Feb
24

Symphony for the Soul

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Symphony for the Soul (An introduction to Pastor Jons Doctoral Project)

A life attuned to the soundtrack of the Gospel

This past May I began a Doctor of Ministry program at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. Twice a year (May & January) for the next three years, I will be spending a week with a group of 20 other pastors from several denominations across the US. The doctoral program is entitled: Holy Presence: Eugene Peterson and the Pastoral Imagination. It focuses on developing healthy pastors growing in our ability to pastor well. Far from some theoretical or academic pursuit, this program focuses on pastoring in and with our congregations in our current contexts. To this end my project proposal fully integrates Peace’s core values, mission, and vision statements.

That we live in a world which does not often recognize Jesus Christ, is nothing new under the sun. Many who lived during Jesus earthly walk did not recognize Him either. Never-the-less I believe, as the body of Christ for our time and place, we are called to be a people whose lives are so attuned to the soundtrack of the Gospel permeating all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, that others will come to know Jesus as they come to know us.

My project proposal is entitled Symphony for the Soul: a life attuned to the soundtrack of the Gospel. A symphony often has four movements, each with distinct elements, yet a unifying melody. The proposed project consists of taking an ensemble of 10-12 people from Peace through four movements over the course of four seasons beginning the summer of 2022. With God as the composer, Jesus as the conductor, the Holy Spirit our inspiration, and the Bible the primary score, each movement will focus on a primary element of Christian life which helps us individually and communally better tune in to the beautiful music of the Gospel. Each movement will involve a weekend away to introduce the particular movement, and then regular gatherings to put them into practice.

Summer will focus on encountering God’s Word through playful worship. Focusing on the account of Zaccheus in Luke 19, we will engage in weekly gatherings which will help us more readily recognize the God who is always with us. We will engage in practices of journaling, praying the Psalms, and various forms of worshipping with one another.

Fall will be about encountering God’s Love through curious contemplation. While continuing the practices we engaged in during the summer, we will move into discovering some ancient spiritual practices which will be a ‘tool box’ for the soul which can be used when needed.

Winter’s focus is encountering God’s Call through communal imagination. This third movement of the symphony is often referred to as a minuet, a dance of sorts which describes a rhythm of how God calls and sends us as the body of Christ. We will imagine some of what it means for God who works in us to will and work for His good pleasure. We will seek to answer two primary questions: “With whom is God gathering us?” and “To whom is God sending us?”

Spring will emerge with encountering God’s People as a missional community. We emerge in this final movement sent into the world, joyfully sharing God’s Word and the Peace of Jesus Christ.

I am excited to encounter Jesus with you, to discover how these seasons ahead may be a way God effects our entire congregation and to enrich and transform lives across the prairie corridor.  If this is music to your ears, or if you would like to know more, perhaps God is calling you to join in this symphony for the soul. Please contact me for more information.

Pastor Jon