Discovering our Magnetic North

David Ruis, Oct 05, 2022, 7:13 PM
David Ruis National Director
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I'd like to share with you what I experienced the Thursday morning of our National Celebration this past July. I try to come early to these types of events before anyone else arrives to get my bearings both in regards to any final curating of the physical space that may be needed, as well as taking a moment to centre myself. Emotionally. Spiritually. Intellectually. My reflection and prayer in these moments is more of a meandering and pondering than that of a single intense focus. As I was wandering through the sanctuary, I felt the Spirit poke me.

"Watch David," He seemed to be saying, "Just watch what happens. The confusion is gone." Although caught somewhat off guard, I did have that settled sense to pay attention to what I felt I had heard. This very well might prove to be the Lord speaking to me. Almost immediately I had a mental picture of a large spinning compass sitting in the middle of a room. As we have been using the analogy of calibrating a compass to describe our approach to how we want to lead in Vineyard Canada (i.e. getting a sense of direction and forward motion rather than a rallying statement and check list of goals) this in itself wasn't an unfamiliar token. But as my mind's eye panned around the room, a fresh perspective came to me. What I saw as I peered further were what seemed to be many tall cylinders, almost like pillars, randomly set in the room. Immediately I knew they were powerful magnets. One by one they began to disappear. Their removal wasn't destructive or violent in any way, but one by one they were gone until only one was left.

I had the sense that over the last years we have had many magnetic pull's affecting our ability to calibrate. My clear sense was that these magnetic cylinders were not people as much as they were the various and sundry things we've been sorting and processing. Leadership philosophy and theology. Our understanding of human sexuality. How do we engage as a prophetic people? Clarification regarding what we mean by the Kingdom. What does church planting and mission look like for us in this cultural moment as a movement? And that is only to name a few things tugging at us.

Slowly but surely my sense is that the strain on the warp and woof of who we are in the Canadian Vineyard has lessened as each magnetic pull has dissipated. It's not so much that we've found total agreement on everything, but that we've given ourselves to the pursuit of wisdom. What is the wisest way forward? What is our next step? Learning into the discernment of "who do we want to be and become?" more than "what are we going to do?"

James, the half brother of Jesus, captures it this way:

"Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor." (James 3:17-18 MSG)

In the humility that true learning and discipleship requires, as best we could we have maintained the posture of open mindedness and open hands. We have had to let go at times to allow some to set their compass to a different magnetic force, but I am so grateful that in it all we have committed ourselves to "the hard work of getting along" even when disagreements have us walking different paths. I do believe that we are at a juncture where, although the challenges and hurdles before us are not insignificant, we have a clearer sense of a true north than we have had for a very long time. We can breathe again. We can dream again. We can lean into the future with a secure sense of purpose and direction and take the risks that faith requires as we explore fresh modes of discipleship, church planting and mission.

Let the Kingdom come! Step by step.