Aren’t You Curious?

Last weekend the Ridder: Churches Learning Change Team gathered in Sioux Falls with several other teams from churches in northwest Iowa to continue our discussion on how we can grow in becoming more fruitful and effective in personal and corporate missional living. Back in 2016 Vicki Altena, George A. Bonnema, Angie Fick, Erin Jacobsma, Becky Ossefoort, David Sandbulte, and Randy Sasker gave their word to learning with and for our congregation about how we could move towards God’s emerging future for ourselves and for ARC.

Meeting the first and third Tuesday evening of each month, our team spent most of 2016 learning how authenticity and integrity are significant values for living on mission and how the anxiety of change affects a family system. We also reflected on our mental model of discipleship and our mental model of missional living; both of which have a significant impact on the fruitfulness of making disciples.

Next, we spent the first part of 2017 identifying our current reality and the second half considering how we could generate and sustain some creative tension that would help us have a greater impact on blessing our community and also in connecting with those who are far from God. In October 2017 our team and a few other individuals from our congregation attended a Faithwalking Retreat which is a spiritual formation process designed to help a person increasingly follow the way of Jesus.

Then, in the beginning of 2018 we worked through Ruth Haley Barton’s book, Pursuing God’s Will Together, in order to help us grow in discerning where God is inviting us to join him on mission both personally and as a congregation. It has been an exciting process to watch where God has been inviting each person on our team to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel. Most notably we have been really excited to see how God has invited George and his board to address the needs of the senior citizens in our community. Since September we have also been working through Faithwalking 201 which is designed to help remove the obstacles to living an integrated, missional life.

Well, one of the new values we were introduced to last weekend was the value of curiosity. An individual or congregation that seeks to be faithful and fruitful in following Jesus on mission must remain curious. The Churches Learning Change definition we were given is that curiosity = “openly engaging God, others, and self with inquiry and wonder for the purpose of discovering God’s design to live missionally.”

Question: Are you still curious about discovering God’s design for you to join him on mission? Well having had the opportunity to help present the information on this value, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my level of curiosity. Actually I believe curiosity is more than a value we should develop. I believe curiosity is something that God has hardwired into us. We are curious beings from the time we are born. Have you ever heard of a parent who had to teach their child to put something in their mouth, to touch something they shouldn’t, or to ask the question why?

And yet in his book, Leadership on the Line, Ronald Heifetz suggested that, over a period of time while living into God’s call on our life, it is possible that our curiosity will begin to fade. He would argue that the continued resistance to change or the resignation to status quo dulls our capacity for curiosity. So then, in order stay curious, Heifetz would suggest, “The practice of leadership requires the capacity to keep asking the basic questions of yourself and of the people in your organization and community.”

So how about it, what would be some “basic questions” that would stir your curiosity to help you become more clear about the good works God prepared in advance for you to do?

Just curious, Mike Altena


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