By Tom Ehrich

I fly down to Tampa, Florida, today to work with four Episcopal congregations that want to think boldly and collaboratively about where God is leading them.

No more “business as usual,” said one pastor. Not because they are dying — for, in fact, they are holding their own — but because God needs more from them, and so do the communities they serve.

We will be working together for several months. Not a quick in-and-out workshop, but a sustained and, they hope, transformative look ahead.

I applaud their willingness to look outward and forward. As I wrote in this morning’s On a Journey meditation, “We settled Christians spend way too much time looking inward, tending to our internal affairs, asking each other what we want, performing for each other, sharing good times.”

God wants more from us and has more to give us. The crux is looking outward to discern and going outward to serve.

What will come of this time together? I have no idea. Neither do they. That is the mystery and grace of pioneering. But I think we can be sure the way forward will be different, risky, exciting, rewarding, difficult, and life-changing.

Please pray for this hardy band of pioneers.

Photo: Central Nebraska, the harsh world where Willa Cather’s pioneer family settled and gave rise to her 1913 book, “O Pioneers!” about an immigrant family who struggled to build a farm as less hardy souls were fleeing the prairie.