Those of you who have been following me for a while will know that I’ve been pondering what I’m called to do in response to the changes happening in this country. While many expressed surprise at the US election results last November, those results speak to underlying issues that have been developing for a while. Cultural change doesn’t happen overnight.
In this Eastertide, as spring blossoms around me with the energy of new life, I am ready to take my own next steps in this process. I am working with the woman (and her team) that designed my logo, dialoguing about what I can offer, online and in person, to support the spiritual people I serve through my various ministries. As I pondered back in Advent, what and who am I for?
The answer is that I am for you: the people who read my blog and find support here for the work you are doing, the ministries you are living out, the people you are serving.
Rather than assuming that I know what you want and need, today I am asking. I want to listen to you, my spiritual constituents. I am requesting your feedback, as outlined in the letter below. So please read on, and please respond. I want to know how best to serve you, to support you.
The past year, both in the US and abroad, has increasingly been filled with challenges for people of faith. These trends in particular have raised concerns for me, and may also have for you:
- The wars and number of refugees around the world have exploded and stable countries are closing their doors to those who have lost homes, families, and—often—hope.
- Rising political leaders are tapping into racism, xenophobia, and many other -isms that lurk beneath the façade of “civilized” societies, revealing that we still have a lot to learn about how to love all our neighbors.
- There are many levels of uncertainty about what effect the current political realities will have on those we care for and serve, be they students or workers, parishioners or seekers, elders or children, wealthy or impoverished.
These are just a few examples of what we and our communities are facing as we minister to those in our midst, formally and informally—or when we turn to God in prayer, asking what we are called to do, individually and collectively, in this season of change and challenge.
It is in this context that I am prayerfully discerning how to provide evolving support for spiritual leaders like you. As someone whose lifelong call has been “ministry to ministers” (whether lay or ordained), I’m hoping that my ministries can provide helpful tools for spiritual leaders and faithful followers—tools that assist your response to the emerging demands of our times, while also nourishing your heart and spirit to persevere in your service.
With this guiding mission, I am asking trusted friends and colleagues for input on a new digital platform of offerings I am developing. What is missing in your system of support? What do you need in order to keep bringing hope to the hopeless, trust to the doubting, courage to the fearful? I’m curious about how I might serve you, in person or through online portals (classes, webinars, etc.).
Some of my questions and ideas are listed below. Others are more visual in nature and hard to explain, so they will need to be viewed in their draft form for feedback at a later time. I would love your thoughts on these questions, as well as your feedback on what, if anything, you would add to this list.
- What resources and personal practices do you turn to for personal inspiration? What helps you get in touch with your creative wellspring? Possibilities include poetry, prayerful reflections and meditations, music, videos, etc.
- What are the best ways for you to receive these inspirations? Possibilities include emails, podcasts, videos, webinars, books (hardcopy, ebooks, and/or audiobooks), etc.
- Are you utilizing “mobile” listening, via smartphone apps or connecting your phone to your car’s sound system?
- Are you drawn to online webinars, lectures, conferences, and retreats for your personal development experiences, or do you largely prefer to invest time with in-person retreats, inspirational talks, and films? Or are you finding yourself drawn to a mixture of both online and in-person?
- Do you prefer to access online events live and interact with the presenters, and/or do you wish them to be flexible, so you can access them when your schedule permits?
- Are you interested in mentorship for creative writing, speaking, retreat planning, or other forms of spiritual leadership?
- Does the idea of participating in an online circle of trusted peers feel attractive to you? Would you be interested in peer-to-peer discussions on common challenges, in the form of web-based call-in meetings or video conversations?
- What are the particular issues that have become more acute during recent times, for which you’d appreciate accessing support?
- Would you be interested in reviewing and giving feedback in a few months on a “beta version” of this unfolding digital platform of offerings?
Any and all feedback and ideas are deeply appreciated as I take this exciting next step in my ministry journey.
I welcome your response in any form that’s easiest for you. If you like, just copy and paste your feedback into an email and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If it would be easier to talk in person about this, rather than writing, email me and let’s schedule an appointment.
It would be most helpful for me if I can receive your response within the next two weeks, but don’t let that stop you from sharing your thoughts if it takes a bit longer than that.
I thank you for taking the time to help me discern how best to serve you in this season.