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When the North American Baptists gather every 3 years for what has come to be known as ‘Triennial’, everyone I’m sure comes with certain expectations as to what it’s going to be like based on their past experiences at previous Triennials, past conferences they’ve attended, or even their own personal ‘pasts’ influenced by both the joys and struggles of ministry and family life. But despite all of these ‘past’ influential factors (I brought plenty of my own to Edmonton last month), it seems that the Holy Spirit had in mind to bring a fresh wind that would transcend these past factors and create new experiences to draw from and remember.
Personally, I’m grateful for the many conversations and connections I was able to make on behalf of NAB Gateway, particularly those that helped point churches and their leaders toward integral, mutual global partnerships. And yes, there were many of those connections made. But what I became even more aware of during the Triennial, because, I believe, of how the Spirit was at work there, is that family, relationships, and global Kingdom community IS ultimately what the Father is all about. This is what I walked away with from my experiences at the Edmonton conference, this is what Jesus has in mind to create in our local churches, and this is what global partnering among churches and being ‘sent on mission’ will one day produce. “A great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9)
It’s a blessed thing to be a sign and a servant of the global Kingdom community of God. But when we share in gatherings (like Triennial) and even global partnerships of that Kingdom community where the Holy Spirit moves freely, we experience a ‘foretaste’ of that Revelation 7:9 reality as well.
As I reflect back on my time in Edmonton where I met many of you, this ‘foretaste’ is what I took with me, this is what I felt that God was doing in our midst, and this is what I’m motivated to pursue as a part of NAB Gateway in networking the body of Christ together as a part of this global Kingdom community. I hope that you’ll join us in pursuit of the ‘fresh winds’ of the Spirit as Jesus’ global church and North American (even NAB) church finds new, fresh ways to join with one another.
For the Kingdom, Randy Schmor