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Learning to Lead from the Margins

Posted on August 13th, 2013

We need a radically different kind of spiritual formation of leaders in the 21st century. Rosy Kandithal, an assistant pastor/contemplative artist on our New Life staff team, is taking a year to learn at a monastery in Wisconsin. Why? To deepen her being and her roots in Jesus, to learn hiddenness with God, to learn to pray. She is going to learn Christian leadership from the margins. Scott Sunquist, Dean of Fuller’s School of Intercultural Ministry and one of the great historians of global church history of our day, writes:”from the fourth to the fifteenth centuries, Christian mission was kept alive not from the ecclesial center, but from them margins…The rise of monasticism was in part a missional renewal movement: to tear the church away from its early captivity to worldly power and riches.” In the famous School of the Persians at Nisibis, for example, over a thousand students lived in monastic cells. Trained in Bible and exegesis, they wandered throughout Asia and were known to have arrived in China in 635 AD where they translated the Scriptures into Chinese. Basil (4th century) moved monastic houses near cities so the monks and nuns could go outside their walls and serve the poor and needy. The Celts developed a powerful monastic movement with a missionary focus that transformed Ireland, Scotland, along with parts of England and Europe. I was fortunate to attend three excellent theological seminaries over the years. Yet I am headed tomorrow, once again, for a four-day retreat to live and learn with a community of Trappist monks, 60 men who very much live on the margins. And I am not alone among leaders today making such retreats. What might the Spirit be stirring in our day, at the margins, that we are not seeing?

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Church Culture Revolution: A 6-Part Vision That Deeply Changes Lives