Pastors Breakfast 2022: Reflections from a Friend
From Sean Langdon.
A shortened version of these remarks were shared at the 2022 Pastors Breakfast during the Annual GPNW MC Conference.
I considered what I might share this morning with you all and my mind swirled with the possibilities. And where I landed was this… We joke a lot about my many roles in this mission center, and for good reason, but I want to offer a few parting reflections at this time through the lens of these roles.
Let’s start with what brought me onto staff in the first place. Young Adult Ministries Specialist.
- Invite young adults to journey with you. Not necessarily your congregation but you as fellow companions on the journey. Relationships are deeply important to young adults.
- A good marker of their commitment is not whether or not they are with you for the Sunday Morning experience. To expect that can just diminish and even cheapen the ministry they have to offer and are likely offering in other areas of their life.
- Invite them to help reimagine what it means to live out Christian community in new and innovative and authentic ways.
Camping Ministries – Youth Camps & Reunions and though we actually took it out from under our Camping Ministries umbrella, Caravan and SPEC too.
- Camping Ministries is one of most important things we do in the life of the church, arguably maybe the most important. For within our camping ministries, lives are changed in ways that don’t happen during the Sunday Morning experience. Also, it is here that the power of invitation really comes to life.
- But we can’t provide these ministries without your help. So, like I have said many times before, we need folks like you and those in your congregations to volunteer to staff our camping events. And we need your help in inviting others to attend.
- Like with young adults, find appropriate ways to journey alongside them. With permission from them and their parents, attend their sports games, choir concerts, recitals, art shows, and more! Invest your time in their lives.
- But know this, the marker of a healthy congregation is nor whether or not you have robust youth program. It IS whether or not you are discerning your path forward and letting the holy spirit guide you into ways of living out Christian community. Living out the mission of Christ. For some congregations, that will mean youth related ministries, and for others, it will look radically different than that.
Invitation Support Minister
- Meet new people. Form relationships. Invite people to Christ. Not church. That will likely happen. But Inviting People to Christ means inviting people to be in relationship with you and the community. Be the church, don’t just invite people to church.
- And explore fresh expressions of ministry in your congregation. New, innovative, authentic ways of living out the ministries of your congregation so that they are relevant to those yearning to be spiritually and relationally filled. And please, let us stop thinking that this simply means changing a few things here and there within the context of our Sunday Morning Worship experience. Simply adding a couple cool videos is not going to make your worships more relevant to those hungering for something deeper. In fact, it might just mean doing something radically different when you gather. Let’s face it, pew worship ministry is not likely the path forward for organized religion. The definition of worship is “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” We have to stop believing that this means that we sing a few hymns, offer a couple prayers, and listen to someone talk for 20 minutes. What does it mean for us to live our worship? Well, maybe let’s start here. Let us remember Christ’s mission statement found in Luke:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The spirit of the Lord is upon all of us to do the same!
- And lastly, support New Expressions of Community. These aren’t connected to a congregation, but it may be those in your congregation who might feel called to explore them. Maybe even you. And if you are interested in going deeper and exploring this, please remember that on the first Monday of every month, we host New Expression Mondays via Zoom from 6:30-8 PM Pacific Time.
Folks, as I leave on to other opportunities, it has been asked several times who will do everything I did. That is being explored and the reality is that not everything will necessarily continue, at least not in the same way. Someone new will join staff, and along with the other mission center leaders, there will be new passions and invitations to explore here in the GPNW Mission Center. At the same time, some of those things like Community Connections, we are looking at a shared relationship between the Rocky Mountain Mission Center and GPNW Mission Center. So, where the Holy Spirit leads and where opportunities take us.