Father Bill Midgett is an AAC Trainer and Church Coach
Father Bill Midgett is an AAC Trainer and Church Coach

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

 

Last week I spent three days with thirty-two clergy and Bishop Morales of the Diocese of Quincy at the second of their three American Anglican Council (AAC) Clergy Leadership Training Institutes (CLTI)  workshops held at the Redemptorist Retreat Center, in Oconomowoc, WI. I had the privilege of co-presenting with Canon Phil Ashey material surrounding the theme of becoming an increasingly competent, biblical leader in ministry and mission, and to become transformative leaders or what Gordon Penfold calls, Turn Around Pastors within our congregations. As fellow pastors, teachers and priests, we taught from the Scriptures, and shared practical applications of the material through relevant portions of our personal testimonies and leadership experiences to these godly leaders. What occurred throughout the workshop was truly amazing and humbling, as the Holy Spirit ministered to both attendee and presenter.

 

These verses from Paul speaking of the God of all comfort, came alive in our midst as Canon Phil and I witnessed the Holy Spirit work in the hearts of these leaders, some of whom were in fact feeling burned out and beat up. We were able to share with them the comfort we had received from God in our own ministries, and the Lord moved them forward with his comfort bringing them encouragement and hope. Evidence that this type of kingdom restoration and rebuilding was happening came in the form of conversations, and later testimonies and thanks offered by participants for bringing not only the information related to biblical, competent leadership and its characteristics, but also allowing and giving time for transformation to take place. We spent time each day in worship as well as in small groups for discussion following each session. This gave everyone attending the time to share their hearts, renew and make new relationships, pray with and for one another, and to hear God’s Spirit speak into their minds and souls.

 

One of the joys I had was to be part of these continued conversations during meal times. There I heard the affirmations and witness that the Lord was doing his work of transformation. Many left different than when they came. What I witnessed were  movements from anxiety to peace, pride to humility, burden to freedom, spiritually empty to full, and from having a sense of standing still to being challenged to move forward in hope and faith. Who but the Holy Spirit could do such a work of comfort as this?

 

Having participated as a Rector during 2011-2013 in the first AAC sponsored CLTI and continuing to experience that help and refreshment today, I am increasingly convinced that the CLTI, the LLTI (for lay leaders), and other type of related workshops to help Anglican congregations become revitalized, are critical to our realizing the reality of a unified, biblical and missional Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in our time and generation.

 

Imagine if you will what it would be like to witness more and more ACNA clergy and lay leaders with their congregations growing in health, revival, and gospel mission.  Is that an unrealistic dream? I don’t believe so. That is a kingdom picture right out of the New Testament, a preferred future worth all our energies to invest in. Imagine the impact to our local communities as the leaders and people of the 980 present ACNA congregations and its 32 dioceses nurture and raise up turn around pastors and lay leaders revitalized in gospel mission in making disciples. Just imagine. Though this work in fact has started and is growing, a testament to the Holy Spirit’s grace among us, it is far from completion. I would encourage any leader to contact the AAC for more information about these leadership workshops and to speak to those who have participated in them. You never know, you too may experience anew what the God of all comfort has in store for your life, your ministry, your congregation or your diocese. Just imagine.

 

The Rev. Bill Midget of Rector of Christ the King Anglican Church in Winchester, TN and an American Anglican Council Trainer and  Coach.

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