If God exists, then what? This is the question that inspired Jenni Allen to begin the If discipleship movement. If:Gathering 2017 happened at the beginning of February. This weekend, we enjoyed an If:Local experience, a local version of the conference that we put on ourselves. Jill Briscoe’s talk really stands out for her challenge to continue denying ourselves and carrying our cross “all the way home.” It was a wake up to us that we very easily lay down the cross that Jesus carried all the way to hell and back for us. Perhaps the word that is still resonating for many of us came from Kate Merrick who shared her story of figuring out how to serve God after their daughter died of cancer. She said that when she starting in ministry it was because she loved Jesus. She says that since her daughter died she continues in ministry because Jesus loves her.
The day laid before us the calling to be disciples that make disciples. There were tips and ideas. All of it, however, was surrounded by the invitation to know that God loves us-deeply, profoundly, faithfully, everlastingly, steadfastly. We listened more than we spoke. We invited God to show us more of Him.
And, as a fitting end to the day, our families and friends joined us for an agape supper. Around the table we received the true food and true drink Jesus provides.
My final reflection on the day was how blessed by God I am to be travelling with women, younger and older than me, who want to go deeper in their discipleship. I am especially grateful that we have given each other access to see the real person so that we can call out growth in each other’s lives. We are learning loving invitation and challenge so that we might all come to be more and more like Christ.
All being well we will host another If:Local in the early Spring for those who missed this past weekend. Watch for the dates!