Survived the first week of an online experience at fuller for the doctor of ministry program. This online experience is very unique. I’ve never participated in something like this in that as a class we interact through a chat board if you will. The papers I write are uploaded to a “drop box” and if I need to chat with the professors I send them an email through the message system set up in my “virtual” class room. The cool thing is that you can even track your grades for assignments. Very cool. In many ways its a global community of followers of Jesus trying to make a difference in the kingdom of God. This week our readings are from Nouwen’s, “In the Name of Jesus,” and Bonhoeffer’s, “Life Together.”
Community is vital to me. It has always been a desire of my heart to live amongst friends. When I was involved early on in my ministry as a youth worker and as a wannabe collegian I participated on two occasions in a community of friends who lived in community serving a local neighborhood near our church. It was one the most powerful experiences of what community should be as the church. It was an honor to serve Christ, but the honor came from being with friends who were like minded and who desired a more intimate relationship with the Lord. Bonhoeffer’s opening line in his book summarizes the importance of followers of Jesus living together as “friends”, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Ps. 133:1 In community I find restoration for the soul. Forgiveness and grace. In community I come broken ready for God to change me, and in community I find with friends a desire to go back into the world and into the neighborhoods around us with the same message we found together living in community. Hope. And the cool thing about my call to serve Christ as a pastor??? The church is my community of friends and we together represent to the world what it means to follow Jesus and we get to represent what the kingdom of God here on earth should be and should look like.