Forge Dallas recently finished its 2013-2014 residency. in this blog, John Reece, a residency graduate, writes about his experience as a resident.
Reflection on My Forge Residency
The most recent chapter in my journey of faith has been significantly impacted by my participation in the Forge Residency that has just concluded. A few of these observations of influence are noted below, while the full impact has yet to be realized.
Some anchor points of background as I entered the residency include:
- I have been on a quest of integrating my faith in all aspects of my life, and have made significant strides over the past ten years;
- I have a heart for discipling and mentoring others; and
- My wife and I desired to learn how to further express our faith on a daily basis.
The Forge Residency has expanded my vocabulary and understanding of what it means to live on mission, or missionally. There is a shift in perspective that I have come to understand. Instead of intentionally being focused on kingdom-minded activities in all areas of my life (e.g., marriage, parenting, work, and recreation), I now view all of my activities through the lens of realizing that I am participating in God’s kingdom.
My attention is focused on how I might demonstrate the gospel – God’s reign over his kingdom through Christ – embodied in my activities of life. With this adjustment of perspective, I am learning to stop trying to identify distinctly kingdom-minded activities. In other words, every activity is to become kingdom-minded, without a hierarchical distinction of value. There is no difference in value within God’s kingdom, for instance, between my coaching a little league baseball team or feeding the hungry. We are to look for ways to announce and demonstrate the gospel in every moment of life, and to go deeper in the relationships we have with others.
It has been very freeing for me to more fully understand that the gospel is God’s reign over his kingdom through Jesus Christ. My spiritual background focused on the salvation aspect of the gospel. With a broader view of the gospel, I am now free to establish relationships with and love others that have not yet started to follow Christ without an agenda of attempting to nudge them across the line of faith. My heart breaks for those who are missing out on God’s grace, and I am sent to love others in a way that offers a foretaste of God’s kingdom, to share God’s grace. I do not have to attempt to sell salvation.
I am more aware of the opportunities to announce and demonstrate the gospel in every aspect of my life, to those around me from different backgrounds and perspectives of faith.
I am focused on sharing with other followers of Jesus their general call of being sent by God to live out the mission of announcing and demonstrating the gospel, and to help them discover what that may look like in their life
The Forge Residency has influenced my journey and I am grateful for the experience.