OUR VALUES: FORMATION
BY THE REV'D CANON ARTHUR GOING
AUGUST 8TH, 2017
God’s purpose is to form us into people who think, feel, and live differently because we follow Christ. We are dedicated to equipping children, teens, and adults to be holy and free, flourishing in all life’s opportunities and challenges. We are especially committed to developing next-generation leaders for the continuing mission of the Church in every aspect of our culture.
Where does next generation leadership development begin? When we recruit someone for seminary? When someone contacts the Diocesan office and expresses a desire to enter the ordination process and becomes what the church calls “a postulant”? When we train volunteers for the vestry or for ministry assignments in the parish?
No, long before that. We see it all over again each time a new believer steps to the baptismal font, or parents present their children, and answer these questions:
Do you renounce the Devil and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God? Do you renounce the empty promises and deadly deceits of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God? Do you renounce the sinful desires of the flesh that draw you from the love of God?
I renounce them.
Do you turn to Jesus Christ and confess him as your Lord and Savior? Do you joyfully receive the Christian faith, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments? Will you obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in them all the days of your life?
I will, the Lord being my helper.
A hush settles over the sanctuary; tears and smiles, line our faces, because, whether we knew the whole story or not, we all sense something extraordinary, something Spirit-driven going on. New life in Christ. The deep joy of a new follower of Jesus. And, make no mistake, the beginning of leadership development.
Perhaps, later in the same service, a children’s minister invites other members to partner with her: “Every time we baptize a baby or child ... we promise to do all in our power to support his/her family as they raise that child to be a follower of Christ.” And, when we do get involved, so much more is going on than just childcare (though loving and caring for kids is a holy calling). It’s the beginning of leadership development.
A youth pastor in the Diocese has reminded us: "Disciples are made one relationship at a time. It’s the job of every adult Christian to be in relationship with a child or youth. So, start today relating to kids; take them into your life.” Take them into what Jesus called your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life (Rom 12:1MSG). Be Christ to them.
Where does formation, next generation leadership development, begin? When a disciple is made. When parents raise their children in the faith. When we all take seriously our baptismal covenant: Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?
The Diocese of Christ our Hope’s mission is to plant, equip, and multiply disciple-making Anglican churches, and to support and serve their people and leaders in Christian life and mission.