D-n-A Experience Wins Grant

A new CTS initiative, called the D-n-A (Discerning and Affirmed) Experience: Saying ‘Yes’ to God’s Plan for Your Ministry, has been awarded $5000 by the Black Leadership Projects Grant committee of the Disciples Home Missions (DHM). In announcing the grant, Sheila P. Spencer, DHM Director of Christian Education/Faith Formation, said the committee believed the initiative would be an effective tool in developing and nurturing leadership within the African American Disciples Community and Congregations.

The target audience for the D-n-A Experience is African American seminarians, young adult worship leaders, lay ministers and clergy ages 18-50. This age range purposely encompasses Millennials, Generation X and the youngest Baby Boomers with the understanding that this mix of generations is essential to the healthy inner workings of the Church. People, ages 18-50, are in a momentum-building station of life. The church can benefit from this broad demographic prophetically, creatively, and financially.

Some of the people from this group are currently walking away from their vocational calling, not because they want to, but because of they are discouraged or burned out. Financial hardship, gender discrimination, and ageism can make it hard to follow one’s calling. Also, many existing practitioners lack an effective support system of peers and mentors to encourage their vision. All of this can lead to “default” modes of ministry or simply walking away.

As envisioned by Rev. Monique Crain Spells, the D-n-A Experience would help return vitality and spirit to people in the ministry who need it most. “Our biblical context is Ezekiel 37:1-4,” she explained. “The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.”

The intention of the project is to stir up the unrealized gifts in this segment of the faith community, awaken ‘bones’ dried from doubt or fear, and establish a new culture of bold ministry with African American young adults, seminarians, lay ministers and clergy. Energized by powerful preaching, discernment workshops, action plans, round table discussions about common obstacles, and the partaking of a meal together, D-n-A Experience participants will come away spiritually organized and enthused about the next steps in their ministries.

The tentative date for the D-n-A Experience is March 20-21, 2015. The objective of the two-day program will be to awaken that which is dormant and/or give birth to new visions. Special attention will be paid to what God has said before, what God is saying now, and how we should respond as strategic stewards of the resources at our disposal – time, talent, treasure and influence.

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