The Enneagram (webinar recordings)

A webinar series, taught by Paul Rack.

Session 1: What is the Enneagram and what are the 9 types? Listen here.

Session 2: How do types interact and how do we grow within our type? Listen here.

Session 3: Spiritual Growth and Spiritual Practices within the types. Listen here.

[You can listen to the recordings by clicking above, however, the slides to which Paul refers are copyrighted and cannot be posted. You can find helpful diagrams in The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso & Hudson.]

A 1981 M.Div graduate of Princeton Seminary, Paul F. Rack has served as a Pastor in the PCUSA for 31 years. He has worked in small and medium-sized churches in New York, Boston, and New Jersey, and is currently in his 4th position as Interim Pastor.  Since 2000, he has been the Stated Clerk of Elizabeth Presbytery. He has published articles on ministry and polity, and blogs at, his main interests being spirituality, discipleship, and ecclesiology in emergence Christianity. Paul is authorized to lead workshops by the Enneagram Institute of Stone Ridge, NY, where he is a candidate for certification as an Enneagram Counselor. He lives in Martinsville, NJ, with his wife, Susan (also a Pastor), and has a son in college, Daniel.

Theology Pubs with Glenn Zuber

Glenn Zuber shares practical ideas for creating communities of theological conversation using his experience as founder of Iona Conversations in Washington, DC.

Listen here to the webinar recording.

Check out the pictures here.



A Journey Together

Participants in the NEXT National Gathering

By Frank Spencer

When asked to reflect on the NEXT Church event in Charlotte, I find that I cannot limit my thoughts to this one gathering.  For me, the development of the NEXT Church movement will always be tied to my own development at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte.

Attending the first NEXT Church gathering in Indianapolis, I was struck by the passion and optimism of the assembled teaching elders.  Those of us who were there as ruling elders were eagerly and openly invited into the conversations about how to enliven and enrich the PC (USA).  That gathering drew approximately 300 people and engaged themes of waiting and exile.  There was tension and anxiety around the formation of the group that would subsequently become The Fellowship/ECO.   Participants were unsure about the future, even as faith and relationships were strengthened.  Feeling a call from God to engage more deeply my own faith in the context of PC (USA), I entered seminary in May 2011.

By the fall of 2011, NEXT Church was hammering out a mission statement and planning its second meeting in Dallas.  What developed from the fall meetings has guided NEXT Church in a direction that seems to be bearing much fruit.  Everyone involved is dedicated to PC (USA).  The purpose of gathering is to worship, to share ideas and to build relationships in the PC (USA).   There was a decision against voting on any issues and a further determination to leave the definition of doctrinal matters to others.  Dallas exceeded all expectations with 600 participants.  The planning for regional meetings began and optimism abounded.  A senior minister attending his first NEXT Church gathering commented to me, “This is without question the best church event I have been to in my 35 years of ministry.”  I became an inquirer at the Presbytery meeting.

Coming out of Dallas, NEXT Church hired a director and regional meetings occurred around the country during the summer and fall.  The Charlotte community embraced the planning for the 2013 meeting with commitments and volunteers from a range of congregations, large and small.  The plans for worship and programming were intentionally diverse and forward looking.  Gone was the sense of anxiety from Indianapolis.  The excitement and expectation of life together in Christ Jesus was evident throughout the two days in Charlotte.  We worshipped together in new ways and yet focused on the heart of our faith, from Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus through the movement of the Spirit at Pentecost.  We shared stories of innovative ministries and explored ideas for new worshipping communities.   I became a candidate for the office of Teaching Elder.

How have the developments of NEXT Church and my own call to ministry become so closely linked?  It is because I have found authentic community in PC (USA) supported in no small part through my participation in NEXT Church.  I have claimed my faith and my call not through my intellectual effort to decide for myself, but rather through the faith of the community that sustains me in my journey.  Those relationships, the body of Christ, confirm for me what God has placed on my heart.

The traditional structures of PC (USA) have been shaken with financial and doctrinal challenges.  This reality has left older members nostalgic for a time of greater stability and young seminarians nervous about the prospects for full-time ministry.  Sitting in both camps as a mid-fifties second career seminarian who has served the church in many roles, I find NEXT Church is good for what ails me.  As a seminarian, it is heartening that NEXT Church provides a forum for innovation and exploration of new forms of ministry.  As a part of the established structure of PC (USA), it is exciting to experience the passionate faith leadership that our young (younger than me anyway) teaching elders are providing.  Old or young, we should be optimistic when those who love the Church come together for the sole purpose of building her up.

Frank Spencer is a ruling elder at Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church.  He is President of Habitat for Humanity Charlotte and a student at Union Presbyterian Seminary.  He served four years as Chairman of Montreat Conference Center and currently serves on the Board of Pensions.  Frank’s first book, The Benefit of the Doubt: Claiming faith in an uncertain world, explores the Reformed tradition in a unique and engaging format that developed through a conversation between six of Frank’s current and former pastors and their one common parishioner.  It is available in hard copy or Kindle through

Videos from the 2013 National Gathering

On March 4-5, 2013, 600+ gathered at First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte to worship God with joy, deepen relationships with one another, imagine what the church born again might look like.

You can watch the videos from our gathering here.

NEXT Church has been asking the question: What’s next? We have been asking God, ourselves, and each other many more questions like: “What’s next for our denomination?” “What’s next for my congregation?” “Is what’s next better than what’s now or what was?” “Does what happens next include me?”

In John 3:4, Nicodemus asks Jesus, “How can anyone be born after having grown old?  Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”

As we strive to answer the question of “what’s next?,” we claim and proclaim what we do know:

1) The good news of Jesus Christ,

2) Our call to spread that good news.

As Jesus said, “What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

At the 2013 National Gathering, we will focus on what is born from the Spirit.  We will lift up the magnitude of the message over the chaotic culture moment and the disappointments of our institutions. We will reclaim our calls to ministry even as those calls evolve. We will celebrate what the Spirit has done and is doing so that we can be open to what the Spirit will do.

We have to be born again. 

Image: 2jenn/

Worship and the Arts

Nanette Sawyers shares use-able ideas for creating community and deepening spirituality by incorporating communal art practices into worship.
Listen Here to the webinar recording.

Check out the pictures here.

Nanette is pastor of Grace Commons and St. James Presbyterian Churches in Chicago.


A Bibliography for Community Organizing

Relational organizing was a big theme at the 2013 National Gathering, particularly in the reflections by Patrick Daymond, which you can view here. Jeff Krehbiel, pastor of Church of the Pilgrims in Washington DC, a member of the NEXT Church Advisory Team, and the author of Reflecting with Scripture on Community Organizing, offers this bibliography of books and resources:

Community Organizing Bibliography

Resources from the PC(USA) on community organizing, including grants for training, can be found here.

Resources for Church Leaders:

This series of pamphlets from ACTA Publications, a publisher of community organizing resources, is especially helpful for training congregational leaders:
Effective Organizing for Congregational Renewal” by Michael Gecan
Reflecting with Scripture on Community Organizing,” by Jeffrey K. Krehbiel
“The Power of Relational Action,” by Ed Chambers

Narratives on Broad-Based Organizing:

A Community Organizer’s Tale: People and Power in San Francisco, Mike Miller, Heyday books, 2009 A personal narrative by a veteran organizer.
Blessed Are the Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America,Jeffrey Stout, 2010 A compelling narrative on the impact of broad-based organizing on American democratic life, focusing on the work of the IAF in the southwestern United States.
Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action, Mike Gecan, 2004 The best beginning book on the principals and practices of community organizing.  Filled with anecdotes particularly of organizing in New York City.
Stoking the Fire of Democracy: Our Generation’s Introduction to Grassroots Organizing, Stephen N. Smith, 2009 An honest memoir of a young adult’s journey into community organizing along with guidance for organizing.  

Narratives on Congregations Involved in Community Organizing:

Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx, Heidi Neumark, 2003 A stellar memoire and book on pastoral-ministry-as-organizing.  Should be required reading for American seminarians.
Upon This Rock. The Miracles of a Black Church, Samuel G. Freedman, 1994 An admiring biography of the Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood and the St. Paul’s Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York.  Good introduction to a church powerfully grounded in its African heritage.  

Books on Organizing Principles, Theory and Theology:

Building a People of Power: Equipping Churches to Transform Their Communities, Robert C. Linthicum, Authentic, 2005. An exploration of organizing principles and strategies from the evangelical tradition.
Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing, Dennis Jacobsen, Fortress Press, 2001 An introduction to the theology of congregation-based community organizing.
Roots for Radicals: Organizing for Power, Action, and Justice,  Ed Chambers, 2003. Summarizes the theories of community organizing in the modern IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation).
Yours The Power: Faith-Based Organizing in the USA, Katie Day, Esther McIntosh, William Storrar, ed. 2013. Critical essays on the current field of faith-based organizing from academics, theologians, and practitioners.  

Books by and about Saul Alinsky, the pioneer of modern community organizing:

Radical: A Portrait of Saul Alinsky by Nicholas Von Hoffman, Nations Books, 2010
Rules for Radicals, by Saul Alinsky, Vintage Books, 1989, 1971 First Published
Reveille for Radicals, by Saul Alinsky, Vintage Books 1989, 1946 First Published

The "Ritual of the Ribbons" at 2013 National Gathering

By Theresa Cho

NEXT Worship Overall Thematic Flow & Ritual:

Colors of fabric and ribbon were purple, red, blue, white, and yellow. The colors of a Korean fabric called Saekdong. Saekdong is usually used for children’s clothing and “protects the evoking of dreams of children.”

Advent Worship:

Sheets of fabric were torn into strips during the confession. Each participant was given a 5 ft. ribbon before worship. As a way to prepare for new birth, conferees were invited to place the ribbon in the manger, letting go of what prevents them from being open to whatever will birth in them during the conference. manger


Baptism Worship:

The ripped fabric was woven together, connecting the baptismal font and the manger together. The ribbon in the manger was returned to the conferees as a way of remembering our baptismal identity as a child of God. In preparation for the next worship, participants were asked to follow instructions on the bulletin insert and bring the ribbon to the next worship. NEXT Words font


Lent Worship:

The ripped fabric was displayed on the chancel and communion table in the pattern of Saekdong. After reflection on Luke 4.14-21, conferees were asked to pair up and share their call saying “My call is to (verb) (verb) (verb) (noun)” Share a quick reaction to their call. Then, their partner will say “Your call is to . . . “ and then “stole” their partner. Afterwards, each conferee placed their ribbon in the offering basket as their offering of their call. theresa


Pentecost Worship:

The ribbons were woven on the communion table, representing how our calls are woven together. As conferees came up for communion, they were asked to take a stole of someone else, take it home and pray for them.


Liturgy from 2013 National Gathering

We offer here the liturgy used at our 2013 National Gathering. See here for a complete list of music, and here for information about “the ritual of the ribbons.”

Many thanks to Theresa Cho, Adam Fischer, and Corey Nelson for their vision and leadership.

Monday, March 4


Confession: God of birth and renewal, too often we are like Nicodemus. We doubt that anything new can come out of your church. We dwell in houses of worship, echoing songs of ancestors trumpeted by organs loud enough to drown the sound of your voice.  Through our arrogance, we have built elaborate houses of worship, glorious and beautiful, but sometimes lacking in Spirit. Now we seek your renewal as we turn to listen, to discover what is next. Open our minds to your vision. Inspire our slumber with dreams of the future.  In our return let us see you afresh and work to make your kingdom a reality on Earth. Come, dwell with us once more as we confess and let go of all that keeps us apart from you.

Assurance: Let this fabric remind you, you are part of a larger whole. Our confessions can feel like we are being torn apart, separated from one another and banished to an apocalyptic wasteland, yet even though we are torn, we shall be restored in Christ. All:  God has blessed us with all we need. Truly God is at work in our lives to bring wholeness and restoration, even when it feels like we are being torn apart. Hear and know the good news, In Christ we are born again: made whole, restored and forgiven.

Monday, March 4


Blessing of the Waters: 
one:                On that first day, when time began:
all:                   you gave birth to creation; light danced through the darkness; the waters of hope flowed free and clear.
one:                On that first day at the Jordan, when redemption began:
all:                   you spoke of life for all your children, as your Child stepped into the waters of forgiveness, dancing in hope with his cousin, John.
one:                On this first day, gathered together, when we begin anew:
all:                   you call us to faithfulness, as we open our hearts to you, your voice claiming us as your own.  

one:    You and I are now the ones who step forth out of the cleansing waters of baptism, to bring hope, to share a word of grace, to carry healing into the brokenness of our lives. Let us confess how we still struggle to follow in faith wherever Jesus leads us. Join me as we pray; Timeless God,you cast light into sin’s dark placesand call us your Beloved.
all:       Forgive us:             when we still linger in the shadows;             when we treat others in hurtful ways;             when we speak ill of your friends.
one:   As he knelt in the waters of Jordan, you proclaimed Jesus as your Child, pointing to him as the way to you.
all:       Forgive us: when we put ourselves ahead of him;             when we think he is no longer needed;             when we fail to see him in the broken of our world.
one:    Baptized and blessed in your living waters, you would have us be your servants in our time.
all:      Forgive us:
when we fail to welcome the stranger;             when we refuse to forgive as we should;             when we believe we are too good to kneel down             and tie the shoes of the lost, the least, or the last.

one:    Touched by the waters of life, fed at the feast of grace and hope, embraced in the warmth of God’s love and hopes – this is good news for all of us!
all:       Blessed by baptism’s tears, called to servanthood by the Beloved, filled with the peace of the Spirit, we are indeed God’s people – redeemed, restored, refreshed to serve. Thanks be to God!
one:    The peace of Christ be with you.
all:       And also with you


Tuesday, March 5


Confession: (Theresa Cho and adapted from 2005)
Facing the unknown, Mary and Joseph journeyed to birth hope.
Facing the unknown, we too often squash that hope.
Facing acceptance, God claimed Jesus as God’s own Son.
Facing acceptance, we too often forget God’s claim on us.
Facing temptation, Jesus refused to turn stones into bread.
Facing temptation, we too often turn bread into stones.
Facing temptation, Jesus refused to use power for its own sake.
Facing temptation, we too often take power that belongs to someone else.
Facing temptation, Jesus refused to test the promises of God.
Facing temptation, we too often want God to do what we should do ourselves.

Assurance: You are forgiven! God loves you. God blesses you with new beginnings and new life. Put aside your old ways and become new! God gives a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning. Sing, dance, rejoice! Never forget the gift of God’s redeeming grace. Amen.

Tuesday, March 5


Call to Worship: (
With tongues of flame, the Holy Spirit descends to burn in our hearts anew.
Unite us, Holy Spirit!
Like the rush of wind, we sense God’s presence blowing afresh throughout the world.
Unite us, Holy Spirit!
Across the barriers of language and culture, Christ’s message of love and grace is heard.
Unite us, Holy Spirit!
Divine Advocate, we seek your guidance as we search for the Spirit of Truth.
Unite us, Holy Spirit! Amen.

Confession: (Nolan Palsma and Phyllis Palsma)
Our God, we come in humility, confessing who and what we are. We are often unresponsive for we are afraid. When your Spirit speaks, we turn deaf ears, for we fear what you might call us to do. When your Spirit touches our lips, we close our mouths, embarrassed to speak your Word. When the wind of your Spirit blows, we close the windows of our hearts, afraid the breeze will disrupt our ordered lives. When the fire of your Spirit touches us, we quench the flame, afraid of the new life it might bring. Forgive us, O Lord.

This is the good news we have declare: God leads us out of the shadows to walk in the light of Christ.
This is the word we have heard: our faithful God forgives our sins and raises us to new life. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Music from 2013 National Gathering

Corey Nelson, part of the worship team for the 2013 National Gathering, sends along this list of music featured in worship in Charlotte. He also offered to be a resource for people who have questions about the music. Contact him at: Corey Nelson First Presbyterian Church Lake Forest, Illinois ~

NEXT 2013 Worship Songs

Songs marked with an * are in the new hymnal!


Ashe, AsheTraditional West African Chant One tradition says that this song was used by traveling tribes upon entering new villages.  When a visiting tribe was approaching a village they would sing Fanga-Alafiya to indicate that they come in peace. If the villagers welcome them, they reply: Ashe-Ashe. Then, the travelers and villagers reverse the lines.  The fanga song was often the common denominator between tribes that otherwise spoke different languages.  The lyrics we used for verses at NEXT were written by Adam Fischer specifically for the conference and are easily adaptable to a variety of settings and themes:

God is here and welcomes you – ashe, ashe Prepare the way and worship too – ashe, ashe Dance & sing, come join the crowd – ashe, ashe God is with us, shout out loud – ashe, ashe Ashe, ashe, ashe, ashe        Ashe, ashe, ashe, ashe  (repeat)   Celebrate with joy today – ashe, ashe With love & grace prepare the way – ashe, ashe Come from places far and near – ashe, ashe Our new journey starts from here – ashe, ashe  — chorus   On this journey we will go – ashe, ashe God travels with us on the road – ashe, ashe Guide us through our darkest night – ashe, ashe Grant us vision, shine your light – ashe, ashe

*Canticle Of The Turning – USA/Northern Ireland (tune) Words by Rory Cooney © GIA Publications, Inc.

My soul cries out with a joyful shout; That the God of my heart is great, And my spirit sings of the wondrous things; That you bring to the ones who wait. You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight And my weakness you did not spurn So from east to west shall my name be blest. Could the world be about to turn? My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, And the world is about to turn!   Though I am small, my God my all, You work great things in me, And your mercy will last from the depths of the past To the end of the age to be. Your very name puts the proud to shame, And to those who would for you yearn, You will show your might, put the strong to flight, For the world is about to turn.

From the halls of power to the fortress tower, Not a stone will be left on stone. Let the king beware for your justice tears Ev’ry tyrant from his throne. The hungry poor shall weep no more, For the food they can never earn; There are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed, For the world is about to turn.

Though the nations rage from age to age, We remember who holds us fast: God’s mercy must deliver us From the conqueror’s crushing grasp. This saving word that our forbears heard Is the promise which holds us bound, ‘Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God, Who is turning the world around.

*He Came Down – Cameroon/Iona Trad. Cameroon; trans. and arr. by John Bell (published in several Iona resources)

He came down that we may have hope

He came down that we may have hope

He came down that we may have hope

Hallelujah, forever more.

He came down that we may have peace…joy…love…hope

Light of the Stable (lyrics adapted) Elizabeth & Steve Rhymer, © 1975. Renewed 2003 Tessa Publishing Company (Admin. by Conexion Media Group, Inc.)

Hail, Hail to the coming king Let our voices sing out our praises Hail, Hail to the guiding light That brings us tonight to our savior Halle—Hallelujah  (4X)

Come now let’s prepare the way For the happy day of his coming Bow down to messiah near Cast aside your fear and be thankful Halle—Hallelujah  (4X)


Come Thou Fount

Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

All Who Are Thirsty Words and music: Brenton Brown and Glenn Robertson © 1998 Vineyard Songs

All who are thirsty, all who are weak, come to the fountain, dip your heart in the steams of life. Let your pain and your sorrows be washed away in the waves of God’s mercy, as deep cries out to deep, we sing: Come, Lord Jesus, come. (repeat) Holy Spirit, come. (repeat)

Wade in the Water Words and music: African-American spiritual

Refrain: Wade in the water, wade in the water, children. Wade in the water. God’s gonna trouble the water.   Well, who are these children all dressed in red? God’s a-gonna trouble the water Must be the children that Moses led God’s a-gonna trouble the water.   

Chorus   If you don’t believe I’ve been redeemed, God’s gonna trouble the water. Follow me down to Jordan’s stream. God’s a-gonna trouble the water. 

Chorus   Jordan’s water is chilly and cold. God’s gonna trouble the water. It chills the body, but not the soul. God’s a-gonna trouble the water. 

Chorus   Look over yonder, what do I see? God’s gonna trouble the water. Holy Ghost a fallin’ on me. God’s a-gonna trouble the water.  Chorus


Come, Let Us Worship God Text & tune: Tay Makeever © 1983 Ray Makeever, admin. Augsburg Fortress

Come, let us worship God…Come, Let us worship God Come, let us worship God…Come, Let us worship God Welcome, everyone…Welcome, everyone To the love of God…To the love of God …   Rest for the weary … Food for the hungry… Peace for the nations… Come, let us worship God…

Kyrie Music ©2002 Chip Andrus

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison God, have mercy, Christ have mercy, grant us peace.

God Be the Love to Search and Keep Me (we sang three of the five original verses) Richard Bruxvoort Colligan © 2004 & This Here Music

God be the love to search and keep me God, be the prayer to move my voice God, be the strength to now uphold me O Christ, surround me O Christ, surround me   Walking behind to hem my journey Going ahead to light my way And from beneath, above and always O Christ, surround me O Christ, surround me   Christ in the eyes of all who see me Christ in the ears that hear my voice Christ in the hearts of all who know me O Christ, surround me O Christ, surround me

*The Servant Song Richard Gillard © 1977 Scripture in Song

Will you let me be your servant Let me be as Christ to you Pray that I might have the grace To let you be my servant too   We are pilgrims on a journey We are travelers on the road We are here to help each other Walk the mile and bear the load   I will hold the Christ-light for you In the night time of your fear I will hold my hand out to you Speak the peace you long to hear   I will weep when you are weeping When you laugh I’ll laugh with you I will share your joy and sorrow Till we’ve seen this journey through   Brother sister let me serve you Let me be as Christ to you Pray that I may have the grace To let you be my servant too

*Take, O Take Me as I Am (Iona – John Bell)

Take, o take me as I am Summon out what I shall be Set your seal upon my heart And live in me.


Kuna Kucheza (Kenya/Swahili) Traditional © Church of All Nations

Kuna kucheza, kucheza … Halleluia (There is dancing, dancing) Kuna kucheza, kwa ajabu … Halleluia Kucheza, Kucheza … Halleluia Kuna Kucheza, kwa ajabu … Halleluia (There is dancing, for it’s amazing)   Kuna kuimba, kuimba … Halleluia… (There is singing, singing)   Kuna kuomba, kuomba … Halleluia… (There is praying, praying)   Kuna kusifu, kusifu … Halleluia…(There is praising, praising)

*Somos El Cuerpo de Cristo words & music by Jaime Cortez & Bob Hurd Somos el cuerpo de Cristo.

We are the body of Christ. Hemos oído el llamado; we’ve answered “yes” to the call of the Lord. Somos el cuerpo de Cristo. We are the body of Christ. Traemos su santo mensaje. We come to bring the good news to the world. (1) Dios viene al mundo a través de nosotros. Somos el cuerpo de Cristo. God is revealed when we love one another. We are the body of Christ. Al mundo a cumplir la misión de la Iglesia, somos el cuerpo de Cristo. Bringing the light of God’s mercy to others, we are the body of Christ. (2) Cada persona es parte del reino; somos el cuerpo de Cristo. Putting a stop to all discrimination, we are the body of Christ. Todas las razas que habitan la tierra, somos el cuerpo de Cristo. All are invited to feast in the banquet. We are the body of Christ. (3) Que nuestras acciones reflejen justicia; somos el cuerpo de Cristo. Stopping abuse and relieving the hungry, we are the body of Christ. Vamos al mundo a cuidar su rebaño. somos el cuerpo de Cristo. Serving each other we build up the kingdom; we are the body of Christ.

*Si Tuvieras Fe (If You Only Had Faith) Spanish Caribbean Pentecostal Chorus/trans. Jorge Lockward

“If you only had faith just like a little grain of mustard,” this is what Jesus declares. (repeat) “You would be able to tell the mountain, ‘Move away. Move away.’”(repeat) And then the mountain would move away, would move away, would move away.  (repeat four times) Spanish Caribbean chorus, public domain.  The arrangement we used was published in For Everyone Born: Global Songs for an Emerging Church © 2008 GBGMusik, The United Methodist Church

Today we all are called to be disciples of the Lord Arr & Harm Ralph Vaughn Williams ©1906 Oxford University Press , textH. Kenn Carmichael©1989; rearr: Troy Bronsink

Chorus Lead us       Onward     Shape Us    Inwardly Help us follow you       Outward lead us on Lead us on

Verse 1 Today we all are called to be disciples of the Lord To help to set the captives free, Make plowshare out of sword, To feed the hungry, quench their thirst, Make love and peace our fast To serve the poor and homeless first, Our ease and comfort last  

Verse 2 God made the world and at its birth ordained our human race To live as stewards of the earth, responding to God’s grace. But we are vain and sadly proud. We sow not peace but strife Our discord spreads a deadly cloud that threatens all of life…chorus

Verse 3 Pray justice may come rolling down as in a mighty stream With righteousness in field and town to cleanse us and redeem For God is longing to restore an earth where conflicts cease A world that was created for a harmony of peace…chorus

Verse 4 May we in service to our God act out the living word And walk the road the saints have trod till all have seen and heard As stewards of the earth may we give thanks in one accord To God who calls us all to be Disciples of the Lord…chorus

What’s NEXT for seminary students?

by Lindsay Conrad

What’s NEXT? I think that question had everyone’s heads spinning at the beginning of the conference in Dallas last year. How can we answer that question when we are mourning the loss of some of our churches? Severed and splintered over theological differences, we sat at this conference and thought about this question. The thought of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and walking forward in the footsteps of Jesus seemed out of the question. What’s NEXT just seemed like too much.

What’s NEXT? The video played begging that question at the beginning of our conference in Charlotte this year. Do you know what that question feels like to a student in the last months of seminary? It’s like looking down the barrel of a gun. It’s like being asked to jump from the place without a parachute. It’s that feeling like plunging into deep waters with no sure sign that you’ll reach the surface of the water before you run out of air. What’s next just seemed like too much, but it was coming at me whether I was ready or not – just like graduation!

What’s NEXT? The most awesome and terrifying part of that question is the very answer. All of us sitting in those pews and participating online via livestream and twitter and facebook – we came to the shocking realization that we are the next church. We are the vessels used by God to be participants and initiators of the NEXT. Like Nicodemus, we are charged to be reborn. Like Mary, we are charged to bear Christ into the world. Like Jesus, we are charged to be mindful that in our baptisms we have died to ourselves. And as we break the surface of the water gasping for new air and new life, we are one with the communion of saints before us and those to come. With them we hear the same words Jesus did bursting from the heavens – YOU ARE MY BELOVED. What’s next is us – the pastors and seminarians and faithful witnesses to the Spirit moving and shaking the church into something new, something better, something exciting.

What’s NEXT? We are answering that question in lots of that ways – many discovered here in Charlotte. We are pulling improvisation and storytelling practices into our worship experiences. We are learning to band together across denominations and cities to bring new ideas and insights into our programming. We are embracing world music that opens up our view of the church. We are shaking away the frozen chosen-ness that binds us to our pews and we are dancing. We are clapping. We are rediscovering gifts that make us the church reformed and always being reformed.

So, What’s NEXT? I don’t really know – but I’m thrilled and terrified, and hopeful, and grateful to be a part of the movement determined to discover the answers.

LindsayLindsay Conrad is a graduating senior at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is a candidate under care of Presbytery of the Peaks in Virginia and seeking ordination as a teaching elder this summer.