Hello everyone. So, today Bruce, Bill and I head off for Australia and New Zealand! It sounds romantic but most of the time we’ll actually be enjoying some of the continent’s finest conference halls and room partitions. We will have many incredible opportunities to teach these truths of grace environments to communities who have been asking us to come for years. We’re very excited!
But something about this trip feels different. The three of us almost never go on extended ministry trips together. I’m usually back home preaching in my local church, while they go out and train. Or I’m sent out to speak a conference while they stay back and do whatever important things it is that they do.
But this time we’ll be together for two weeks. Two weeks! In our entire marriage I’ve never been away from Stacey this long. Bees go through their entire lives faster than this trip will take. And so I have a feeling much of what God will be doing on this trip-will be about the three of us.
See, Bill, Bruce, myself and others have been given a stewardship of a ministry that is wonderfully about grace. But it is about something more. It is about grace and identity being lived out in community…with each other. With those who are hard to love. With we who are hard to love. With those who keep letting us down. With those who are slow to grow. With those who disagree with us and get in our way. With those who prefer other presidential candidates. With those who snore…(I’m just saying)
There are many wonderful writers and speakers on grace. But there are very few who write and speak and train and teach and model what communities of grace look like, feel like and ultimately become. That is what we do. So, Bill, Bruce and John must love each other. Not just theoretically but actually. Otherwise we may teach and write profound truths and principles, but the power of our credibility and the trust it takes for others to believe us is radically diminished. An environment of grace cannot be a utopian concept that everyone applauds, but no one believes is possible to live.
So, Bill and Bruce and John must learn how to love and be loved by each other in real time, in real pressure, in real hurt, in real disagreement. And although I have matured significantly over the years, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but these two are a lot of work! So, on this trip, the three of us will inevitably have times on walks, or in a pub in Melbourne, or a hotel lobby in Auckland, or on flights, or in the middle of sessions that aren’t working. And God will set up times for us to have the hard and beautiful and affirming and challenging talks. Because in September we will be releasing a book, “Bo’s Café”. And it could change our lives dramatically. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but very few books carry 3 authors. We do it because we believe we will write a better book and will model how life can be done in community. And from September on, pressure like never before will tempt us to disband and go our own ways, over some hurt or another. And the thousands of environments of grace that we dreamed of God using us to reach and nurture will have to wait for another team willing to risk loving and being loved by each other in tough seasons. So pray for us. We want to do this well. We want to pass this test…and the next one…and the next one. We want to believe that we can live this way of grace and love that the Scriptures teach. In real time. Thank you so much for standing with us all these years. It is a privilege to represent you and stand alongside of you.
God blessings upon all of you.