‘A beautiful thing’

Pentecost-like experience reflects ‘a sense of grace’ for participants, L.A. neighborhood at Discerning Missional Leadership Assessment

February 23, 2016

The Cathedral Center of St. Paul in Los Angeles, where the recent 1001 Discerning Missional Leadership Assessment was held.

The Cathedral Center of St. Paul in Los Angeles, where the recent 1001 Discerning Missional Leadership Assessment was held.

Louisville

Caz Minter has been through many assessments with leaders who have started, or are considering starting, new worshiping communities. But he’s never quite experienced what he felt at a recent Discerning Missional Leadership Assessment in Los Angeles.  

Having been through one himself, in 2011, Minter knows how powerful they can be. Doing a new church plant in Austin, Texas, with his wife, he was like many leaders who start something new: he felt alone and under great pressure. At first he was resistant to what he’d learned about himself at the assessment, but gradually came to realize the importance of having outsiders speak hard truth to those starting new ministries. 

“God used that assessment to save us,” says Minter. “It totally changed our lives and my approach to ministry in the new church plant we were doing.”

Now as 1001 New Worshiping Communities associate for the South Central region, and in charge of putting together Discerning Missional Leadership Assessments, Minter says he was “a little nervous” about the Los Angeles assessment. Eight participants and eight assessors—one for each individual—had gathered at an Episcopalian retreat center. In the heart of the city they were ready to dig deep into one another’s lives, in three languages. 

“We’ve translated from Spanish to English before,” says Minter, “but this time because of the diversity of participants, we decided to have Spanish-, Korean-, and English-speaking assessors there.” 

As the group began looking at 13 ministry and life behaviors that caused them to open up about their lives and families, “a beautiful thing” happened, Minter says. During the time of group conversations with everyone in the room, with three languages being spoken simultaneously, everyone was hearing one another, in their own native language. 

“There was a sense of grace present,” he says. “Everyone recognized that while it might not be smooth, or perfect, we not only had cultural diversity—but another layer of language diversity.” 

And when it came time to enter the neighborhood—for the Discerning Missional Leadership Assessment’s neighborhood exegesis exercise—Minter recognized the beauty of what was happening again. As they walked together, God’s Spirit seemed to move the Spanish- and Korean-speaking participants to those in the neighborhoods whose first language was Spanish or Korean. The English speakers were conversing in English, Spanish in Spanish, and Korean in Korean. Each person was hearing the passion from those who were incredibly excited about starting new worshiping communities—to do church in a new way—in their own language. 

“It was a great picture of what the 1001 movement looks like,” says Minter, “multi-language all over the country, with the same heart and mind—connecting with people, in their own language. It was really cool.” 

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The next Discerning Missional Leadership Assessment will take place April 13–16 in Richmond, Virginia. The hosts will be Union Presbytery Seminary and Presbytery of the James.