The theme of my fall has been “homecoming”, and not in the angsty, teenage football game and school dance kind of way (thank God), but in the peaceful, joy-filled spending of time with people and places that have come to feel like “home” to me over the years. First, it was on a weekend trip to NYC in September where I participated in the commissioning of two women pastors and celebrated the ten year anniversary of Forefront Brooklyn. Then the feeling returned in October through our Gather 2022 event in Denver, which was hosted by our loyal friends and partners at Highlands Church.
Our friend Tonetta Landis-Aina of The Table Church D.C. really hit the mark when she preached at Highlands during their regular worship service, which we all attended together. Through her sermon on “The Just and Generous Way of Squandering (Luke 16: 1-13)” she honored the vision and mission of Highlands over the past 12 years as they invested over and over again in our movement of faith communities, relationships and emerging faith leaders who don’t always fit the traditional model of a “wise investment.”
The Gather 2022 conversations that emerged over our time together with our friends and fellow faith leaders at W/ Collective, Highlands and in the Launchpad network, always returned back to these ideas that Tonetta articulated for us first. What does it look like to release cultural power and let go of “the ways in which we’ve always done things”? What will it feel like to live with the internal feelings of “bankruptcy?” To choose doing things in a way that may feel like failure and foolishness by our familiar standards? If we know and believe that joy and beauty really comes from connection and relationship, then how do we structure our resources, our time and vision around that reality? How do questions like this – and so many others that have surfaced in us over the past 3 years – inform who we are going to be going forward? How will we bravely and boldly lead our movement and our communities into a vision of flourishing for the future?
I’m finding that because I know the feeling of “home,” and because I find “home” so often among these people and places with whom I’ve done ministry with for over a decade now, I can also find the courage to lean into the hard, unfinished conversations. Because I have a home base, I can experiment and imagine a different future for myself as a leader. I’m thankful I have Launchpad to keep bringing me back home, and I hope that with the continued help of our Guiding and Launching Partners, this feeling of “homecoming” can be fostered for more people. Tonetta blessed us all when she reminded us that “every experiment that is birthed among [us] by the Spirit gets us a little further into this new world of liberation and flourishing that is God’s dream.” This reminder is the gift of coming home.