Fall Leadership Gathering Reflections

by Deacon Sunni Richardson

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest
to send out laborers into his harvest.”   Matthew 9: 37-38

In the introduction to this year’s Fall Leadership Gathering, Pastor Kristen Van Stee reminded us that a  harvest always implies a gathering in…an in-gathering of the fruits of the field and the workers at the end of the day.  The gathering of the workers along with Pastor Stacey Nalean-Carlson, Martin Malley and Bishop Scott Johnson’s keynotes, workshops, worship, and the anniversary banquet provided a hearty celebration of the harvest.

For your continued pondering:

From Pastor Stacey Nalean-Carlson

+ Who are you? Who are you NOT? – John 1:6-8, 19-20

+ “People who know who they are, find it the easiest to know who they aren’t” (Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water p. 86) – John 1:21-23

+ How did John know who he was? How do we know who we are?

“Each of us tells ourselves some kind of story about who we are. Sharon Salzberg, who gave us the “internalized Lucy” language, writes. “Each of us tells ourselves some kind of story about who we are and what our life is about…How we interpret our own experiences gives rise to the narratives to which we dedicate our lives.” (Sharon Salzberg, Faith, p.1)

+ “May you learn to see yourself with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment” (Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile, The Road Back to You, p. 18- 19).

From Martin Malley

Thank you to Marty for securing a free downloadable copy of Brian McLarens book for each of us.

+ Leadership definition – “Discerning direction and inspiring the unified will to pursue it, through the development of peoples’ thinking and valuing.”

+ “But transformational leaders are like people who have climbed over the wall and seen what’s on the other side. Then, they climb back in and try to help insiders confront their biases and open their eyes, minds, and hearts to imagine and see what they have never yet seen. From there, anything can happen. The insiders they inspire might sneak over the wall themselves, escaping and never returning. Or they might organize a jailbreak and invite others to find new freedom with them. They might even help tear down that wall entirely.” (Brian McLaren Why Don’t They Get It? Overcoming Bias in Others (and ourselves). Page 54)

From Bishop Scott Johnson

Bishop Scott Johnson shared a walk through the cornfield, stats on the Nebraska Synod, program opportunities, staffing and highlights of the past year in the Nebraska Synod. He asked, “what is the church?” and had us move to The Table Talk Time with the age-old Lutheran question of “what does it mean?”. Pastor Linda Waltz responded with hope and a question for each of us. “Who do we want to become?”

Thank you to all who participated. The energy in the room was good, the silence of Taize was deep, words of encouragement and challenge were spoken and ah-ha moments were evident. Thank you to workshop leaders, musicians, decorators, planners, friendly faces and question-askers.  Using Pastor Kristen’s words, “Gathered in by the Spirit, we caught the smallest glimpse, a foretaste of the great and final harvest in-gathering that Christ has promised for all of creation at the end of time.  It is the Lord’s harvest and the Lord’s saving work.  But what joy for us to give thanks to the Lord of the harvest together as the great communion of saints!  Amen.”

The fall gathering for 2024 will be in Kearney October 21-23. Save the dates. The workers will again be gathering to celebrate the harvest.