As an agent of God’s action through the church, what inspires you and describes your reason for why you do what you do?

My prayer and hope is that I am an agent of God's work through his church....not an agent of my goals and ideas.  His call to me to serve in a ministry role was not a career move, it was not a decision to create a legacy, but simply a decision to continue to walk through the doors that He has continued to open.

I am an agent of God's action.  What inspires me is God's love that does not quit; that seeks us out and that invites us to explore another path.  In my ministry this love is what I hope others find and are surrounded by.
  • The fellowship and community I have in this body. The desire to have others share this experience. The reality that the Christian life is not a One person activity. The element of learning from others. 

  • Suderman suggests that one of Jesus' convictions is that God's reign "has become present in some new and unprecedented way." (p3)   When the hungry are fed, when the marginalized are welcomed, when the oppressed experience justice,  we experience tangible expressions of God's wisdom incarnate. Congregationally, these are significant expressions of being missional.... there is however, reluctance to connect personally with neighbours. When I can balance being and doing rather than focus alone on doing, I / the church is participating as an agent of change. Why do I do what I do... I feel a strong sense of call/vocation to the church.... not for the maintenance of structure, budget, programs, etc., but as a member of a faith community that reflects God's love and care and God's yearning for the healing of God's beautiful and broken creation.

  • I strive to be an agent of God's action through the church.  I believe in the church's role as a primary agent of God's reconciling work in the world.  The church is the continuation of God's creation of peoplehood.  Somehow God works through calling imperfect people gathered into an imperfect community.  My inspiration for doing what I do comes from the times when we get it right.  When I see growing passion for Jesus in a young person.  When I see a group within the congregation passionate about racial justice and intentionally learning about indigenous concerns, hoping to be a part of reconciliation.  When the church joins together in wholehearted worship of God.  When a group of congregations gets together to work with the town towards solutions around homelessness.  When a congregation together grieves a death by suicide and decides to take mental health concerns seriously.   These are some examples of what inspires me and keeps me excited to be part of the church.

  • Why be a part of the church, and as a pastor no less? I know God works both inside and outside the church. The church has failed over and over again. The church can be overly institutional, exclusive, cliquey, and insular. The church can be caught up in colonialistic and oppressive systems. And yet... and yet... I find myself over and over again drawn into the church and its people and its vision. Part of this is the vision of the church we see in Scripture and see through the person and ministry of Jesus. I want to be a part of the love, grace and healing work of God through the church. But it is also the lived reality of the church and the people of God that I have seen and observed and experienced. I have seen an honest search for truth and integrity of faith and living. I have seen compassion and love shown in unexpected and bounteous ways. I have seen lives transformed. I have seen tough issues named and struggled with. I have seen multiple generations coming together in friendship, community and worship - where else in society does that happen? I have seen worship that has lifted me and inspired whole communities in praise of God and in responses of service and reconciliation in our world. I have seen the church connected acrross cultures and time and becoming more and more an inter-cultural church. I have seen churches and the people of God confess and address their failings and by the grace of God move towards greater understanding and growth and healing. I have seen churches enter deeply and vulnerably into their own pain and into the pain and suffering of the world. I have seen churches make a difference in their community through the inspiration of the gospel. All these draw me again and again to be a part of the people of God.
In spite of all the issues within the church, I see it as a place of hope, a place where community is vital, and where God shows up in amazing and wonderful ways.... especially when we step outside the walls of our buildings and invite Him to love the world through us.  I am inspired by the fact that God chooses to invite me to be His face, His hands and feet in our world.  Thanks be to God!

When I acknowledge and give the Holy Spirit full reign to operate in my life, using my natural abilities and spiritual gifting, then I consider myself a free agent of God's action through the church.  However, this is a life-long aspiration hindered by sin, self-interests and motivations not of God.  In order to overcome these hindrances, it's important to recognize my own shortcomings before God in prayer and confession.  When I do find myself acting in harmony with the Triune Spirit, there is life-giving transformation in healing of relationships, in worship and in prayer within the church and my personal life.

My inspiration is to be in right relationship with God desiring to serve as a free agent in the church (God's kingdom here on earth).  My faith in Christ is foundational to committing my life to serving others both within the church and in my community.  With the help of the Spirit, I witness the transformation of lives turned over to Christ and this what inspires me to go forth into the world proclaiming the gospel to those who are willing to listen.

  • I hope to be an agent of God's action through the church! I have been a recipient of God's healing, redeeming love and want to pass that on to others. I am blessed and humbled to serve as a pastor, on the front lines of leadership (and follower-ship) with a group of people that are similarly engaged in receiving and sharing God's powerful vision of shalom for the entire world.

  • One way that I seek to be God’s agent is in my work in congregations. I continue to be inspired by the Scriptures, and I delight in learning new ways this ancient text speaks into our lives. When I have the opportunity to preach in a church, or when I interact with people, I hope to bring this good news into the sermon, into the ways I speak, into the prayers and the rituals and even into the way the space is set up, so that the gathered church is blessed and inspired. I hope that as we return to our homes and our daily lives, we take the love and grace we have received from God and share it with others in our words and in our actions.

  • God continues to act in the world to save, deliver, reconcile, restore, and redeem. I want to be part of what God is doing, and I believe God has invited me to participate as a leader in the church. I am grateful to God for this grace. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:1 "Therefore since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart." My desire is to carry out this calling faithfully. We are not called to be the individuals of God, but the people of God. I hope to encourage, and to equip each person in my congregation to hear God's invitation to participate in what God is doing. I hope to call out gifts and afford opportunities to serve. I hope to unite the congregation around a common vision of God's reign. I hope to model humility, acknowledging my own brokenness and need for God, so that others might also be sincere before God. I hope to instill confidence in God's ability to do more than we can ask or imagine, and to make even our failures meaningful. We pray "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Then we live out of that perspective every day until we die or Jesus returns. Until that time, the struggle continues.

I seek to be an agent of God's action through the church, but I fall short of the ideal.  I resonate with sometimes feeling significant distress about the huge gap between how the church expresses its identity in the world, and what the Bible calls us to.  The church can be a place of wounding, and the polarities of the world are equally present in the church.  And yet, I remain in the church, and I am still a pastor, because I believe that the vision of the kingdom of God cast in Scripture is worth seeking and finding. Like the parable of the person seeking treasure buried in the field, I'm still in the field searching.

I hope and pray that I am an agent and not a hindrance to God's action through the church in the world.  My choice to be an agent has come from a call to serve delivered to me by and through God's people.  I am also personally motivated by the vision the church has for the reign of God in the world.

  • I believe being an image of God makes me somehow a reflection of God's being through my life and action as a human being. Vocationally as a church leader knowing God and making God known to others is what I intentionally do despite my shortcomings. The love of God and what Jesus has done through, his incarnation, life, ministry and his death on the cross inspires me beyond my comprehension. The history of the church as the body of Christ and what God has done through the church both to manifest His presence among humanity and to change lives very tangibly -Spiritual, Physical, Social, Economical and other aspects of human life is also the other wing of my inspiration to be an agent of God's action in the ministry I am engaged in.

  • As an agent of God's action through the church, I am inspired and guided by the person and teaching of the incarnate Christ Jesus.  Progressively I have become aware of how Jesus' critique and challenge of "his church" contributed to his crucifixion.  I am concerned about how easily, throughout Mennonite history, we have and still do "slide" into patterns of doing church so similar to that of Jesus' time.  Hopefully,  we can face some of these practices and creatively change them to reflect the spirit of Jesus in his worship of and obedience to God.

  • Yes, I believe I am called to work with God in helping the church to be the church.  I have worked at this both in congregational ministry as well as in community ministry.  I’d say a key thing that inspires me is a belief that God is always working for good even in bad situations or where evil has been done. I believe God has used difficult and hard experiences in my life to equip me to minister to others. This gives me hope even when things seem hopeless at times.  I also know that everything doesn't rest on me but rather that I am simply called to do my part and allow the Spirit to work through this and beyond this and sometimes in spite of this when I fall short.

I do understand myself to be an agent of God's action through the church, though I also understand myself to be a frequent recipient of God's action - both through and beyond the church.  I continue to be gripped and compelled by the world that I see through the gospel story.  Especially the presence and power of God through our frequent experiences of loss, brokenness and pain.  Through the pandemic and beyond, I have recognized how much I need the church to keep me from turning inward and concerning myself only with the life of the smallest circle around me.  Being part of the church awakens me to larger realities outside of my own daily concerns.  And the regular patterns of worship attune me to God's presence in my life and community.  I do see God's action in hospitality, care, service and celebration through the church.

But I also find myself the recipient as much as or more than the agent.  I am regularly surprised by where I experience the presence of the risen Christ.  Not always at the centre, but often on the margins.  Not always in the places of wisdom, but also in places of foolishness.  I find myself learning as much as teaching and receiving as much as sharing.  And so I like to imagine the church like a child full of wonder and anticipation.  Ready to be surprised and delighted, expecting something amazing to show up around every corner.  I do what I do because from this posture the wonders truly do not cease.

  • I believe the church is called to join in God's dreams for the world. I want to be part of a community who is steeped in, inspired, and challenged by the love of God embodied in Jesus. For me, the church has been an avenue of God's revelation and through the church I have, and continue to realize my identity as a beloved child of God. Through shared worship and story, laughter and wonder,  and even through tears and brokenness, I want to be part of others claiming and living out that identity.

  • I try to be an agent of God's action. Over the course of my life I have tried to act in both word and deed and more recently working on prayer/ contemplation and action.
    If we as individuals and as a congregation can be salt and light in our community, then we are following in Jesus' footsteps. 

  • I aspire to be an agent of God's action, particularly his restoration and reconciliation. What inspires me are congregations who also take this work seriously, particularly several congregations with whom I've worked to 're-imagine' how they might join God's restoration project out of very painful histories full of conflict. I've seen the Spirit revive and refresh them, turning them into places of healing and restoration for others.

I desire to be "an agent of God's action through the church"  or "an instrument of God's healing and hope in my life and ministry".   I am inspired:  by gestures of generosity inspired by faith expressed in time, talent, and treasure that work for the good of the whole;  worship that incorporates music and art and word that stirs an inner sense of the mystery of God's presence; and by bringing people together for the purpose of creating deeper and richer community relationships.   I felt a call to pastoral ministry that has been confirmed and reaffirmed through the years.  (and in all honesty, I also appreciate a salary to pay my bills.)

  • Because God matters to me, the God I have gotten to know through Jesus. I want what I see Jesus offering and demonstrating and I think others would want it too. I also think the world is a mess and the kingdom Jesus described is the only way to fix it. 

  • As a representative of God's mission in the world, my role as a pastoral leader is to support and equip the members of the church so that they can participate, both as individuals and as a faith community, in their call to actively engage in supporting God's mission in the world.  I am inspired when I see individuals and congregations exercising that call well and thriving as they do so. 

  • I'm inspired by Jesus Christ and his disciples (the church), the kingdom of God he embodied, acted out of and proclaimed. 

  • Jesus inspires me.  His teaching, example, and love are so radically different from the self focused, violent ways of humanity.  I am drawn to the beauty of a life and kingdom ruled by a benevolent creator and king who is reconciling all things to His good and perfect design.  The moments when I see God’s ways in action, people pursuing justice, showing mercy, and in humble harmony with God, those moments invite me to live the same way and invite others to do the same. I also recognize that I have been created and formed uniquely to proclaim, through words and actions, the Good News that Jesus shows us a wonderful God.  I cannot, not minister this way.  It is who I am and called to be and I feel it in my bones.
The now and not yet Kingdom popping up all around the world through God's church is a beautiful image to me. To hopefully help in restoration and reconciliation in my community and for our church to be known as loving.
  • God has called us to support one another; and Scripture is clear as far as sharing and encouraging one another. 

  • I want and hope to be an agent of God's action through the church as described, but perhaps others would be more objective than I regarding my success at this.  My disillusionment with the church powerfully and negatively impacted my life as a young man, so when I caught a biblical vision of the church at age 24, I just wanted to do everything I could to narrow the gap between that vision and the reality people experience. 

  • I am in a place where I can see what others can't see. I am inspired as I witness to how God calls people.


My belief is that the church has become a service club without the big lunch. I believe, as clergy, my call (along with all Christians) is to share the Good News of Jesus with others, to be a light in the darkness of a secular, consumer-oriented world, or like the little flower that shoots up between the cracks in our cement walkway.