"Did you know God's allowed to do stuff beyond the walls of our church?" In her second day of teaching, Dr. Elaine Heath, Dean of Duke Divinity School, spoke about joining the work God is already doing in our communities. "We're used to thinking we own God. God is already at work out there - and in us. How can the God in us join the God out there in what God is doing?"
To join God in the new things God is doing is risky business, however. Elaine remarked, "When we begin to live in the way of Jesus instead of just talking about Jesus, two things will happen - we will see signs and wonders, and we will be persecuted. And sometimes that persecution comes through our religious systems."
So how can our established churches participate in the new thing God is doing - and not try to kill it instead? Elaine's proposal involves four steps: Show Up; Pay Attention; Cooperate with God; and Release the Outcome. In other words, get involved in the process, look at ministry the context of your community; get involved with what God is doing; and then leave the outcome up to God.
For more from Dr. Heath, you can read her book "God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church."