In this trip we (Resurrection senior staff) visited what I would characterize as two different types of congregations – one that was larger than we are are and one whose style of ministry and life together is noticeably different than at Resurrection. I think that the main purpose while at the sites was to listen and to look. At each site we met with members of the staff or key volunteers and heard about how they do ministry. We also had the opportunity to see the main worship space and a few other areas of the physical space. At both Granger and Willow, these things were different than what we do at Resurrection. I found at both locations that my imagination was stretched in type of facility and way of doing ministry.After visiting both locations we had the opportunity to debrief as a team about what we had heard and seen. Adam Hamilton lead us in reflecting on these questions:
- In what areas was the vision and character of Resurrection similar to Willow and Granger?
- In what areas was the vision and character of Resurrection distinct from Willow and Granger?
- What is it that we saw that challenged us to do better than we are?
These questions led to some fruitful discussion. Later on the bus, the three of us who were present from the Congregational Care team were discussing specific implications for our ministry area. Adam joined our conversation for a bit and added another question for us to consider.
- What are we doing that we think is more effective than what we saw?
This was a question that one has to undertake with some humility, but is an important one to consider. It was pointed out that seeing things that are new and different does not necessarily mean that it is better than what is currently happening at Resurrection. I found this to be a helpful additional question and one best considered after seriously thinking about the first three.
I would recommend this type of trip for any congregation. It is great to get outside the box, see and hear what others are doing in the kingdom of God and learn to be more effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ.