39 minutes | May 14, 2021

On the Move with God

Tim Soerens is a pastor and author of the new book Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church Right Where You Are.  In this episode, hear Tim talk with Dayle Rounds about why he feels hopeful about the American church and what he thinks the church might be called to do in this particular season of the pandemic. They discuss how the church might come to see its purpose not as creating God’s mission but joining it. Tim Soerens is the co-founding director of the Parish Collective, a growing network and global movement of Christians reimagining what it means to be the Church in, with, and for the neighborhood.  His latest book is called “Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church, Right Where You Are”.  His co-authored first book “The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Transform Mission, Discipleship, and Community (Intervarsity Press, 2014) won multiple awards, including Christianity Today’s award of merit. Tim has launched multiple sold-out conferences including the Inhabit Conference, New Parish Conference UK, Conspire Gathering, and Neighborhood Economics Conference. He also co-founded Neighborhood Economics to catalyze entrepreneurship as a path to wealth for marginalized communities which has helped to raise over 3 million dollars. A popular speaker, Tim has spoken to a broad cross-section of organizations and denominations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Closer to home, he and his wife are helping to start South Park Neighborhood Church and are co-founding owners of Resistencia Coffee, a neighborhood coffee shop, as well as the South Park Idea Lab. He lives in Seattle, WA with his wife Coté and their sons Lukas and Joaquín.Intro (00:00): What does it mean for us to be the church in this particular season? And what is the church for? In this episode, you will meet Tim Soerens, pastor and co-founder of The Parish Collective and author of the book *Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church Right Where You Are*. Tim and I talk about new ways of understanding the purpose of the church and how the church might evolve in its calling -- not to create God's redeeming mission, but to join it. You are listening to The Distillery at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dayle (00:36): Tim, it's great to sit down and talk to you. It's been a while since we've been able to talk, and I'm really glad that you've joined me here today. Thanks for doing this. Tim (00:46): Thanks for having me, Dayle. It's so good to be here. Dayle (00:48): We're glad you're here. Your book. It's a profoundly hopeful text at a time when I think a lot of people feel... When a lot of news about the church does not feel so hopeful, right? So you've chosen to write a very hopeful book about the American church. And so the question I have is what sparked your desire to write this? And my second question is -- who did you write it for? Tim (01:14): Well, I really appreciate that question. That was definitely a longing, was to write a hopeful book and well, I'll maybe start with the second part of the question and then, and then go to the next. And that is for many years now, I have had the great privilege through working with The Parish Collective to walk in honestly hundreds of neighborhoods and with all kinds of congregations. And what I found is the closer that I'm able to literally like get on the street with people -- into homes or into pubs and ask, "What is God doing in this place?" -- there are small and large stories of hope that are just bursting at the seams all over the place. It seems almost like the closer you get to the ground, the more hopeful it is. And the more you zoom out and begin to get stuff from newspapers, on Facebook, and big national reports, the more depressing it is. Tim (02:15): And so, who I wrote the book for largely was for, especially, I'd say everyday people who still think and care and practice their faith with a lot of earnest motivation, but are beginning to ask questions about the church. You know, what is it for? Why church? I mean, it feels like the more and more people that I would talk to and have questions about the church, there are just all these different answers. So I really was trying to write this for everyday people. I had a chance to write another book with some, with two other colleagues called the new parish. That was a little bit more oriented towards church leaders. And in my experience at the congregational level, if there's not, you could say like the desire to see new things happen within, you know, some percentage of lay leadership, then it's really difficult to see any kind of culture change at the congregation level. Tim (03:19): So I kept, I kind of, I told her about this, but I was writing this honestly with my mom in mind, who is part of a delightful, evangelical church in a small town in Wisconsin. But I just kept thinking like, would my mom (A) want to keep reading this book? Like, am I keeping her attention? And (B) am I speaking to someone who's kind of in her lived experience? Like, would she read this book and want to pass it along to some of her friends that are in her Bible study, but you think about giving it to her pastor, but even if she didn't give it to her pastor, would she feel like, yes, this is, this is putting language to thoughts and hopes that I've had, that I haven't been able to put together myself. So it really was written for everyday people. Dayle (04:05): Can you tell one of those stories about how a local church or faith community expression is actually bearing witness to Christ and their community in a way? Tim (04:14): Sure. I mean, there are really so many, you know, one that I've just been thinking about is local here in Seattle. And they've been around for probably seven or eight years now, but it's, uh, a PCUSA church called Union Church. And they were sent off from a larger university Presbyterian church a handful of years ago into a very interesting neighborhood where I had spent some time; it's called South Lake Union. It's kind of the north part of downtown Seattle. And it's where amazon.com, which -- I'm from Seattle. Everyone's heard of amazon.com, but for many years they had office buildings scattered all over the region. Well, they consolidated and bought up literally a couple of million square feet of office real estate in this one neighborhood and Union was asking the question -- could we begin to form a faith community, a congregation right now in this rapidly changing neighborhood? Tim (05:16): And so they're led by an amazing couple, James B And Renée Notkin, and they have -- in some ways what they've done is not that crazy. Lots of other people have started enterprises like they have, but, you know, they have started a kind of a chocolate and coffee shop in the front. And then at the back, it's an event space. And so where they worship on Sunday is kind of a big minimalistic almost warehouse feel. But during the week they rent it out to kind of top dollar corporations for like big events. And they are also from that revenue able to turn it back around the neighborhood and say -- hey, can we host some of the most important conversations and gatherings for the things that matter most here? Dayle (06:05): They're using that money in support of the mission of the congregation. Tim (06:08): Exactly. And they're also, they are... How they have listened really intently to what God seems to be doing, and obviously who's there in this rapidly changing neighborhood, I think is really fascinating. Because you've got lots of obviously tech workers and more and more people that are moving into condos, but there's, you know, the cascade part of the neighborhood is arguably like the anarchist epicenter of Seattle, or at least it used to be. There are obviously issues with homelessness, which is a major issue in the city of Seattle. It's pretty diverse; the neighborhood changing dramatically. So they're consistently asking -- what does it mean for us to be faithful to what God is doing here and this really unique, rapidly changing urban environment. And, I just think they're really inspiring. Dayle (06:56): But that's -- I'm going to pick up on that. That's one of the main points you make in the book -- is that you talk about how the church needs to be attentive to what God is already doing in a community and then join in on that work. It reminds me decades ago, I read Eugene Peterson's *Contemplative Pastor*. He talks about this. He talks about how, I think it's been, I may get this wrong, but like when, when a pastor first enters a new congregation, often times the impulse is to want to ask what, what should I do? What should I do? Right. And I think he makes some reference about actually looking at the congregational terrain to see where God is already at work. And then ask the question, how can I get in on that? And it seems to me that that's the point you're trying to make. So tell me a little bit about that. Why is that important? And can you give some examples to folks as to where you've seen someone or seen a group of someones in a congregation functioning in that way? Tim (08:06): Yeah. I think this is a really significant question and a potential shift, and a lot of what animates it is that with the kind of quote-unquote decline of the church, or kind of, [inaudible] realities, there's lots of different language for it. There's actually, I'd say a veritable, you know, industry, that's afoot saying -- oh, the church is dead. What do we do? And that's understandable. Those are real questions, but they're almost all precipitated by asking church questions before God questions, if that makes sense. Dayle (08:42): Yep. Tim (08:43): And what I have seen both in my own life and certainly in being with all kinds of churches and neighborhoods, is that when the community really has dialed in, of kind of disciplining themselves to ask the God question first, namely, like you said, using Eugene Peterson, what is God up to here -- that you're up for an entirely different journey, than even you know, how do we be a successful church or how do we grow the church or how do we get, you know, young people to come back to our church or, you know, and then, you know, some of the questions can, frankly, devolve from there with carpet and music styles and things like that. Tim (09:27): But when the question is what actually is God up to, and you can ask that together within the context of an actual place, then I think that that sets us off on a whole new trajectory. And my experience has been when you ask that question and it's primary, if you're faithful to it, and then you begin to not on your own necessarily, but with even a small team of people, you begin to try things and take on different experiments and practices and you literally, you know, make the path by walking. And I think that's just the nature of the church right now -- that we need to make the path by walking. And I think what sets us off on that journey is this question about what God's up to. Tim (10:14): It's been really beautiful here. I live in a neighborhood now called South Park, which is on the south end of Seattle, four miles from downtown. And I had been really inspired actually by a bunch of neighbors, but honestly, especially my wife who is taking the lead in helping to start a new faith community here in partnership with United Methodist Church. And we have, even amongst all the chaos of COVID, to continually ask, what is God up to and how do we join in. I mean, that's -- it's made all kinds of things possible, whether that be connecting with neighbors who are doing a mutual aid society, particularly around food security, or if it's around opening up our coffee shop in different creative ways. If it's thinking through and wrestling with our neighborhood -- like, a lot in Seattle is getting more and more expensive. How do we think about coming alongside our neighbors that are in danger of being forced out, especially now? I mean, these are all questions that for us are very theologically motivated -- what is God up to here? And having the opportunity to join in with neighbors, and then frankly doing some, both theological reflection on that, as well as practical questions about, well, what does it mean for us to be the church then with this reality? So what are the practices that we need to inhabit in this particular season? How do we do this on our own? How do we do this together? How do we care well for our neighbors, how do we both live out and articulate our faith practice amongst our community -- these are all questions that we're constantly asking, but I feel like they're really powerful generative questions. Dayle (12:02): Now the timing of this is that you wrote this book before the pandemic, right. And it came out, I think, early on in it or in the middle of it. So I think the question that's on everybody's mind now is like, well, what about the pandemic and post-pandemic church? So with the emphasis on looking at your community and seeing where God is at work and with neighbors, how has the pandemic been influencing that and where have you seen --because God's still working in the middle of a pandemic, right? So where have you seen it work sort of in spite of all of this that's going on? Speaker 2 (12:41): Well, Dayle, I don't know if you'd agree with this, but I feel like the pandemic amongst many other things has been apocalyptic for the church in the sense of -- it has uncovered and revealed things that probably wouldn't have ever been uncovered or revealed -- or at least not so quickly. It would have been much longer. And to be honest, while I'm not excited at all about COVID or any of the horrific realities around health or finances or anything like that, I do think that there might be a hidden gift for the church, in that, the things that have been uncovered and revealed are things that I actually think God's probably been trying to get our attention on for quite some time. So, one of the things that it has revealed, I think is that -- most people would all say, well, the church of course is people. It's not the programs, it's not the building. It's not even Sunday worship, as important as that is. But when it was taken from us, there does seem to be a sense of like, well, wait, now, what are we, right? I mean, and that's a different -- that's, that's very contextual, literally to the congregation, to different neighborhoods in different regions and different countries. But I think that there is a hidden gift in the sense of, we could say, well, how do we not just, you know, go to church or create church programs? How do we, in our everyday life, in our actual lives, in our actual neighborhoods and cities, how do we try and be the church, 24/7 on some level, you know, prompting -- what does it mean for us to be the church on Tuesday afternoon or Thursday night? I mean, I think this is a really healthy question. Tim (14:29): And, as to what it's going to look like -- you know, most of us have been really stationary in our homes and in our... like sometimes for some of us, not even neighborhoods, like, on our block for a year, and as hard as that has been, I think it's going to shift our posture potentially quite dramatically over the next couple of years and decades. Because a premise of this book project, and certainly I'd say of the broader kind of Parish Collective work that I'm up to is that, before we change anything that we do, we need to change how we see, and this pandemic has forced us to look at things differently. So I don't have any magic bullet for, well, let's just say everything is opening up and by say fall, you know, things begin to feel a little bit more normal. And of course, I hope they do. The big question that I'm asking and asking with lots of friends all over the country is, well, what does this look like now as we come back? What are the new questions that we need to be asking ourselves? Tim (15:40): And here's a guess, and this will be interesting to keep asking of listeners. And that is, I think, more than not, the pastors, lay leaders, everyday Christians, who were kind of on the fence pre-pandemic as to -- I think there's a different way. I think there's a better way to be the church. I think there's -- I think God has bigger stories for us. I think it's going to tip. I really do. And I also think there's going to be a percentage of leadership that just kind of doubles down on the demonstrable. It's just like, okay, we're back, we're back to normal. Let's go. And maybe there's a place for that. I'm actually pretty excited about the church that God is going to be knitting together, honestly, all over the world, because this has been such a global phenomenon. Dayle (16:33): And, maybe this, you can tie these two things together. What you were just saying within the third chapter of the book you bring up Charles Taylor, when he writes -- in the secular age, we are still haunted by the sacred and that in the context of paying attention to the Spirit already at work in our communities. How does your thinking, how does what you've written in your book illuminate Taylor's words, and what does it mean? What does it mean to you to be haunted by the sacred? And maybe, how are you seeing that now during the pandemic? Tim (17:09): Well, I think that's such a powerful idea that Taylor brings us, that, you know, in this postmodern age, however, we might think of that, that regardless of how enlightened we might be, that we feel haunted by this idea of the sacred. And I think haunted is actually quite both poetic and beautiful because it's not just like delighted or thrilled or made happy. I feel like part of what I believe the Spirit of God is doing is a sense of... not foreboding at all, but of provoking us, at a very deep level, what's actually going on here? What actually matters? And so for me, this idea of being haunted by the sacred is very much about how do we pay attention? And here's the thing that's honestly, still very difficult for me and maybe a lot of listeners. And that is -- how do we name how the Spirit is at work? I mean, most of us would say, yeah, the Spirit is at work. Our task is to try and pay attention to it more, and more of us are saying that, but how did that -- how do we name that? And this is a place where, you know, I grew up in a delightful Christian home. I got a seminary degree. I should, I feel like I, you know, amongst other people, I should know how do this and Both (18:34): [crosstalk] Tim (18:37): Well, is that the Spirit, or is that not the Spirit, or how do we name it? And, you know, I think it has to go beyond kind of a feeling. And I certainly believe it does, but I think this is a big question for us right now. How do we name it, and how do we increasingly name it with confidence? Like, I actually think that the Spirit is doing this and we are compelled, it begins to be like a -- almost an ethical issue of whether or not we join in this or not, like we're increasingly convicted. But this is a big opportunity, I think, for our collective spiritual formation. How do we discern it and how do we name it and how do we step into it? And, I think is a really exciting new era for the church when this is becoming more and more of a central question. Tim (19:21): And yet, you know, those were not the primary questions that certainly I, that I was brought up in. And I think they're becoming more and more fundamental. But here's the question: I don't always know. You know, there's scripture, there's intuition, there's the witness of other people. There are some just obvious, you know, ethical realities. But I feel like this is where, you know, the discerning of a community I think is really, really important. So there are different traditions that maybe have accentuated that gift over church history more than not. Quaker brothers and sisters, certainly the kind of global Pentecostal church. Yeah. I think this has been a central theme of different Mennonite traditions for sure. But, so maybe they... Maybe they've got a decade or two on us, but it's not... It's as much art or more art than science. So I don't have a... I don't have a technique for how to do it. I just feel more and more conviction that this is really, really important. Dayle (20:26): Yeah. Yeah. To watch and to look. I'm going to flip around a little bit, kind of jumping around in the chapters of the book, but early on, you -- and this... It's making me think about the questions that people are raising. As we're trying to figure out what's the church going to do, you know, they've been trying to figure out -- how do we be the church in the midst of a pandemic, and now where's it going? And you raised two questions that people often ask about the church. One, which is often debated, is what is the church? Right? And I think that's something the pandemic has made people ask again -- well, what is it, right? If I can't gather, what is the church? But the question that you raise as being maybe more important, or at least that we need to ask both, is what is the church for? Right? And so I'm actually wondering if that might be the more helpful question coming out of the pandemic, which you already raised as sort of the most helpful question that maybe even more so it might even be what you've written. It might even be more helpful to people at this point. Like, what is the church for as we come out, which might help us figure out how to reshape it? Speaker 2 (21:37): I do -- first of all --, I do think the question of "what is the church for" is the slightly more important question now. And maybe always. Where it came from for me is that I am really, you know, geeky about those more philosophical, theological, you could say, even ontological questions about what is the church. Those matter a lot. And tomes and tomes have been written about "what is the church" and there are lots of disagreements, all throughout history. But, I feel like the question that is in the mind of most Christians is not so much, what is the church, whether it's said or unsaid, I think it is far more, what is the church for? I actually think that is most of the reason, or if not most, a significant reason that there has been a pretty significant decline in church, church attendance or church belonging, particularly on younger generations over the last 10, 20, 30, 40 years. Tim (22:41): There are all kinds of reasons for that, of course. But practically, if after a while, you can't with fairly clear language, say what something is for, then it's going to lose your attention. I mean, just on a very practical level, like, we crave clarity and I think there is absolutely no consensus about what the church is for right now, or perhaps even the church is. And as a result, it's just really confusing and maybe that's really good, but I think for lots of everyday Christians, they're just saying, honestly, maybe I grew up with this kind of tradition, and I'm not quite sure about that, but I just don't know what it's for anymore. And so I'm still down with Jesus. My faith still matters to me, but the church it's just, I don't know, you know? And so getting clear on what the church is for and why it matters so much. I think we need to see -- I'm hoping and dreaming and longing for a resurgence of that question being answered, both with words, but also with our lives and where people could see it, like this is what the church is for. And, I just think that's massive. I mean, and to answer it, I think, well, this is also part, this is in the book, but it was a bit of... you know, sometimes when you're like either reading a book, or in this case I was watching a Ted Talk at lunch, but I watched that Ted Talk called Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Some listeners have probably seen this. It became then a book called Start With Why; it's one of the kinds of viral Ted Talks. And he has this really elegant formulation where he says, basically, people don't buy what you're selling, if he's talking to companies. They buy, actually, why you're selling it. Like, the "why" matters more than "what," always. And if you don't get clear on your why, you're never going to be a great business, organization, movement, et cetera. And when I heard that, and then as I've been reflecting on that book, to me, it was a bit of a wake-up call of like -- maybe this is a big part of it, is that we have not been clear about our "why" as a church or arguably got obsessed with our "what," what we do, our programs, our budgets, our buildings, our even distinctives. Here's what makes us so unique. And I don't know if people care that much, but when we say here is why we exist, I think that's really compelling and frankly, more needed now than ever. Like, the local church -- I feel like is more needed now than ever before in these consistently fragmented and polarized times. So yeah, I think it's massive. Dayle (25:35): So you... I mean, you are part of -- founding part of -- a thing called The Parish Collective, and you talk about the parish in the book. And so the word 'parish' means (people will come to that term with some preconceived ideas, right?) Can you explain what you mean by parish and why it's so important for effectively participating in God's work in the world? Tim (25:59): Yeah, well, so I borrowed the definition that we had used in this earlier book called The New Parish. And the definition that we came up with has held pretty well. And it is -- a geographic area that's large enough to live a lot of your life -- so kind of live, work, play -- but small enough to be known as a character within the story of that place. Okay. And so, what we found is that -- and that is not, you know, that's not Rome's definition per se. I don't know that this would be the definition, even from something like the Episcopal church or, you know, Lutheran church, or certainly an Anglican church in England, exactly. But, I feel like it's really, really helpful right now and for a whole number of reasons. But maybe most importantly is that if we're going to ask the question of what God is doing, I feel like we need a context to ask that. We are embodied, created creatures. We have limits, which is actually a gift. Like, you know, when I throw my hand up, doesn't just hit the ceiling. And in the same way that we, as creatures, which have bodies, which have limits, I think that it's a really healthy gift for churches and congregations to begin to wrestle through -- what is a geographic area where we are going to try and limit our attention at some level, so that we can better pay attention, so that we can better be a part of the story of that place, so that we can better be present and become known, become loved, to give -- both give and receive. And, there's a whole host of reasons why I feel like the church, at least in North America has been pretty consistently disembodied and displaced. There's a whole host of reasons for that, but I am seeing a really interesting kind of movement of recovering this idea of -- could we begin down the path of discerning, what is a common kind of broader ecosystem to where we're going to pay attention? Tim (28:17): And that's what's so interesting about it, because it's big enough for a lot of life. It's not just like, okay, lineup the three houses around you, or the three blocks around you. That's purely residential and that's all of it. Well, no, that's probably too small. There's not enough of life that's lived there. And -- but the reverse is true too. If it's just -- we're about the whole city and it's a hundred thousand people or 500,000 people, well, you're probably not going to be able to be known very well there. The giving and receiving that's so critical to the life of a healthy community is going to be really, really difficult. And without that kind of limitation... this is maybe the last thing I'd say -- is it tends to force congregations to try and discern not so much what God is up to in a particular place, but how do we get people to come to our program or our worship service or our building? Tim (29:13): It's a fair question. And even it would be a fair desire, and frankly, I think that's going to get even more complicated with COVID. As people have literally been like tuning in on zoom worship services from all over the world. And frankly, if you're a pastor of a church of say a hundred people, and for whatever reason, now you have 200 people -- because, you know, your friends from college are now... who live in Minnesota and you're in New Jersey and your parents are now, you know, listening to your service. Instead, this is going to be complicated. And frankly, it feels good to move from a hundred people to 200 people. It feels good. And yet, if we think about the big mission of the church of joining in God's reconciling, redeeming mission, those distributed 200 people all over the country are going to have a much harder time actually being a team unless they can figure out how to focus in. Tim (30:11): And so this is a big tension, I think that we're in right now, but I think it's a real gift, the idea of the parish. I think it's not so much a new technique. Like -- oh, here's a new model to try on. I think it's a dare to faithfulness. I think it's a dare to be asking these sometimes scary questions and what God is up to, and I think it's also an invitation to a lot of the innovation that we're longing to see within congregations, because as any artist will tell you, I need some limits. Like if you just said to even students write an essay on whatever you want, as long as you want, you know? Dayle (30:56): Yeah. They have a hard time getting started, right? They need some boundaries, some parameters. Tim (31:01): It's hard, right? Right. If it's not like to talk about, you know, Karl Barth's response to the Holocaust in 500 words, okay, well now we can get going. That's a whole different task. And I think that geographic limitation is a real gift there. And then the other thing is once you're embedded within a given place and to become known as a character, two amazing things happen. One, you find out that your ideas and experiments probably both work and don't work because you get real time feedback. You know? You find out what neighbors actually think of what you're referring to. You skin your knees a little bit. You also are, you know, surprised by the everyday heroes that pop out. The other thing is that once you're, you know, pretty committed to a particular place, you find that any other faith community, any other Christian community, any other folks who are also trying to actually love God and their actual neighborhoods at the same time are just like -- you just wanna hang out with them. It's like, what are you doing? How are you, how are you getting by? What are you doing? Because, it's difficult. It's not an idea; it's real life. And so the pure wisdom and innovation and connection and belonging that can happen from place to place. I think that's really quite powerful as well. Dayle (32:19): Have you seen some of that happen in an area -- seen different congregations working together in ways that maybe in your earlier years, you didn't see them doing quite so much? Tim (32:29): Absolutely. I think it's happening both at the neighborhood level where congregations are beginning to... If we're asking that question, I mean... To be honest, the church question of how do we make our church better is arguably a competitive question because it's like, you know, better than who? Well, these other congregations. If we are asking what is God up to, and how do we join in, that's a big, blue ocean question, and frankly you need as many friends as possible asking that question. And so at the neighborhood level, you find all kinds of collaborative opportunities and frankly it forces differentiation. It forces us to say, well, here's our tradition. Here's the gifts that we bring or here are the assets that we have. We've got a building, you don't have a building, we've got an endowment. You don't have endowment, we've got XYZ. Tim (33:18): I think that's all really healthy. And then from neighborhood to neighborhood, I think it's really powerful because even at the parish or neighborhood level, of course, we all have blind spots. And so, whether that has to do with racial makeup of a neighborhood, whether it has to do with class, whether it has to do with any number of differences, once we're embedded someplace, then I think it's really valuable for us to say, well, how do you see it? What's going on there? I mean, a very dear friend of mine -- who's now our board chair of The Parish Collective -- Jonathan Brooks is in the Southside of Chicago in Englewood. And it's, you know, 98% African-American, he is deeply rooted in the black church experience. I grew up in Wisconsin in a white evangelical, you know, small town -- pretty different places that we grew up. And frankly, South Park is a little bit more like Englewood. We live in pretty different worlds. And yet the things I'm learning from him and he's teaching us is profound and he's got things to learn as well. And so, there are blind spots that we all have, even if we're kind of very embedded within a practice within a place. And so, learning from each other and uncovering that together, I think it's really powerful and needed right now. Dayle (34:39): That's great. So the book is called Everywhere You Look, and it's very, very practical, which is really nice. And you've said that you've written it for everyday people, which I think is why it's so practical. But for the listeners who lead churches and organizations, what piece of advice would you offer to them as we're situated in this unique season of ministry? Anything you can pull from the book that you might reinterpret for today, or just sort of as a last few thoughts. Tim (35:14): Yeah. Two things. One is, there's a section in the book where I kind of borrow from some of the language of asset-based community development, which is a whole philosophy that in some ways contrasts with a more needs-based approach. Yeah. And so I think one profound practice that every pastor, leadership team can be thinking about now is, within our given area of ministry -- and I think that's really powerful, a kind of geographic context as we were just talking about. But I think it's a really great practice to begin to literally map the assets, the associations, the people, the buildings, the restaurants, the small businesses, anything that might have any kind of redemptive hope for that place, because -- pay attention to that and literally creatively writing it down, whether it's in a spreadsheet or a storyboard, or I think that's a really powerful practice to be doing together because as we begin to hopefully come out of this pandemic season, I think having the frame of not so much what's wrong, but, to borrow a phrase from a friend, what's strong is starting off on the right foot. Speaker 2 (36:30): And then, at more of a congregational change level, I think -- and this is more for I'd say clergy -- I would, if possible, begin to identify either one team or a handful of small teams, you know, eight to 10 people probably, and maybe they have a common geography, maybe not, but, if they could begin to do this together and begin to discern some practices and some way of life. I mean, very simple things like maybe they're going to walk around and pray. Maybe they're going to just meet up for prayer and ask God, what are you doing on Tuesday mornings? Maybe they're going to just share what things have been like as, you know, over this past couple of months and begin to chart out God's hopeful future. I think smaller groups that are paying attention well are going to get us where we need to go. Tim (37:24): And so that's already true within lots of congregations, it's already always broken down into smaller groups of 10, 12, 40 people. But I think that's a key leadership opportunity right now for clergy to do that either differently or do it again, is to begin to discern -- okay, again, with the perspective of asset and gift and abundance, who cares about what, what are they doing and how do I help mobilize their longing to seek God's kingdom break forth in this place and how do I be the connective tissue and bring them together and try and get them tools and resources that they can get about it. I think that helps create the momentum that we're all gonna need. Dayle (38:07): Thank you, Tim. New Speaker (38:09): Thank you, Dayle. It's good to be here. Dayle (38:13): You've been listening to The Distillery. Interviews are conducted by me, Dayle Rounds. Sushama (38:17): And me, Sushama Austin-Connor Shari (38:20): And I'm Shari Oosting. Amar (38:22): I'm Amar Peterman and I am in charge of production. New Speaker (38:25): Like what you're hearing? Subscribe at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast app. The Distillery is a production of Princeton Theological Seminary's Office of Continuing Education. You can find out more at thedistillery.ptsem.edu. Thanks for listening.  
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