of faith: “When my dad was dying, he said that he assented to faith in an intellectual way, but had felt ‘allergic’ to a personal relationship with God.” Her father’s confession prompted Rawlings to

“spend more time sitting with God. The Spirit does speak, but our world is so busy, with so much noise; so in order to hear what the Spirit is saying, I sit in silence, to listen.” Students at The Sanctuary also often sit in

quietness. “My sermons are very conversational, and I leave room for questions,” Rawlings said. Often her questions are greeted by silence from introverted students. “I almost stopped doing it,” she admitted, “but then I found out that they loved it.” She realized that students might ponder a question for days before reaching out to her to ask, “How do we read the Bible?” or “How do I remember that God loves me every day?” Many of the students identify as LGBTQ+, and

Rawlings, who is bisexual, knows that to lead such conversations for those who are in a critical stage of their faith development means “being real and practicing what I preach … being open about when and how I struggle.” Rawlings’ own practices of listening to God

through centering prayer also shape the small group conversations she leads. “We check in each week with two questions: Where have you seen God, and where do you need prayer? Knowing they will have to answer these questions encourages them to look for God in their week,” she said.

“Proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed” “I often think about what is different between a church organization and a nonprofit,” said Laura Carson, deacon and faith formation coordinator at Peace Lutheran Church, Las Cruces, N.M. She finds that it is precisely faith that makes all the difference in what it means to be a leader in the church. “The church makes decisions based upon faith,

not just the bottom line,” she said. The ability to trust that “it’s in God’s hands,” Carson continued,

Illustration: Elizabeth Wang, T-00065-0L-V1, © Radiant Light,

“ From the moment we are born, we are part of God’s family and community, called to reflect the love of God in the world.”


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