A Word From ACTS XXIX ...

Almost everyone involved in parish work is painfully aware that something is broken. Priests and lay leaders are often exhausted, discouraged, overworked, and spend much of the day putting out fires and playing “whack-a-mole.” These realities contribute to staff tension, dysfunction, and little time or energy to make the changes that can bring about great transformation because fires continue to rage around them. We know this. We’ve been there. And we were blessed to experience God do something that changed everything for us. 

ACTS XXIX is small team of itinerant missionaries, who partner with pastors and their teams to help address this crisis that we know so well first-hand. We don’t claim to have the answer to the crisis. But we do have some answers from the work God has graciously allowed us to be a part of in renewing a parish. We are convinced this culture change can happen anywhere. Paul says freely we have received, so freely we are to give. It is our conviction that what God did in us was not simply for us, but for others who find themselves in a similar place. We eagerly desire others to experience the same transformation, hope and encouragement the Holy Spirit brought about in us.

We have been wonderfully overwhelmed by the response we have received in these first few months since we launched. We are grateful for the many people who have reached out to tell us that they are praying for us, supporting us, and wanting to partner with us. 

We have been fervently seeking the Lord, discerning what He is asking of us, given the fact that the requests are far beyond our capacity. We believe He has shown us that the blueprint for the way forward is to go to those places where the bishop invites us to work with his entire presbyterate and other parish leaders. This allows us to share with them our vision for parish renewal. From there, we identify a small number of parishes in that diocese to accompany. We anticipate that this work will result in pastors and teams eager to support their peers in the work of parish renewal within their diocese.  

Our mission is comprised not of offering programs but is instead guided by what we call  three essential principles for parish renewal. Each of these principles requires extraordinary effort but reaps extraordinary transformation.

A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW

The first essential principle is acquiring a biblical worldview. This worldview, which comes from Scripture and Tradition, enables us to accurately see God and His relationship to the world He created, loves, and has rescued in the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s imperative to get this worldview correct. It’s imperative to understand that even now—regardless of how it appears in the Church, our world, and our country—Jesus is truly Lord and that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. To prayerfully soak in this worldview is to experience profound healing on countless levels, brings great confidence in the power of the gospel, and is restorative for priests and the people they serve. Ultimately, to soak in this worldview is to be overwhelmed by our true identity and to experience the satisfaction that is the deepest desire of the human heart: to be loved.

GOD IS THE ARCHITECT

The third essential principle (we know, we skipped one...we’ll come back to that in a moment), flows from this biblical worldview. Recognizing the absolute primacy of prayer, this principle involves walking with you to discern what and how God, the Master Architect, is asking you to build. God already has a blueprint for every parish and our work isn’t so much to create something on our own, but to prayerfully discern that blueprint. We find passages like Psalm 127 and the instructions to Moses in Exodus to “build according to the pattern” God shows him to be very appropriate here. This ensures that a parish won’t simply replicate what they have seen work at another parish.

STAFF → TEAM → FAMILY

In order to prayerfully discern and construct God’s “blueprint” for your parish, a pastor and his staff must transition from being merely a staff to a healthy team and ultimately a family. This is the second essential principle. To be sure, this requires an enormous investment of time, work, and energy, but it’s worth it! We draw heavily on the excellent insight of Pat Lencioni and his work around organizational health. We are convinced that without this work, it’s not possible for a parish to be all that God intends it to be.

 

For a listing of those locations where we will be ministering, please refer to the “Events” tab on our website. In the meantime, we are creating podcasts to share various insights that have helped us better grasp a biblical worldview, organizational health, and thoughts for discerning God’s blueprint for your parish so that as many people as possible can benefit from these essential principles. 

We pray daily for the renewal of the Church in the United States and for you. Please pray for us. 

ACTS XXIX Team