Yesterday, Dawn and I had the privilege of attending the Anti Racism training hosted by our annual conference. While I don’t enjoy two days of sitting for 8 hours straight, the content was/is invaluable. Several things were things we’ve thought about over the past 13 years as a church, but several things were new to our understanding.

Learning definitions of things like bias, prejudice, racism, power, etc., have been awakening. It reminded me of how when the George Floyd shooting happened, and we had some panels and guest speakers, a few folks (who no longer go to West or read our publications) very verbally shared that we were “talking about it too much.”

Is there a “too much” when folks suffer at the hands of others? Especially when we are in the “business” of loving all people to the point of sacrificing ourselves?

Because I knew the last part of the week would be spent in training, I took Monday and Tuesday to be sequestered as I studied for the Lenten message series. We are going to do a deep dive into the life and ministry of Jesus. Looking at how he was a viral influencer, and how his influence can carry on still today if others allow it to,

What does that mean? If others allow it to.

It means it is up to us, how we live, how we influence, as to whether or not that mission stays viral.

In a book by Ron Heifitz, we are told the role of a leader is to give a clear vision of how the world is to their followers. There is no candy coating. No idealism. Simply – reality. “This is how it is.”

But the role of a leader is also to help the followers give voice to “this is how the world could/should be.”

Then – it is up to us to fill the gap.

So that’s the question I have for you today. I really invite you, at some point today or over the next few days, to ponder that question.

“What should/could our world be?” And how would Jesus answer that question? Do the two answers align?

Our role as a church is to fill in the gap. I have some ideas (shocker) of how the world could be, but I’d love you to have some thoughts around that as well. Then, we will fill in the gap together.

Grace and Peace,