These last days have passed as a blur. The reason why we came here was to launch the first phase of A New Kind of Preacher/Leader. I have posted already about my wonderment that my preaching work at Northern is going to form the basis of an initiative funded by the Lilly Foundation. Rather than focus on preaching (which seems the obvious route) I am going to concentrate on the preacher. Yes, the art and craft of preaching deserves attention. But I am concerned more about the being of the preacher than the doing. What are the roles that a preacher needs to embrace as a child of God who is called to the improbable task of proclaiming as an ambassador of Christ?
One of the key roles that needs developing is COLLABORATOR. Too many preachers are solo and isolated. Burnout and disappointment lie around the corner. Co-laboring with others is pivotal for opening up preaching so that God can use it to transform his community to live together in unity for works of service (Eph. 4:16). Actually, it begins by co-operating with our triune God, participating in fellowship and mission.
Being a collaborator is a demanding role as it develops to involve others. It requires active listening with willingness to change, seeking God's agenda rather than ours. Plenty of love, patience and time are essential to co-labor with others. I call this post: Collaboration force 10 because those of us involved in leading this new initiative have found ourselves needing to model collaboration in an intense blur of planning meetings during my (too) short stay. So much good has emerged. On Wednesday this week we have called a meeting of partners to help us further flesh out the vision. All kinds of details have become clearer.
I am so grateful for the face-to-face collaboration that has been possible. All the conference calls and emails across the Atlantic cannot facilitate force ten collaboration like we have experienced! We are on the way! Thanks so much for your prayers and interest.