Your work matters.

Perhaps you’ve seen, in the chaos of this past week, mentions of the ‘resilience of American institutions.’ It strikes me as a change of tone in the midst of a culture that is moving away from church membership and attendance. If American institutions require resilience now, our faith communities can help point the way: we remain key places of refuge, relationship-building, healing, and equipping for followers of Jesus to live their faith in this fractious time.

So know this: In the midst of great upheaval, your ministry matters. Our ministry matters. Your prayers allow the Holy Spirit to shape your imagination and your way of living. Worship services provide solace, connection, and a reminder that God is sovereign. Preaching with integrity offers Good News in a time when trust and even truth seem far off. Pastoral care, encouragement, and organizing sends followers of Jesus back into their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces with greater moral and spiritual clarity and energy. Thank you for the holy work you do on behalf of your family, friends, and neighbors.

In recent days I’ve heard, on the one hand, voices of worry that what one person can do isn’t enough. ‘Does my voice matter? Am I really qualified to join in this project? I can only give an hour, how will that help?’

On the other hand, I hear words of exhaustion. Deep hurt and isolation. Fear.

As the news becomes more relentless, you are in my prayers. I pray that you will hold dear Jesus’ words: ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

And then, I hope you will look up and remember that we have an abundance of ways faith communities can find support.
 
This too is resilience: the long work of leadership development. If you are looking for ways to put your hand to the plow, joining in a course in the School for Formation can give you concrete skills and shareable wisdom to make your impact greater, support others, and invite innovation. If you want to deepen the bench of leadership in your faith community, who can you personally invite to take a course? Who might you have overlooked before?

These three courses start in February. Perhaps, at this moment, learning could be both respite and strength for the long haul in your faith community.

The Rev. Susan Daughtry
Missioner for Formation