There is a unique kind of joy found in the gift of colleagues who are willing to bring their full, incarnational selves to this work of Love. And this week has been filled with that joy!

Nearly our full staff stepped away from our usual rhythms for awhile this week, and spent meaningful time together at St. Francis Springs retreat center up in Stoneville. Monday was filled with an exploration of self and team using the personality assessment called the Workplace Big 5, taught and facilitated by our own Chris Gambill. Again and again, we were reminded of the importance of self-discovery through a deep examination of five particular traits: our need for stability (from resilient to reactive), our extraversion (from introvert to extravert), our originality (from preserver to explorer), our accommodation (from challenger to adapter), and our consolidation (from flexible to focused). We learned so much from each other and from our team’s spread across these spectrums, which made for a meaningful lead-in to some asset-mapping of church and people-mapping of members and non-members in order that we might more directly respond to the needs we hear and see. What we experienced together on Monday as a staff will bear upon how we function, how we make decisions and invite new ideas, how we respond and how we grow. 

After a good night’s rest, the ministerial team gathered Tuesday for a meaningful day spent in prayer and holy conversation, listening and sharing with vulnerability, always turning our spirit towards the call of God for our church. As we began to imagine this next school year in the life of First on Fifth, before putting dry erase marker to board or keystroke to Google calendar, we felt compelled to ask questions of any gathering or group, worship or fellowship, event or study:

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • How does this illumine bold love?
  • Where is the risk?
  • Does this invite transformation?

Together with God, a vision for what will be began to emerge, one of our ‘community in the heart of the city’ that walks with Jesus toward the suffering, toward the margins, toward the people who yearn for a community tirelessly committed to the expression of bold love and boundless compassion in this world. And best of all? God gives us the audacious imagination that our church might do just that!

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

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