May ’24 Enews – Nephesh and Hope

Nephesh & Hope

I’ve learned that each Gathering develops its own identity. Its own spirit. Its own feeling. April’s Lay Leader Gathering discussed Mission in the New Reality and it resonated with “experimentation.” No question was too daring, and no conversation was off limits.

We began with Rachel Toombs introducing us to nephesh, the vital spirit within each of us. She reminded us that “New Realities” are all throughout the Bible and now is no different. God is with us through all of it. Even Jeremiah, lamenting in the ruins of Jerusalem, had hope:

“Hope is waiting with confidence for the Lord.” – Rachel Toombs

Before the sun was fully up on the second day, Carol Cropp led worship, reminding us that “Love is how we show our faith.” Heidi Carter’s and Chas Emerson’s Mission Moments centered around our own individual call to Lay Leadership and the challenges it can present in congregational ministry.

Gracey Belote introduced us to her “Laboratory Church” methods through case studies of experimenting with events. My fellow leader Brian Winningham and I explored the creative life in ministry at St. Nicholas’ Hill Country, a church plant that opened three months before the pandemic and is going strong growing at 40% year over year!

Stephen Fowl, Sarah Woodford, and Bernadette Williams led Evening Prayer and taught us about St. Catherine of Siena, a devoted lay leader so dedicated to the church that Pope Paul VI said of her, “any person trying to live the Christian life, who has an active faith and a reflective attitude, can do theology.”

The final presentation had us hear from Tamara Plummer, Brad Thompson, and Steven Fowl during our Peer Panel. Nominated by their fellow Gatherers, these three shared specific ministries and methods they are advancing for the future church.

All of this was interspersed with facilitated activities such as Adaptive Conversations, 1-2-4-All, and GOL’s ever-famous Stops & Starts.

And at the heart of everything was the new relationships, inspirational conversations, and missional dreaming.

We’re now all home, both exhausted and refreshed, moving back into our local ministries stronger and inspired for the missional work ahead. The church and society are rapidly changing, but so are the Holy Spirit-led leaders that will figure it all out!

Haley Bankey

Executive Director

Read the rest of May’s Enews here.