Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with David W. Crocker, a Baptist clergy, author of Operation Inasmuch: Mobilizing Believers beyond the Walls of the Church (Lake Hickory Resources, 2005) and Executive Director of Operation Inasmuch, Knoxville, Tennessee (www.operationinasmuch.com). This organization “seeks to empower congregations worldwide to catalyze community ministry with the Operation Inasmuch model and create a culture of compassion ministry.” David will be leading a training session in the fall with Grace Presbytery.
Even though David and I may share different theological perspectives, we agreed that getting congregations to go beyond their walls and to do God’s mission was the key to facilitating real spiritual growth for the members of the congregation. During our conversation, every time we talked about churches that had either experienced spiritual and congregational renewal, or about congregations that refused to change and were dying, we each said, “yeah, I know churches like that!”
This conversation confirmed again that the congregational and spiritual transformation process transcends denominational labels and liberal vs. conservative theological perspectives. Congregations that experience spiritual renewal are the ones who listen and are led by God’s Spirit to go beyond their walls and to serve God and their neighbors.
Congregations that are spiritually healthy are congregations whose leaders hear and faithfully practice their call from God. The Office of Vocation is lifting up Christian Vocation Sunday on August 31, 2008. “God’s ‘Call” is more than a job – it is discovering the possibilities of oneself; it is insight into who one is, what one should do. Call is a powerful resource for confronting the uncertainty of life. It is a symbol of divine direction and divine acceptance, connecting one with the community in which one serves. Call makes sense of One’s Life.” (Office of Vocation web page) Resources for Christian Vocation Sunday can be downloaded from www.pcusa.org/christianvocation/christianvocationsunday.htm).