with Rev. Rachel
9 AT GIBEON 2 Samuel 18
Gibeon is where God the philanthropist is poised to back us. At Gibeon, the Lord is like bring it. Tell me what you need. I live for this stuff. “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you (v.5).”
It’s what a mission committee might do. But when in Richmond, do as Richmonders do and refer to this crew as Backers—Mission Backers.
Worn out committees cater to the –ain. What is there to MAINTain? Have you the urge COMPLain? These imagined Mission Backers ask: Is there something any one of you longs to bring about via 321 N Boulevard that connects us to our neighbors? Can we help you think through how it aligns with your calling and Boulevard’s reason for being?
The Mission Backers could gather three to four times a year; not in actual Gibeon, but in a Gibeon state of mind. They could announce that they were fixing to convene. Their ability to assist/fund would depend on others’ responsiveness...
Clergy are evaluated annually and this year, as a part of that process, I thought quite a bit about Ministry Development (defined as a willingness to lead the congregation in establishing ministries of nurture, outreach, and witness). One new outreaching ministry, this would be my goal, I wrote.
Here’s the beautiful and frightful thing about Ministry Development: It’s not just a fancy word for pastor-goes-and-puts-on-a-great-event. Leading ministry development is a matter of cultivating the soil wherein another experiences their discipleship being tugged on by God, and then chooses to say so in a way that calls the community together to be like God at Gibeon—backers.
Our dearly departed intern Michelle (not dead, just back to school) shared with me a time when she experienced some semblance of these hypothetical Missions Backers. In high school, she had been carrying around a sense of I/we could do this. She and a friend gave birth to a benefit concert; several of them, it turns out. Ministry development began with an ordinary teenager.
God does not exist to make me successful. Neither do the people of God! If one new outreaching ministry does not emerge, I may be making a return trip to Gibeon to ask for that understanding mind (v.9). Sometimes God is gracious revisionist before philanthropist. Which, by the way, might also be true of Mission Backers ~