On a Mission to Minnesota
by Barbara Stock
In May 2007 Mike Shaugnessy, the director of Kairos in North America [an international federated outreach to high school, university and post university aged people] dropped me a quick line saying he had just been in St. Paul, Minnesota, and their University Christian Outreach chapter was looking for a women’s senior mission leader starting the beginning of August. Would I be interested? Well… no. I had just moved to a new apartment to start a woman’s household in a neighborhood cluster of the Bread of Life Community [located in Olching, Germany]. I had also changed jobs a few months before that. Besides, if I were to seriously consider relocating somewhere, my first preference would be some place in Europe, not the US. In addition to that, my brother was getting married and my sister was going to return from across the Atlantic after living there for two years – why would I want to go abroad at this time?
Nonetheless, I promised Mike that I would think and pray about this mission opportunity and let him know if I were to get any sense of direction from the Lord about it.
It was pretty clear to me already that the Lord wanted me to serve him within the Sword of the Spirit in some capacity, living out our trans-generational, international and ecumenical call and mission. I’d realized over the years that if I wanted to take this call seriously, I had to change some things in my life. And I had. But somehow it didn’t seem I was quite there yet…
out of the boat
For some reason I felt I definitely needed to finish the 3rd chapter of a book I was reading at that time by John Ortberg, entitled, If You Want to Walk on Water You've Got to Get Out of the Boat. Near the end of chapter 3 Ortberg writes: “It is wrong, it is sin, to accept or remain in a position that you know is a mismatch for you. Perhaps that’s a form of sin you’ve never even considered – the sin of staying in the wrong job. But God did not place you on this earth to waste away your years in labor that does not employ his design or purpose for your life, no matter how much you may be getting paid for it.” And, “To what extent does your current work express your true giftedness and passion?”
Well – my passion is probably best summed up in the Kairos mission statement: “To equip and motivate people to hear and respond to the call of God on their lives and in particular to equip them to live and contribute to the building of Christian community in the context of the Sword of the Spirit.” I had felt for a while that particular call from the Lord, that passion, and my job with a consulting firm in Munich didn't exactly allow me to wholeheartedly invest in that. It was a career that I liked but that was really secondary to the Lord's call to me.
So I decided to call Gordy DeMarais, the Executive Director of Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) in Minnesota, to find out more about SPO and the kind of work the position entailed. One of the first things he said is, “SPO is part of Kairos, that’s our regional youth programme in North America. You know what Kairos means?” You betcha…
Little by little the Lord made it clear that going to Minnesota might be his plan for me, at least for the next year. Finally I decided to get out of the boat and move to the States.
100% on the Lord
SPO’s mission is “To Engage Young Adults in a Life of Christian Discipleship”. Together with Natalie Kebe, I’m responsible for the women’s side of things – our female staff, student missionaries and gappers (if you’re interested in finding out more about our GAP program, have a look at our website http://www.spoweb.org/ or send me an email at Barbara@spoweb.org).
We also have four women’s households this year and I’m leading one of them with six women, and facilitating the formation programme in conjunction with the Community of Christ the Redeemer (a member community of the Sword of the Spirit in St. Paul, Minnesota, numbering some 500 people). My mission chapter is the University of Minnesota.
the Lord what he wants
When the Lord asks you to change something – take a leap! It’s so worth it.
I’ve never heard someone regret to give God everything. However, I’ve met a lot of people who have regrets that they had held something back.
[Barbara grew up in the Bread
of Life Community in Munich, Germany. She previously did a GAP year
of service with Koinonia in London.
She studied economics and business education and training at Ludwigs Maximilians
University in Munich and worked in recruiting for two consulting firms.]
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