May’18 Wisconsin Baptist Lead Article

Reflections on Collaboration
by Rev. Dr. John Jones IV,  ARM – Education

38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him …”                                                                    Mark 9 (NRSV)

Responding to God’s call is a powerful, demanding endeavor. The sense of responsibility and blessing can weigh heavy. Yet, the challenge is always to share and to respond, with open hands. We are not in control. God’s spirit is active. We must be limber and responsive to collaborate and cooperate with that spirit.

This is the challenge and gift of partnership and collaboration. Our work in the world is not OUR work. It is God’s work. And we can only do it with integrity and faithfulness when we are humble enough to cooperate with and trust others – even and especially others who are not like us.

Our CENTRAL graduates, Amos Green, Reginald Ivy, and Lalpek Lian, shine as examples of the collaboration built into responding to God’s call on our lives. I know that each one acknowledges this milestone with a profound sense of gratitude for the support and help received from friends and family, particularly the faith family that is the church.

On May 13, CENTRAL Wisconsin will gather for our 9th Commissioning Service in the context of worship. Through our worship, we will recognize not only the hard work of these students and sacrifices of their families, but also the grace of God that has brought them this far through the cooperation and collaboration of so many others. You are invited to join in this celebration of your local seminary.

As you look toward the warmer months of summer, keep your eyes open for the ways that God is at work in the world. Overcome fear and take the risk of trust and cooperation. Under the bountiful grace of God, so clearly evident in this beautiful season, let’s learn to do the difficult work of collaboration, remembering that this work is God’s, not ours. We can participate in new and surprising ways.


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