Finding Wilderness

“Hoods in the woods”.

When I read this phrase in Todd Wynward’s book, “Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow an Untamed God”, I became immediately uncomfortable. In light of the racial violence that has been inundating the news lately, I felt a visceral reaction to the euphemistic labelling of “at-risk” young men as “hoods”: an objectification and a reduction of their identity to a piece of clothing.

Although still simmering from the thought of this phrase, Todd’s next statement stopped me in my tracks. “After thirty years of working as a wilderness guide, I’ve realized something: my friends, we’re all at-risk individuals in need of character change” (pp. 38).

When I read academic texts, I tend to do so dissociatively. It is easy to wrestle with new ideas in an abstract sense. I collect words like affluenza and watershed discipleship for my intellectual repertoire, hoping that I will be able to demonstrate my creation care fluency in conversation. Completely distracted by this approach, I had failed to see the direct application that this statement could have for my life. Todd isn’t contending that only “hoods” need a strengthening wilderness experience… he’s saying that we all do.

Todd “rewilded” the concept completely; in fact, the theme of rewilding permeates every page of this prophetic book. Hackneyed concepts are given new life. Words that feel stale are revamped to be relevant to the people alive today.

Oftentimes, we “Millennials” are pegged as apathetic, but Todd quotes Kurt Hahn when he asserts that re-creating healthy young adults leads to a re-creation of society as a whole. Rather than perpetuating disenfranchising language, Todd offered empowering challenges. The book has the capacity to inspire us to break free from our “tame” (read: passive) lifestyles to follow an age-old God in fresh, climate-conscious ways.

As affluent Americans, we live in a constant state of stress. We carry our smartphones in our pockets, accessible at a moment’s notice. The device that allows constant contact with the world also shackles us to our myriad responsibilities: work emails, twitter tags, deadlines, and a constantly updating news feed. “We remain shackled to the comforts of empire,” Todd confesses.

“Yet,” he continues, “an encounter with God in uncolonized wilderness lies waiting at the edge of our culture” (pp. 43). God is accessible, we just have to make ourselves vulnerable: to strip ourselves of modern comforts and find our strength through being tested.

In my life, I have found a little piece of wilderness. As a runner, I spend many miles alone in nature each week. When I run, the words that reverberate through my head melt away. I exist, for minutes here and there, without my conscious mind: aware only of my feet pounding to the holy rhythm of silence. In these moments, I feel overwhelming wholeness. My legs ache and my lung burn; I am exhausted, but I am free. Here lies my testing ground, however small.

At the end of a run, I lie on the ground. My heart beats against the dirt. In my delusional, post-run haze, the Earth feels alive. This is how I connect to the world; this is how I connect to God.

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What I hope for myself, as I take steps toward mature adulthood, is that I never fall prey to the pressures of this world to secure a safe future at the expense of experiencing the vastness of God’s kingdom. “We must step out of business as usual, step into the wild, and become a different kind of human” (pp. 43).

As I continue to seek the courage to follow an untamed God into the wilderness, I pray that you, too, find your own untamed path.

 

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Hannah Chappell-Dick is a senior at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is a Biology major who runs cross country and track for the Royals. Hannah coaches a kids’ track club, is active with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and serves on EMU’s Presidential Search Committee. She attends Shalom Mennonite Church.

 

Soil: The Source Of Life Under Our Feet

Confession: I am a trying to come to terms with my dual identity as a farmboy and a pastor. I left the farm to follow a call to ministry, and now having lived in an urban context for over 10 years, I feel the call to combine these identities and not deny either of them. Rewilding the Way has helped me explore the value of creation as a context for congregational ministry.

I appreciate Todd Wynward’s call to us to connect with the area God has placed us. This means that we cannot live beyond our ecological means. Are our habits and lifestyles sustainable within the geographical area God has placed us? Is the food we crave in the middle of winter a good choice for the earth, or just the desire of our taste buds? Todd, through personal experience and through engaging the Bible, knows the value of the wilderness. It causes us to stop, to reflect, to trust God in new ways, to be adventurous, to form new habits, and to realize that we are part of nature and that our lives are intimately wrapped up in God’s creation.

This past fall, as one of the options for an intergenerational Wednesday night at church, I set up a Sacred Space that focused on God the Creator. Imagine a room filled with various stations for prayer, worship, activity, and reflection. There were stations on water, beauty, rest, dwellings, creativity, …and my favorite one was the one about soil.

Soil is an amazing substance filled with the basic elements of life and microorganisms that make soil a healthy living thing. Soil is not dirt (don’t get me started on the misuse of those terms). As Christians, we know that the soil is God’s chosen medium for creation. Soil is also an object lesson about our Christian hope of resurrection. Soil is the place that takes death and decay into itself and turns it into something new, new life and a new creation. Norman Wirzba and Fred Bahnson say it so well in their book Making Peace with the Land, “We have to wonder what we’re missing when we’ve so arranged our world that we don’t need to know where our food or the energy we heat our homes or our clothing comes from.”

Back to the sacred space focused on God the Creator. Imagine a parent and child both with their hands in a pot of soil reading these passages together.

“Then the Lord God formed a man (Hebrew word adam) from the dust of the ground (Hebrew word adamah), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;” – Genesis 2:7

“Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food,” – Genesis 2:9

“So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air,” – Genesis 2:19

“For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other…. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.” -Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

As Christians, as churches, as Mennonites who are only a generation or two off the farm, we must reimagine our place in God’s creation, and put some mystery back in the soil and the place God has called us. The rest will grow from there.

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Daniel Yoder is a Pastor of Christian Formation at College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana. He is a graduate of Hesston College and Tabor College and is currently a student at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He and his wife Talashia live in the southern “suburbs” of Goshen where they are raising their 2 boys, 14 chickens, and 12 different kinds of fruit.

 

 

 

 

Webinar with Todd Wynward

On January 12, The Gathering Place had the pleasure of talking and learning with Todd Wynward, author of the book, Rewilding The Way: Break Free To Follow An Untamed God (Herald Press, 2015).  In this webinar, Todd invited us to reflect and consider, “What type of prophetic people might we be in this day and age?  What identifies us as economically different than others in society, as Christians? And can we do this while we are so intertwined with the ’empire’ of our current culture?”

Not everyone can move into a cave and engage in monastic living, but there is something that the ‘wilderness’ offers us who desperately seek for something…more…in our faith and life.  Going into the ‘wilderness’ or separating ourselves for periods of time enables us to listen to the voice of God more clearly.

Living forever in a wilderness, removed from the world, for most of us is not a viable option.  But, what might a liturgical wilderness look like (before worship or community gathering, drop keys/phone in bowl) or Sabbath for periods of time from technology or being busy, or the need to be ‘useful.’?  Because it all comes down to this:

What are we to do with the time we’ve been given?  What are we going to do with the resources we’ve been given?

As Christians, how are we rewinding and rewilding our lives, to reflect on who God is calling us to be in this day and age–not just to get swept away with life simply because ‘everyone else is doing it’? What if we were positioned at this time to transition our youth to a more integrated way of living and faith and culture?

Is it time to become wild again?

Thanks, Todd. We look forward to hearing your prophetic voice more in the days to come. AND…if you are looking for a time to unwind, to reconsider and reimagine who you are and what you are being called to, consider joining our Wilderness Trek, a spiritual pilgrimage that Todd with lead in Taos, NM, July 1-8, $395. Sign up today! Space is limited.

Let’s Get Going

Do you love Jesus, but you’re leery of what institutional Christianity has become? Me too. Are you eager to redirect a consumer-frenzied culture gone terribly awry? So am I. Ready to become the earth-honoring, untamed people God yearns for us to be?

Then let’s get going.

My book Rewilding the Way [2015] is an unapologetic rallying cry to revive a Christianity that has become terribly tame. Can today’s cozy Christians become the countercultural prophets God aches for to be? Will we repent—turn around to God—and be able to vitally embody the subversive and transformative lifeway that Jesus practiced and offered? Raised in our over-civilized and ecocidal society, what traits must we rediscover to be partners in God’s plan, so that instead of being anxious foot-draggers and bland bystanders we can be salt, light, and leaven in a future where God mightily uses our gifts?

During our webinar in January, I intend to share about our current predicament and our incredible potential as children of God, and the testing that has always been God’s way to craft a transformed people.

For this webinar, I’m wondering: how do we rewild youth groups and faith communities? As leaders of youth responsible for spiritual development, what kind of personal or communal “experiments in living” can we foster? For several years it has been my passion to discover groups in America who are exercising their cultural muscles to live creatively:  wilderness trek wanderers, watershed discipleship movements, communitarian economics, bioregional food covenants, voluntary gas tax clubs, “Have 2 / Give 1” giveaway groups, permaculture blitzes, cohousing , and carnival communities of creative resistance.

During this webinar I hope to pursue how we might engage our communities to become deeper allies of God: more love-spreading, culture-defying, fear-abolishing, earth-honoring followers of the Jesus Way. I’ll be noting some of the highlights I see in our society today: some of the Spirit-filled cultural initiatives and social movements that are already shifting our society toward a positive future in an uncertain time.rwcs highlights 022

Join us in tomorrow, if you are willing to be transformed and become one who transforms. The road is long and there are no maps. Together we have a journey of doing and undoing to begin. Remember that we follow a ferociously loving and fantastically living God, whose unbound Spirit is always present and active, ready to lead us even in the most troubling of times.

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May the wild return.

 

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Todd Wynward is a public school founder, wilderness educator and Mennonite organizer for watershed discipleship who lives with his family in Taos, NM. His new book, Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow an Untamed God, will be published in Fall 2015 by Herald Press. More of his writings and doings can be found at his Author Page on Facebook, rewildingtheway.com and at TaosTiLT.org.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking For An Adventure in 2016?

Are you looking for an adventure in 2016?

If you are ready to dig deep, both inwardly and outwardly, reach limits you never thought possible, and encounter a God that is far greater than you ever expected, then join The Gathering Place’s Wilderness Trek, led by author, educator, and wilderness guide, Todd Wynward for a life-changing experience.

Rewilding the Way Wilderness Trek    

Location:  Taos, NM    

Dates:  July 1-9 2016

Cost:  $395/person

Customized for physically active adults working in youth ministry

Email:  rachelg@mennoniteusa.org for more info!

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How did Christianity become so tame, and how do we reboot to become the transformative and prophetic disciples we need to be? In our era of wild possibility amidst unprecedented environmental and economic crisis, how shall we teach and embody the counter-cultural way of Jesus? Come dive into the rivers and mountains of New Mexico’s high country with Todd Wynward—author, wilderness guide, innovative school founder and Mennonite minister for watershed discipleship—for a week of transformative experiential education and adult spiritual formation.

This week is not merely some conference or intellectual exercise, but rather a training ground for earth-honoring spiritual warriors. Immerse deeply into the themes of Wynward’s book Rewilding the Way with your whole being: highlights include whitewater rafting, peak ascents, blind rock scrambling, daily sunrise prayer, an overnight wilderness solo, personal manifesto-making, and biblical analysis in all types of wild places–all designed to open radically new possibilities for you and the youth you lead.

Outcomes: Together we’ll gain powerful tools to break free of dominant culture, find a truer sense of ourselves, and start to become the joyful, prophetic, culture-changing people our untamed God yearns for us to be.

Want more info?  Here are the details:

Rewilding the Way Taos Wilderness Trek 

July 1-9, 2016 Taos, NM

Peak ascents, wilderness camping, off-trail backpacking, and whitewater boating in NM’s high country. Guided by Todd Wynward, for adventurous, active persons 19 and older.

 

Cost: $395. This includes all food, group outdoor equipment, supplies, staffing, lodging, and vehicle transport during the trip. You won’t find a bargain like this for guided wilderness trips!

 

What you need to take care of:  Transport to and from trip site and your personal outdoor gear. Before you go out and buy tons of stuff, know that we have a lot of personal outdoor gear to borrow—like rain gear, warm layers, backpacks, and life jackets [personal gear list comes when you register].

 

Getting here: We will begin and end the trek in Lama, NM, a tiny rural mountain community 20 minutes north of Taos. The site is roughly 3 hours by car from Albuquerque, 2 hours from the Lamy [Santa Fe] train station. and 5 hours from Denver.  We might be able to help you arrange your final leg of transportation if coming from Albuquerque or Santa Fe. Remember it takes a while to get to wild places out here in the mountain west, so plan accordingly.

 

Trek Activities: We will use our camp and school in Lama as a starting point to pack food and equipment, do some orientation, inspect and issue gear, and teach some skills. From there we’ll jump into the high country and will spend most of our time backpacking in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, averaging about 4 miles a day, staying between 8-12,000 feet with a few peak ascents. Reflective experiences will include scripture study, meaty conversations, journal writing and an overnight solo. Toward the end of our trip we will plunge down into the Rio Grande Gorge for a day and a half, camping at the river and then boating about 9 miles of class I-II water. Finally, we’ll  conclude with a celebration and a cozy campfire.

 

Registering: Your completed registration slip below and $100 deposit check secures your spot. Registration will be done on a first-come, first-served basis, up to a maximum of 20 people.  Deposit is refundable up until May 15. Trip must have a minimum of 6 paying participants committed by May 15 to be a go. Once you register with a $100 deposit, we will send you many forms: specific trip itinerary, medical form, acknowledgement of risk form, and detailed personal gear list. Full trip payment due by May 15, so we can purchase food, secure staff, and all that good stuff.

 

Please print off this post, complete form below, include a $100 check made out to Todd Wynward. Mail both back to Todd Wynward at 215 La Posta Rd, Taos NM 87571.

 A complete packet of course material will be emailed to you soon, and we’ll get started!

 

Questions? contact toddwynward@gmail.com

– – – – – – – cut n mail! – – – – – – – – –

Name:

Email:

Phone:

Mailing address:

Comments/questions/concerns/special needs Todd should know about:

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Space is limited to 10-12. Inquire today!

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Todd Wynward is a wilderness guide who has spent more than one thousand nights outdoors.  The founder of a wilderness-based public charter school, Wynward is also licensed for special ministry in Mountain States Mennonite Conference.  He lives with his wife and son in an intentional community in New Mexico.

“In Rewilding the Way, Wynward offers wild hope for a tame world. If you are yearning for an earth-honoring, despair-crushing, culture-resisting, Jesus-following response to the crises of our times, look no further: make this book a part of your life.” –Richard RohrRewilding cover

Rewilding The Way

Want to hear a secret most of us know but rarely admit? The good life in modern society really isn’t so good. In fact, these days it often feels exhausting. Frantic. Broken. Headed for a cliff. Actually, why is it called “the good life” when it’s so often a stress-inducing, resource-hogging, soul-deadening, never-ending pursuit of more? What once was good—personal advancement, increased consumer choices, and technological progress—has gone haywire. For all its glittering perks, the current version of “the good life” often feels suffocating: to ourselves, other people, and the planet.

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Millions of Christians today know we are shackled to earth-ruining, life-sucking systems—like an economy based on producing plastics, burning coal, driving cars, and ripping resources out of the ground. Because we depend upon these systems, we act in ways we know are not best for ourselves and the wondrous planet we depend upon. Fast food, cheap oil, chronic debt, and constant pressure are only some of the slippery cultural cages that hold us captive. Bottom line: Far too many followers of Jesus have been constrained and colonized by corporations. We’ve become their tamed and well-fed pets. And we willingly let it happen, every day, through the choices we continue to make. I know I do. We let our very identities be domesticated by a dominant and destructive consumer culture.

Enough is enough. Our ever-patient God, our younger generations, and our aching planet need us to find a better path. It’s time to break from dominant culture to become the free and untamed people God has always wanted us to be.  Many of us are waking up to realize our current version of the American Way—a path of strength, superiority, and self-centeredness—is often opposed to the Jesus Way. We’re rethinking everything. We’re seeing that the modern “American Dream”—ensuring personal privilege by raiding the commonwealth of the planet—is not nearly as satisfying or significant as God’s dream. Millions of folks seeking to follow the way of Jesus in the shadow of modern culture are—in ways both small and large—defecting from business as usual. We’re beginning to ask: what kind of a better “good life” can we embody in today’s times—one that is better for us and our world?

Making a Break

Fifteen years ago, my wife and I acted on that question. What kind of a better “good life” did we embody? We moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico, into a little adobe house, heated by a wood-burning stove, high up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Taos. There we raised our son, ran a summer camp, and started an innovative public school that uses the surrounding farm and wilderness as its classroom. We dove headlong into transformative work with youth and the task of reinventing public education. It was an amazing life, full of close friendships, meaningful labor, inspiring breakthroughs, and incredible natural settings. It was also exhausting. For those ten years we worked extremely hard with little time for anything else, which meant we were still deeply engaged in the American Way, purchasing and consuming and throwing away far more stuff than any generation before us.

Five years ago, we made another significant shift. We decided to engage deeper with our watershed in our search for a better practice of the good life. We reduced our work demands a bit and relocated into a yurt we built in our backyard. With some like-minded friends we milk goats, shear sheep, plant trees, catch water, and try to grow a lot of our food in the high desert. More than once we have been called “feral.” Once a citified visitor from Philadelphia giggled in awe when she entered our thirty-foot diameter yurt, and she immediately started snapping photos. She simply couldn’t believe we use a composting toilet and carry water by hand in buckets, like millions of people across the world.

If you’re daunted by our example, don’t be. We’re pretenders. Yes, we’ve cultivated a slightly parallel existence, but don’t be fooled: we’re still embedded in American consumer culture. My family has a laptop per person, too many cars, a cappuccino maker, cell phones and a need for Netflix. We take our son to soccer  in a Prius and trek quite often to Trader Joe’s. Though we dabble with homesteading in the high desert, we’re still embedded in the economy of empire, deeply conforming to the system.

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Like us, you too might be deeply enmeshed in the very systems we need to transform. Lucky for us, we follow a God of mercy who ever invites us to take another step deeper into the Way. As the poet Rumi invites: “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Our wildly loving and extravagantly forgiving God knows our inconsistent hearts, and asks us to take another stumbling step into the Kingdom. But I’m not going to lie: we’ve got some creative and courageous work ahead of us. As leaders of youth, our call is urgent, clear and adventurous: how do we help our communities reinvent our American Way so we can better follow the Jesus Way? This “rewilding” of the Way is the task of our time.

Let’s pursue it together!

(Sign up to listen and talk with Todd live at our webinar on 1/12 at 2pm EST)

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Todd Wynward is licensed for watershed ministry in Mountain States Mennonite Conference, and is also a wilderness guide who has spent more than one thousand nights outdoors.  The founder of a wilderness-based public charter school, Wynward lives with his wife and son in an intentional community in New Mexico, and is the author of the new Herald Press book, Rewilding the Way: Break free to follow an untamed God (2015).

January Study Circle

This month we will be reading together, “Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow An Untamed God” by Todd Wynward.

Rewilding cover

Why has the ‘good life’ come to mean screens and status, fossil fuels and financial fitness?  Can we break free to become the joyful and prophetic people God calls us to be? Trek along with wilderness guide Todd Wynward as he rewilds the Jesus Way. Do you despair about life on our changing planet?  Join the hopeful band of God-seekers and change-makers who are rewilding the Way.

When:  Tuesday, 1/26, 8pm EST.  Sign up now.

As if you need the endorsements…but here are a few incredible ones.

“I read a lot of good books.  But seldom have I read a book that inspired me as much as Rewilding the Way.  It is important, meaningful–and so beautifully written.”
~Brian D. McLaren, author and activist

“Wynward offers wild hope for a tame world.  If you are yearning for an earth-honoring, despair-crushing, culture-resisting, Jesus-following response to the crisis of our times, look no further: make this book a part of your life.”
~Richard Rohr, founder of Center for Action and Contemplation

You really don’t want to miss out on this incredible read.

See you on the 26th!

January Theme

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Do you love Jesus, but are you (or people you love) leery of what institutional Christianity has become?  Trust me, you aren’t alone.  Statistics show that around one third of millennials (born after 1980 to early 2000s) are unaffiliated with any faith. But why?

There are countless hunches to this decline, but it all seems to boil down to an aspect of this point–the Church isn’t giving them a reason to stay. In essence, our Americanized Christianity has become tame, and left us longing for more. As Todd Wynward writes in his book, Rewilding the Way, “We’ve become like domestic house pets, tamed by the twin masters of nonstop technology and comfy consumerism.  How we who follow the Way of Jesus choose to act right now–in this watershed moment of history–matters more now than ever” (p.11).

Friends, the time is now.  The time is now to reclaim our ‘wildness’ for God, and to break free from this cultural stupor we are in, to awaken and become the counter-cultural prophets God aches for us to be.

This month on The Gathering Place, we will asking tough questions naming our current reality and commit to journey together into these places for our sake and for the sake of the world.  Join us this month if you are willing to be transformed and become one who transforms.

For the road is long and there are no maps.  Together we have a journey of doing and undoing to begin. Join in the webinar, study circle, intentional small group, or listen to a podcast to begin this journey together.  Read about what’s happening on The Gathering Place this month and sign up below.

May the wild return.

~Rachel

  • Webinar: “Rewilding The Way” with Todd Wynward live from Taos, NM

photo (3)Ancient desert prophets. Modern archaelogical discoveries. Age-old Christian schools of creative cultural defiance crafted in the wilderness. Could it be today’s tame Christianity is missing something vital? Could it be that spending time in wild places, unshackled from the comforts and constraints of dominant culture, is a necessary prerequisite to become the people God yearns for us to be? Is it time for us to become a new kind of humanity? What does this mean in how we work with youth? Join educator and wilderness leader Todd Wynward in this webinar that explores radically different ways to provide the spiritual formation needed to face today’s uncertain economic and environmental challenges.

When: January 12, 2pm EST. Sign up now.

Todd Wynward is licensed for watershed ministry in Mountain States Mennonite Conference, and is also a wilderness guide who has spent more than one thousand nights outdoors.  The founder of a wilderness-based public charter school, Wynward lives with his wife and son in an intentional community in New Mexico, and is the author of the new Herald Press book, Rewilding the Way: Break free to follow an untamed God (2015).

 

  • Study Circle“Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow An Untamed God” by Todd Wynward

Rewilding cover

Why has the ‘good life’ come to mean screens and status, fossil fuels and financial fitness?  Can we break free to become the joyful and prophetic people God calls us to be? Trek along with wilderness guide Todd Wynward as he rewilds the Jesus Way. Do you despair about life on our changing planet?  Join the hopeful band of God-seekers and change-makers who are rewilding the Way.

When:  Tuesday, 1/26, 8pm EST.  Sign up now.

 

In addition to our usual webinar and study circle for the month, I’m thrilled to announce that The Gathering Place is expanding in scope and vision and is offering a few new opportunities to connect in 2016!

  •  *INTENTIONAL SHORT-TERM SMALL GROUP* Scott Roth, long time youth minister and community minister, will be leading an intentional small group for folks who long to do something different in their ministry called Building Tomorrowland.  building tomorrowlandWe are looking for people who sense that the game has changed. We can’t just turn on the lights, break out the pizza, and expect the youth to show up. It’s work. But if you believe the building up of our youth is worth it, but aren’t sure how to take your ministry to the next level, let’s talk. Brick by brick, let’s do this together. Because this we know for sure–we need to build together.  Building Tomorrowland is looking for a few people to commit themselves for one hour each month (January-May) to dig deep and listen together to the Spirit’s call in this day and age. Do you long for more in your work? Sign up here, by January 20, space is limited.

 

  • *NEW PODCAST*  Lesley and Caleb Francisco McClendon are starting 2016 off right by doing an exclusive podcast broadcast for The Gathering Place called, “All About YOU(th)”!  Each month the McClendons will bring you a word of encouragement for your leadership, talk about youth ministry trends, lingo and fads, social media training, and much more!
This podcast will not be live–but will be posted the week of January 20! Be looking for it!lesley and caleb

Caleb and Lesley are pastors for E.P.I.C. youth ministry at C3 in Hampton, Virginia. They love all age ranges and seeks to live by the mantra: Love God Completely, Love Yourself Correctly, and Love Others Compassionately.

 

  • *TRIP ALERT!*  Inspired by this month’s theme? Then pack your bag, we are heading WEST!

    Rewilding the Way Wilderness Trek     Taos, NM     July 1-9 2016

    Customized for physically active adults working in youth ministry

    The Gathering Place is going LIVE!  Come dive into the rivers and mountains of New Mexico’s high country with Todd Wynward for a week of transformative experiential education and adult spiritual formation. This week is not merely some conference or intellectual exercise, but rather a training ground for earth-honoring spiritual warriors. Immerse deeply into the themes of Wynward’s book Rewilding the Way with your whole being: highlights include whitewater rafting, peak ascents, blind rock scrambling, daily sunrise prayer, an overnight wilderness solo, personal manifesto-making, and biblical analysis in all types of wild places–all designed to open radically new possibilities for you and the youth you lead. Together we’ll gain powerful tools to break free of dominant culture, find a truer sense of ourselves, and start to become the joyful, prophetic, culture-changing people our untamed God yearns for us to be.
    wd1July 1-9, 2016, $395, Taos, NM. 

    Learn more here.

Space limited to group of 10-12. Contact Rachel by Feb. 15 if interested.

As always, the greatest gift you can give to The Gathering Place is to spread the word in your communities and networks about the events and resourcing that is available here.  Although we bend towards youth ministry, our work is deeply rooted in faith formation of our Mennonite leaders (both clergy and lay) and our conversations are open to all who are interested in the topic at hand. Please share in your social media networks, your area conferences, and congregations.  Together, let’s make this resource available to all who desire to connect.