VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/4/14)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) Board of Directors met Feb. 26–28 in Albuquerque, N.M., at a retreat developed to reflect on moving the organization forward as “A Community Called Church.”
The retreat examined what it means to be a spiritual leader and how spiritual leadership can help ABHMS answer the call to community, first as a board and an organization, and then as a builder of community across the United States and Puerto Rico.
Speakers included Rev. Danté Quick, senior pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Vallejo, Calif., along with Valerie Isenhower, executive director, and Judith Todd, program director, Water in the Desert Ministries, Albuquerque.
Spiritual leadership, said Isenhower and Todd, creates the healing, life-affirming and God-filled communities ABHMS seeks. This leadership, however, pays attention to a rhythm different from today’s popular theories of management. “Spiritual leadership,” they continued, “comes out of our deepest centers, where God stirs the deepest questions. At that center of our being, we are drawn into relationship with the Lord.”
Quick addressed the “practice of paying attention.” It is important for spiritual leaders, he said, to ask themselves: “When do I make time for encountering God?” Setting priorities that include time for discernment are critical. “The authority once given to Scripture is given over to cellphones and calendars today,” he continued. He explained that spiritual leaders must see the critical need to schedule time in appointment calendars for prayer, preparing spiritually for meetings, reading Scripture, taking Sabbath and listening to God.
Following closing communion and worship, ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III asked board members to consider how ABHMS can expand the margins of its community so that all people feel the grace of being a part of the kingdom of God. “How can the board lead the organization to become more inclusive and provide safe places for all people to gather at the table?” he asked. After all, he said, Christians, as disciples, are the gatekeepers of the kingdom.
For more information about ABHMS, visit the website at www.abhms.org.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.