. What two years of doing this has taught us is that these huddles are where the real action happens.

We couldn’t get people to go take a break and enjoy coffee. We couldn’t get people to come back for our next keynote. We couldn’t get people to stop talking to each other.

People are yearning to talk about their ministry. People are yearning to hear other people’s stories. People are yearning to share, and listen to, our voices.

This experience has me wondering what it would look like to have these conversations in the parish. Do we set aside time, actual structured time, for us to share our life and ministry with each other? What would that look like?

We all have a missional voice, because we all are participating in the mission of God. We just need to find (or create) times and places to share our stories with each other.