Things were very different just 500 years ago. The Bible was available in Latin – ordinary people like you and me did not have access to the Scriptures.
That didn’t seem right to William Tyndale. We all recognize his name – the man who defied the King of England to translate the Scriptures into English. His efforts changed England and changed the world.
But do you recognize the name Humphrey Monmouth? I didn’t until I recently read the book, “Gospel Patrons,” by John Rinehart.
Monmouth supported William Tyndale – his life and his work – and his zeal to get the Bible into the hands of people like you and me. The activities of Monmouth and Tyndale were illegal and eventually both were imprisoned. Tyndale was hanged and burned at the stake. God used their passion and sacrifice to change the course of history and the Church. Today, we can thank these two faithful visionary men every time we open our Bibles.
Think about the life change God brought about through your time in The Journey. What if that “change” was replicated in even more lives and churches across North America? What if more church attenders became even more dedicated followers of Jesus, considering first His way instead of our own? What could be the strength of God’s Church in Canada and the US if that happened?
I had the privilege of attending and leading a workshop at the Apprentice National Conference 2014 last week in Wichita, Kansas. The theme of this year’s conference was “Formation for Mission: Becoming the Change our World Needs”. It was a great couple of days spent with around 250 others with the same shared vision of participating in God’s transforming work in the world, wherever we are.
We are in the midst of the Facilitator Training Retreat season here @ VantagePoint3. 3 Retreats done (by the time this posts) – Glendora, CA, Kelowna, BC, and Indianapolis, IN. There are still 6 more Facilitator Training Retreats on the schedule…Atlanta, GA – in 5 days – and, in August, we will be in Dyer, IN (just south of Chicago), Grimsby, Ontario (the Greater Toronto Area, or, the southern end of “The Golden Horseshoe” ;), Sioux Falls, SD, Kelowna, BC, and Calgary, AB. So…It’s not too late to join us at one of our Retreats!
As we are nearing the “home stretch” for Facilitator Training Retreats, we are also thinking about what we can do to help all of our “Tribe” who has been trained to facilitate groups gather the people to experience the transformation that comes from intentionally walking with others through The Journey, A Way of Life, the Equipping Experience, or an Enriching Conversation.
Here is where we need help from you…
One thing we are working on to help our facilitators invite participants is a “Starting a Group” page on our website. The plan is to put sample invitations, ppt slides, notes, and letters that our partner churches have used in the past to invite participants and form groups. Ideally, these samples would be easy for people to download and edit with their church/organization information to personalize it for their unique context.
We at VP3 are really excited about a recent project that has come to completion and is now available. Imago Dei to Missio Dei: An Art Experience is a compilation of watercolors and reflections which in the words of the artist/author Preston Pouteaux, “I originally created these pieces as a gift for my church family. I hoped they would see in themselves and each other the beauty God sees through Jesus. Each piece I painted was a prayer.”
A couple years ago I received the substance of what you find in the pages of Imago Dei to Missio Dei in an email from Preston. I was immediately struck by the beauty, simplicity, and challenge of the work. I printed off a copy off and began to work my way through this “Art Experience.” The faces and stories in these pages capture a very particular collection of people from one local church community in Calgary, but they reflect more universally the dignity, mystery and uniqueness of all humankind, men and women created in God’s image. The more I sat with it, thumbing my way through the portraits and the meditations, the more I sensed Preston’s deep care for these people and for God.
In today’s day and age, many of us struggle at our deepest core with believing our lives really matter. The many voices of our culture have, sadly, led us to believe that we are less than what we are. This piece reminded me that the gospel graciously awakens us with the truth that our lives matter immensely because we have been created and loved by God. As C.S. Lewis put it, “There are no ordinary people.” And until we begin to embrace this reality—that we are God’s beloved creatures—we will not be fully freed up to share in God’s mission in the world, reflecting God’s always creative and reconciling presence in our communities; hence the title of this piece, Imago Dei to Missio Dei.