Monday I am hopping on a plane – not something we’ve done a lot of over the past eighteen months. This flight is on West Jet which I have not flown much, but was half the price of Air Canada!
I’m off to Vancouver to meet up with 9 other men, all from different denominations, who will with me join in prayer, song, laughter, confession, and good food! We have decided that we will call ourselves Barnabus Brothers – the reference, of course, being to Barnabas who was “the encourager” in his relationships to Paul, Timothy, and John Mark. Those relationships are worthy of some time to read and study….not an easy one for sure.
Our journey is now 3 years old and the pandemic has impacted us – not only as a group but personally. We’ve all had our lives and ministry and impacted.
I’m the one anomaly in the group – 7 of these men have direct congregational leadership, 1 has a para-church ministry position and the other is an author, university professor, and all-around unique individual. I am the only one who has anything to do with a national office in a denomination. So I sometimes feel like my pressures, concerns, and my story has a very different feel to them.
However, this is the place where we meet. We are all men, with families, and all who are on a journey to be what we believe Jesus has called us to. We are all in need of grace, of honest reflection, of confession to one another, and to the practice of common and combined prayer.
When my friend Doug called me to ask if I would be part of this group, I was really anxious to join as Doug has had an important role in my life over 27 years, and has often spoken into my life in ways that have affirmed me – as just another man on a faith journey.
So Monday to Friday we will be on Keat’s Island – just across from Gibsons BC, if you know your BC geography. It will likely be wet and cool and maybe even a bit stormy, but the buildings are lovely and the food is always great.
We’re going to use Henri Nouwen’s writings and I am taking my copy of Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
I began reading this pre-pandemic but it got lost in the pack and move until just the other day when I picked it up again… inside the bookmark is my Air Canada boarding pass, I had seat 21 D.
I will have a number of meetings to attend virtually in the week, but also take time to be focused on my spiritual well-being, the encouragement of others, and enjoying the experience of being with these guys.
I’ve come to the conclusion that we all have friends with who we love spending time, but we rarely take the time or effort to make friendships flourish. For some reason, we have become more insular in our living and the pandemic has only reinforced this. And one last comment – loan ranger leaders are always dangerous, even with the best of intentions.
Risky leadership begins with going alone.
So I will join my fellow pilgrims and see what God has to say to me through silence, prayer, and Scripture but also through my Barnabas brothers.