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To submit a question for James, Richella, and Nate to consider discussing on Friends in Formation, email [email protected].

The Podcast hosts dig into questions about what the term image bearer” means, how to experience and appreciate other Christian denominations, and what to do when your current situation feels less than ideal.

Show Notes

Three Listener Questions—

[2:35] My question concerns a phrase I hear you use often in Renovaré — referring to people as Image Bearers.” I must admit this always makes me sit up as it was not a phrase I had encountered much. At first I wondered if it was just a poetic way of referring to humanity, but am coming to realize it is an important truth and attitude but one I feel I have lacked — I think because my evangelical background had focused more on the depravity of Man’ and begins viewing humanity (especially oneself) from a position of sinfulness, where the Image of God is lost and only restored in Christ. Specifically, HOW you have learnt to see yourself and others as Image Bearers, not just as a theological belief but in practice, and how doing this helps your spiritual formation.

[17:46] I am currently reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (and trying, reasonably, to take my time with it), and next on the list is Streams of Living Water. Some dear church friends have begun to visit the churches of other friends — ones they know have a true, deep relationship with God — who attend churches of different denominations, in order to gain a better appreciation and understanding of their traditions. I find myself wishing that we, too, had many friends of other denominations who could not only serve as our safeguards, but with whom we could afterward discuss their traditions and church’s values, and process those of our own more objectively and reflectively. We would greatly appreciate any suggestions you could offer as to how to go about this.

[31:33] From two different listeners in ministry positions: 

  • What do you do when you feel like you are in a setting that God hasn’t called you to? I’m a new, young clergy, I graduated seminary last year and feel like I’ve been placed (or have fallen into) a ministry appointment doing work that I’m not called to do but am doing because I have the skills to do this work. What can I do to not just survive during this difficult season but thrive? And have hope that God did indeed call me into a life of ministry and I’m here in this space for a reason? 
  • After serving several different churches as a pastor for about 9 years, I am almost 1 year removed from professional pastoral ministry. I chose to stop working as a pastor because the added strain of COVID left me burnt out, depressed, and codependent. I am very grateful to say that I am in a much better place now than I have been for quite some time. I am healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally. God has provided for my family financially. My family and I are connected to a wonderful church. I can definitely tell, even now, that God has brought me to this place as a blessing to provide me with the healing I desperately needed. At the same time, I am struggling with being set aside” from ministry. I had a very clear calling experience a couple years before my pastoral ministry started. Being a pastor is the only real full-time job that I’ve had before now. I am currently working at a factory, and while it is a blessing in many ways, I find myself constantly looking to what might be next. Do you have any advice on how to better live into and accept where God has me right now? I have no doubt that I am where God wants me to be, but I still find myself constantly thinking about and planning for any and every possible next thing.”


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