At the Gathering of Leaders in early May, I expected to come away with a bit of head knowledge about the theme. We discussed and discovered ministry around the theme; Unity and Division in the Missionary Church: Jesus prayed for his disciples that we might all be one, as he and the Father are one. What does “unity in Christ” mean… How does “agreeing to disagree” affect our ability to proclaim the gospel, heal, and reconcile? How can we call on the teachings of Jesus to model risky, compelling, and deep conversations that do not end in division? And I was not disappointed. The various reflections offered by my peers expanded my knowledge while also inspiring ministry ideas.
I was also pleasantly surprised by seeing this theme lived out. In the small group discussions and in the informal discussion times, I was witness to the church at her best. I was impressed with hearing my colleagues discuss their differences with humility and grace. I listened as true differences came up and watched as deep discussions led to understanding not division. This, to me, was just as inspiring as any practical or heady concept we were learning from one another.
I did not expect to see the vulnerability and humility that I did during GOL. I am thankful for this experience. Thank God for peer-led discussions and reflections that lead to being vulnerable with one another. Thank God for conversations that share the successes and challenges in ministry, reminding you that you are not alone – others are working to build the Kingdom with you. Thank God for beautiful places that help you reconnect to nature and feel a different rhythm for a few days. Thank God for space to pray, rest, learn, and rejuvenate. Thank God for Gathering of Leaders.
The Rev. Beth Wyndham
San Antonio, TX
Church Planter, Diocese of West Texas