This past weekend our community had a sacred envisioning retreat down in Mexico. God graciously shielded and guided us through an exciting but also emotional time for our community. As with the human experience of giving birth, the birthing of a new community is filled with both joy and pain. Seeing a new life emerge is amazing, but there’s also the sobering reality that life will never be the same once it happens. That’s especially true when you’ve really loved your life the way it is and you’re about to birth not just 1, but 2, or in our case, maybe 3 or 4 new communities.
Over the weekend we fought hard to lean into our future, to release one another to God, but also to tend to the hearts and relationships that God has lovingly knit together. We sensed we would need to be willing to transition from being a singular, self-contained community to becoming multiple communities that are uniquely different but somehow connected and mutually complementing, but we just weren’t sure what that should look like. But here's a picture of what I sense God is doing:
Imagine a sunflower. At the center of the flower is a dark orangish brown eye, and around that center are lots of beautiful yellow pedals. Each part of the flower has its own unique look, texture, and function, but it's only whole when each part is connected. That’s a great picture of what God is forming here in San Diego and perhaps how our communities will grow around the world. From what was once just a one-size-fits-all center, (our intensive apprenticeship), we are about to birth several missional communities all around us. Like pedals on a sunflower they will be more pourus and accessible to our neighbors and extend our reach into the city and even beyond it. Whereas the apprenticeship focuses on forming people for missional life, these missional communities will be focused more on living out that life in the neighborhoods they inhabit. And like the sunflower, the apprenticeship and the multiple missional communities that radiate out from it will remain intimately connected to one another and deeply rooted in the missio dei—the mission of God, which we are honored to participate in.