Enact the Next Faith Step

For this last act of VocationCARE we have integrated the human-centered design process created by IDEO, a well-known product design company in Silicon Valley. Small groups brainstorm ideas for action, then refine those ideas, and then choose one idea that embodies what they can and will implement in their local context. Each team leaves with an implementation plan and the energy and enthusiasm to enact their next faithful steps.

This practice is the culmination of our prior engagements of creating/acknowledging sacred space and presence, sharing and holding our stories with care and reflecting on the impact of our shared stories for our lives together.  In this practice, we cultivate the discipline of thinking like designers.  We are preparing for and building into a future that is informed by hope and by the energy and power of our acting together in the Spirit.

As we know from the changes that churches are undergoing right now, a different kind of vision for mission is called for.  New forms of discipleship are required that leads the church further and more hospitably into the everyday of the human condition.  This will inevitably place the church at intersections of great human need where considerable attention to cultural context is necessary, not least in responding to those of other religious traditions or to those who have no grounding in any religious or spiritual tradition.   We are called not just to wait upon the Spirit’s leading but to boldly embody that Spirit in the world. 

The needs we respond to may be simple and modest – asking us to “make a small change and see a big difference” (Rule of Magdalene).  Other identified needs or social predicaments, which actually are calls from the Spirit, may be ones that place us on a very public stage that show the Body of Christ acting in ways that more visibly change the world and call entire societies to claim a deeper, more profound sense of their humanity.  The Civil Rights movement in America and the over-turning of apartheid in South Africa are just two examples of the church acting in this way.  Every situation where the church chooses to act calls for a carefully planned response that will consist both of smaller and greater forms of community engagement, with the world (be it on a local or larger scale) watching and hoping for an authentic human and divine presence in their midst.  That presence could be we, ourselves – if we adequately prepare in these spaces of practice.  Enacting the next faithful step is a practice that fits with multiple scales of imagination, one that enables design for everyone’s ministry – because everyone’s ministry matters.