By Rhonda Pittman Gingrich
With the news that Annual Conference has been cancelled this summer, the Compelling Vision Working Group has outlined a plan for continued engagement around the compelling vision even as affirmation by the Conference body has been delayed.
We recognize that the context in which we live has changed dramatically since release of the vision. This has impacted not only the compelling vision process, but church life. Congregations are facing both unprecedented challenges and unprecedented opportunities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are being compelled to live as innovative, adaptable, and fearless ministers of the gospel.
We know there are stories of congregations that have embraced the opportunity to radically live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ in their neighborhoods in response to the challenges presented by the pandemic. We want to hear and share those stories. They can be a source of inspiration as we all seek to live and minister in the midst of the new normal. If you have a story to share about how your congregation has engaged with your neighbors in new ways during this time, please send them to the Compelling Vision Team at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In addition to inspiring new opportunities for ministry, this one-year extension of the compelling vision process gives us time to engage together in Bible study around the vision. Plans are in the works to develop a Bible study series around key themes in the vision to help us all discover and more fully embrace God’s call for us as the body of Christ in these times. Watch for more information later this summer.
This extension also gives us time to reflect more deeply on the potential institutional impact of the compelling vision. A truly compelling vision will not just inspire localized ministry and dreams about unity, but will prompt us to think about who we are, how we do things, how we make decisions, and how our life together is structured, inspiring meaningful transformation. We recognize that the potential impact of the compelling vision hinges on affirmation of the vision by Annual Conference; however, that doesn’t mean we can’t begin to think about these important questions.
Finally, we invite everyone to join us in prayer as we consider the potential transformation this vision could inspire in the lives of our members, our congregations, and our life together.
To read the compelling vision statement and the accompanying interpretive document, or for more information about the compelling vision process, visit www.brethren.org/ac/compelling-vision.html .
-- Rhonda Pittman Gingrich is chair of the Compelling Vision Team.