One weekend in August I spent Friday night and most of Saturday at a conference. That’s not my usual definition of a great weekend. Usually by Friday night I’m ready to place my slippered feet on the coffee table and sip a glass of red wine with the footy as background noise.
Not this weekend. This weekend I went along to a Board for Local Mission sponsored event – with the interesting title of Thriving in Change – not really knowing what to expect. And I was blown away.
Dwelling in the word isn’t just READING a Bible passage and REFLECTING on it.
Dr Patrick Keifert was the speaker – a pastor with extensive parish experience and a systematic theologian at Luther Seminary in St Paul, Minnesota. He had us, from the outset, dwelling in the word. Now ‘dwelling in the word’ isn’t just reading a Bible passage and reflecting on it. Dwelling in the word is one spiritual practice that, Pat claims, can transform a congregation’s shared life and work. I was curious.
We began in prayer, asking God to speak to us through his word. Luke 10:1– 12 was read out loud to the audience, and it was read s l o w l y. Then we practised something interesting. We found a reasonably friendly-looking stranger and encouraged them to speak freely while we listened (listened, not talked). We heard their reflections, their questions, their curiosity, their ‘ah ha’ moment. And we heard God speaking to us.
If that all sounds a bit too good to be true – a bit mystical – or if you are sceptical regarding how a simple spiritual practice like ‘dwelling’ can make a real difference in a congregation, I would suggest that you find out more.
Why not speak to one of the 70+ people who attended the conference at Rochedale or the 90+ people who joined me in Adelaide? Or try googling Dwelling in the Word: a pocket handbook and buy a copy. You may well be blown away too.
To learn about how your congregation, school or group can be better equipped for local mission, look into the five-week Bible study and sermon series, Renew Mission Life, and other devotional and study resources, at www.lca.org.au/renew.html
Contact LCA Local Mission
a: 197 Archer Street North Adelaide SA 5006
e: Executive Officer Tania Nelson at
Church Planting Mentor and Mission Facilitator
Dean Eaton at email@example.com
p: 08 8267 7300
Tania Nelson is the LCA’s Executive Officer – Local Mission.
This feature story comes from The Lutheran October 2016. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.