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Conversation: Essential to Christ’s Mission – Week of January 16, 2017

We’re back with “Leading Mission Tips” — designed to help congregations find avenues for pursuing Christ’s mission in their own community. The past few weeks have been for many a swirl of activity as well as upheaval. As many congregations face conflict of one type or another, this week’s LMT will focus on the important activity of conversation.

We recall guidance from D and C 164:9b: “When your willingness to live in sacred community as Christ’s new creation exceeds your natural fear of spiritual and relational transformation, you will become who you are called to be.” (Italics are mine)

Let’s focus on that word “transformation.” Let’s define missional conversation as “a way of being in relationship that is transformational rather than transactional.”* Transactional conversation is only about getting some information passed along (for instance, “We have a potluck this Sunday.”) Transformational conversation develops relationships.

“Conversation is a process for understanding one another, our stories and God’s stories.”
“Conversation is what happens between people.”
“In order to expand our understanding, we need to hear with our hearts (with compassion) other people’s stories.”

Here is this week’s LMT exercise: Take some time (it could be after that potluck!) when people are together, and ask the group to spend 10 minutes with another person whom they do not know well. The pair takes turns being an interviewer and the person being interviewed. Here are some questions that could be used (feel free to expand on these as the conversation develops):

Where were you born, and where have you lived? Can you tell me something about your family? Where have you worked (or gone to school)? Have you enjoyed your job/school? Why or why not? What was the happiest day of your life, and why? What would you like to accomplish in the coming year? What fears do you have about 2017? What can we as a church do for Christ’s mission in 2017?

The goal is to listen with the “heart” and enter fully into the other’s experience, thus developing our relationship with another person through transformational conversation.

*Quotes are from Michigan Mission Center materials

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