Two things I’m seeing, One thing I know

Jun 05, 2024
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Jenna Blackwell Report from the MALD

Two things I’m seeing, One Thing I Know

From the field:

1. People are engaging in deep transformation, 

2. People are hungry for spiritual conversations, especially young adults,

Known truth: God is over it all.

People Engaging in Deep Transformation

I think I have one of the most privileged jobs. I get to sit with people as they wrestle through the ups and downs of this journey we call life – through truth and scars, opportunities and failures, hopes and disappointments.

There isn’t a greater privilege than being beside people in some of their most vulnerable processing. I’m not a counsellor; I’m a coach, a pastor and a friend. But ultimately, I’m a child of God and co-heir with Jesus, and none of this is possible without that being the foundation.

Recently, I had a very odd encounter with a stranger that left me feeling quite perplexed (to say the least). On my way to my next meeting, I was praying, “God, you need to have this, because I don’t – I’ve got nothing – I need you to lead this session.” I tried to listen to Holy Spirit, I followed leads, and as we went around in circles, I felt I was leading them on a wild goose chase that would not be useful. But God knows what He’s doing, even if it makes no sense to us.

Maybe you’ve experienced ‘a-ha’ moments when things suddenly start making sense.
You understand why you get annoyed about something that shouldn’t bug you, or you realise how your perspective on something is hindering the very change you wish to see.

Or you simply see the various unrelated threads that all come back to a core issue or belief.

God’s work as Counsellor

This is the privilege I get to see on a regular basis. The Holy Spirit prompting something in someone that takes them to a deeper level of insight, understanding and wisdom.

It is a privilege to share a moment in that person’s journey. I say a moment, because God’s work as Counsellor is continuous. We rarely change suddenly. Change happens through a continuum of opportunities to go deeper with God, and I love walking with people as they embrace these opportunities.

Women’s Collective

One space that I get to see this, in addition to individual coaching, is in the Women’s Collective. This initiative started in 2023, co-created with my friend and housemate (Gabi). The Women’s Collective is collaborative and non-denominational. It seeks to encourage and equip women to lead.

Our vision is to create a safe and empowering space for women to process life, leadership, and ministry. We gather in homes, with intentionality and vulnerability, and we share a space to process life and leadership as women in our various contexts. This is a collaborative collective that is deeply encouraging and inspiring for all involved.

We had a hunch there was a need… We didn’t realise how right we were!

People are hungry for belonging and community; but they are also hungry for spiritual conversation.

Last year, some friends and I gathered with a shared heart for people to have a space to wrestle with questions about life and faith. For people to have a place to belong – a community – where no question was too silly or naïve or wrong. A place where their experience and the world’s culture could be challenged. A place that would be an initiator of community, transformation, hope and faith.

So we joined together, from different churches, with a shared heart and a hunch that maybe there was a need for this sort of space, especially among young adults. We didn’t realise how great the need was. Since starting in February, we’ve had 20-30+ young adults coming each night. We’ve had friends bringing friends, new people at each gathering, and a core group returning.

The process is simple, really. We share a meal, we offer a ‘thought’, and we invite discussion. It’s not rocket science. It’s genuine hearts with a genuine hope for genuine transformation through genuine community.

Do you get the emphasis? It’s genuine. Maybe it is radical, if that’s not your norm.

But younger generations (in particular) smell ‘fake’ and ‘programs’ from a mile away. If their radar senses you’re not authentic, you’ll only see the back of them. But genuine connection – real hearts of love and compassion – this is what they’re craving.

Young people are hungry for spiritual conversations. The great thing is that you don’t need to facilitate a group like this. It doesn’t have to be a big thing.

Over to You

Who do you know that you could come alongside? Who are some people you can invite over for dinner? Or have a cuppa with? Who are the young people you know? Invest in them.

A Few Points of Advice:
– Listen more than you talk
– If you don’t agree, wait, listen, ask ‘wondering’ questions
– Avoid yes/no questions
– ‘Could you tell me more about that?’ is a great invitation

Two things I’m seeing, One Thing I Know

God is Over it All 

This shouldn’t have to be stated, but let the record show:

It is God who works in us (Phil 2:13) and,
It is not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph 2:1-10)

We have the privilege to partner with God; we have the invitation to know God.
And, we have the responsibility to reveal God and God’s heart.

Jenna Blackwell

Jenna Blackwell works part-time for Tasmanian Baptists and is responsible for Leadership Development. She is a Christian Coach, with a particular interest in spiritual and personal formation. Jenna also pastors part-time at City Baptist Church Launceston, as their formation pastor. She’s currently involved in the Women’s Collective and Re-Imagine – the two initiatives mentioned in this article.

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