Friendship is unneccessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
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Last week we were in Chicago. In fact we stuck around in the USA partly so we could be a part of the Converge Church Planting Assessment Process. It was 4 grueling days of challenges, assignments, testing and interviews. The goal was to figure out whether or not we had the skill set to become a church planter.
God blessed us and we got a full recommend which was really encouraging!
So Why did we choose to multi-affilate?
We just became candidates for A29, now we are also going with Converge! It seems a little like NASCAR but there is some wisdom here I promise. We are multi-affilated because different networks bring different elements to the table.
The benefits are huge, additional coaching ,wisdom and resources. Not only that we get the shared benefit of one of the more successful church planting networks in the USA.
So what was the difference?
A29 was HEAVY on the theology, that is hugely important to establishing a good foundation for the church. They were also excellent in bringing up some of the idolatry in our lives that we needed to address. Converge has more of a tilt towards the practical side of planting. So we had to give a mini-sermon to our ‘core’ team. Then we were sharing our ‘philosophy’ of ministry. Next up were a couple of exercises in small groups. Then a couple more church planting exercises and some teaching. There were 3 personality tests (DISC, Strengths Finder and Gold Personality) and finally a large group project.
It was intense, we were working with some wonderful people that we hardly knew and every moment we were being watched and assessed. Then end goal was to figure out whether we could plant. Both were valuable and both for very different reasons. Heck we may not be finished on the multi-affilation. If we can team up with a denomination and make it work when we get back to Australia we may do that as well. This weekend I’m getting ordained with the Converge team which is another huge blessing!
So was it worth sticking around 3 months?
Absolutely! I got to spend time with Josh Barrett my boss at COC, which was super fun and slightly sad, I’m going to miss hanging out with him. We met 10 other couples on the same kind of journey as us and got to make some friends from all over the USA. I learned more about myself and our relationship with Carly which was HUGE! Finally a word of encouragement that we are on the right path is always helpful.
The whole process was a huge blessing and just gets us more excited to touch down in Australia and settle on our location!
We are getting close now!
If you are unfamiliar with Gordon Wenham, you should change that. Gordon’s accolades and academic history reads like the Mt. Rushmore of education he is the adjunct professor at Trinity College and one of the most insightful academic authors I’ve read. His book Psalter Reclaimed sits as an academic piece designed to re-center one’s attention on the value of Psalms. Psalms that influence Ethics, understanding of the Messiah, Praise and the Nations.
Right from the outset Gordon makes a priority to sit Psalms in their place, why have we stopped singing them?! Right through to a conversation on the imprecatory Psalms and their value in light of Christ and the New Testament.
This should reside on your shelf and anytime you consult a Psalm for study, you should refer to the insights and wisdom of this book. Gordon’s book provides wonderful insights and a detailed look at some of the over-arching themes of Psalms. This book isn’t an exegetical approach to individual Psalms but rather an examination of the influence of these Psalms in critical areas of the Christian faith, there is a distinct emphasis on our need to start Singing, Praying and Reading these Psalms regularly and with passion.
For $11 this is an excellent resource and for anyone who has a passion for the Psalter Gordon writes with a passion an energy that is contagious.