One of my all time favorite authors is Frederick Buechner. In his book, “A Room Called Remember” he says this:
“We are all such escape artists, you and I. We don’t like to get too serious about things, especially about ourselves. When we are with other people, we are apt to talk about almost anything under the sun except for what really matters to us, except for our own lives, except for what is going on inside our own skins. We pass the time of day. We chatter. We hold each other at bay, keep our distance from each other even when God knows it is precisely each other we desperately need.”
One of our strategic initiatives at Forge America is “Connect”. We want our movement of missionally minded women and men to be connected to their teams, their contexts, resources, and other like-minded movements. This is no small task, especially when we are apt to “hold each other at bay”. Mission is no place for lone-rangers. The task is hard enough and the stakes are far too high to go about this thing alone.
The actual definition of tribe is “a group of persons having a common character, occupation or interest.” Our common character is the Missio Dei, the Mission of God. Our hope is that Forge is connecting with people who believe in the Mission of God and are living as sent people.
In my context here in Knoxville, this desire to connect has brought us to great relationships and friendships in the city. One example would be our friend Kevin Dubose. Kevin was a city planner here in Knoxville for two different mayors. Now, Kevin is the Community Development coordinator for a large inner city youth and sports ministry called Emerald Youth Foundation. Early in our Forge journey, our paths crossed and we quickly realized we had the same heart for the city.
Currently Kevin is on our Forge Knoxville team and has placed us in strategic relationships with people all over the city. Kevin also pours into our Forge residents through coaching and by leading an intensive that gives our residents a tour of the city that helps them understand the history and brokenness of our scruffy little town.
Connecting is a key strategy for furthering the missional and incarnational movement that Forge wants to be about. We desperately need movements to connect with other movements in our contexts. But, more importantly, we need to connect with each other to keep this movement going.
- Alan Bradford, Forge Knoxville