The 2014 national NEXT Church Conference took place in Minneapolis last week. I had not heard of NEXT until a few weeks prior to the conference, but it sounded so intriguing to me that, had I not had other plans for that week, I would have turned my life upside down to attend. I spend a lot of time musing about the church and what we are called to, as congregations, as pastors, as signs of the holy in the world. I’m sure that all of you ponder the same questions. And so for this week’s Wednesday Festival, I looked for posts about who we are called to be and what we are called to do.

Kara of in the hereandnow was interviewed in anticipation of the NEXT. If you do a google search, you can find a lot of NEXT commentary in blogs and, since Kara is a RevGal, I thought you might like to read about her leadership in NEXT.

Jan Edmiston of achurchforstarvingartists, who writes frequently on the topic of what we’re all about in the church, addresses the sometimes confusing intersection between program development and relationship building, a question with which I wrestle almost daily.

In a beautifully written post, Diane of Faith and Community explores the parallels between midwifery and ministry. Thanks to Call the Midwife, we are reminding that in both endeavors we attend to the needs of others.

Rosa of Cenizas, Estelas y Senderos recounts a heartbreaking episode in which the church community, drenched in its own sorrow, attends to the needs of two little girls, seeking a path back to life in the wake of unfathomable violence.

Big conferences? Tiny girls? Perhaps the greatest joy of ministry is that our daily lives encompass both, and that the tensions we experience so often ask us to seek ways in which the two fold into one another. A tall order, indeed, as we approach Holy Week with its daily reminders that we are called to proclaim new creation in every dimension of life.

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