One of my favorite parts of New Staff Training is the moment we commission our new staff and send them out with blessing to be and do all that God's called them to. I love rehearsing our history seen in the book of Acts when the apostles recognized the Holy Spirit calling and marking Saul and Barnabas. They fasted, prayed, laid hands, and sent.
I opened our time with a Collect for Multicultural Church Planting to declare our great hope of sending out staff to campus to cultivate Kingdom communities reflecting every tribe, tongue & nation worshipping together.
Eternal God, you have promised your salvation to all peoples, and have given us a vision of a great multitude around your throne, from all nations and tribes and languages; Help us as we bring this vision into our time and place; go with those who now undertake your work in ____ and enable them to hear and to speak new words of hope and praise; through Jesus Christ, the living Word. Amen.
New Staff Training invites me to escape the familiarity of ministry and step back into the shoes of the beginning of ministry. Each year I have a moment where I step back and think objectively about our work. It usually happens during a support raising debrief where I realize that there's a room full of people making phone calls to invite people to partner in a work that they've only glimpsed. How do we get people to say yes to this?!
It fills my heart with gratitude for Jesus. That just one glimpse at who He is stirs our hearts to say yes to Him. He's so worthy of a whole hearted yes in our hearts.
I love seeing the moments in Scripture when the disciples ask Jesus about their "yes". The disciples listen in as Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell everything to inherit full life forever. Peter says "we did that!"... we left our nets and left everything for you!
Jesus sees what we give up and He says that we will be rewarded. Whoever leaves everything gets the reward of Jesus as our brother. He is the reward! The Kingdom is indeed the pearl of great price, worth selling everything.
I wonder how we can cultivate a lifestyle of celebration to honor all of the ways that Holy Spirit has stirred hearts, set people apart, and acknowledge a wholehearted yes to Jesus and His Kingdom. What would it look like to commission when people begin families, new jobs, move to a new city, etc?