At any gathering of people, from a high school assembly to the General Assembly at the UN, from a conference to a rehearsal at the orchestra, the really interesting conversations and actions almost always happen around the edges.
Change almost always starts at the edges and moves toward the center.
This blog from Seth Godin makes me think immediately of collegiate ministry. I see it as the edge of mainstream ministry. It is where some exciting innovations of modern ministry are happening and where the next wave of catalytic leaders are right now.
Input – Learner – Intellection – Maximizer – Connectedness
These letters and words describe my personality based on five different personality assessments. The most valuable aspect of these personality assessments is the vocabulary they provide. They put words around the things I know are true about myself but could never articulate. They help my team understand why I think and act the way I do. They also help me understand my team better. My favorites are Strengths Finder 2.0 and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It will cost you around 2 hours and $10-$20 to take one or two of these assessments, but the payoff is tremendous.
If you can only do one thing well, what should that one thing be? Answering this question is a good path to simplicity and your most critical activity. The word “priority” can only ever truly be singular. It is impossible to have more than one thing that is “most important.”
At BCM, we made a conscious decision to prioritize disciple making. If we could only do one thing and do it well, we decided that disciple making must be the priority.
Tonight I’ve started reading Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore. His words are giving voice to a conviction I haven’t always been sure how to articulate.
“But while we are a Kingdom First people, we are not a Kingdom Only people. Jesus told us to seek both the kingdom of God “and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). We pursue justice and mercy and well-being for those around us, including the social and political arenas.” (8)
As I shared last night, I am thankful that I serve a king and not an Empire, but I can’t disengage from the culture God has called me to. None of us can. This is what it means to seek the welfare of the city we have been called to.
“Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.”
Jeremiah 29:7 HCSB
I’ve never been a very politically-minded person. I don’t have a lot of patience for politics. In this season leading up to our presidential election, I am digging in a bit to familiarize myself with the platforms and policies of the candidates so that I can make my own educated judgments about who I think should be the next president.
Some of the debates have been civil and healthy; others have been more akin to a circus. I’ve never used the word “buffoonery” more in my life than I have in the last 2 weeks. I have growing convictions about who I would prefer to win the election and who I deeply hope will not win the election. The more I come to an understanding of who these candidates are and what they stand for, the more thankful I am that I serve a king and not a president.
Like all Jesus followers, I am nothing more than an exile on mission. It is important that I (we all) seek the welfare of the city into which we have been sent as exiles. To say that Jesus is Lord is to say that Caesar is not Lord.
A person of peace is a God-prepared person just waiting to be found – and they are scattered all over campus. These people exhibit 3 traits:
- They receive the messenger.
- They receive the message.
- They receive the mission.
We are looking for them in two places – neighborhoods and networks.
On campus, residence halls are the “neighborhoods.” Majors, clubs, and organizations of all kinds are the “networks.” The Gospel is the only way to find persons of peace. Engaging every neighborhood and network is the only way to see No Place Left without a Gospel-presence. This is our mission at BCM.
Pursuit of Less
At heart, I’m a minimalist. That means I believe “less is more.”
Less is difficult.
Less demands discipline.
Less requires clarity.
Assault of More
At heart, I’m a hoarder (of mostly intangible things).
More is easy. Natural.
Technology allows/excuses more.
Follow more people on Twitter.
Subscribe to more blogs.
Say “Yes,” to more committments.
Vast sums of money are made by people who can help empower others to say “Yes,” to more and more, while never giving them an additional hour in the day, or encouraging them to first ask, “Why?”
More crowds out vital. And vital is done half-heartedly in order to make room for more.
Neverending. Always inviting.
You have 168 hours.
Split into 7 days.
The dance is learning to do the right things, not just more things.
Last week Kelly and Emily and I embarked on a road trip to Ohio to attend the wedding of two former students of ours. When Annie called to tell us the good news that she and Matt were getting married, we had only recently found out that we were parents-to-be. We couldn’t miss the wedding, so we put it on the calendar. Despite the challenges of traveling and attending a wedding with a 3 month old, it was a beautiful and joyful event.
Leaving the reception in Southeast Ohio to continue on to our old home in Northeast Ohio, we were surprised by a growing sense of sadness. The closer we got to our old home, the sadder we felt. You see, that’s an odd emotion (at least to some) because no one really seems to care that much about Akron, OH. To be fair, there are some people I know who rabidly love the place. Most would agree that Ohio isn’t high on the list of vacation destinations or retirement locations. That’s even more true of Akron in particular. The first bumper sticker I saw when we moved to Ohio said “Stuck in Ohio.” Interesting.
But in the three years we lived in Ohio, it became more than the place we lived – it became home. So a year ago (almost exactly now) when we began our transition back to NC, we were overcome with emotion and running short on time. This all started flooding back over us as we drove into town, saw our old house, our neighborhood, and friends. There even came a moment while driving through Akron when Kelly said, “I just want to take some pictures of everything.” We laughed about how that might have been the first time anyone has ever said that.
As we spent the next couple of days visiting with friends, the sadness began to subside. We were able to enjoy being present with people we love, but we both had a deep sense of confirmation that we had done what the Lord wanted us to do. We are where he wants us to be. It was a wonderful reminder that even when God calls us to say goodbye to people and places that are near and dear to us, he will bring us through it and he will give us joy in our obedience.
It was a surreal experience to be back in Ohio, but it is encouraging to see what the Lord is doing with us even now here in Boone and through BCM of the High Country.
Last time I checked, it’s been just over 8 months since I’ve posted a new update here. Certainly that’s not for lack of new things happening in the lives of us Pucketts, but maybe because of all the newness. Last time I checked in, we were just getting settled after a mostly unexpected move from Akron, OH to Charlotte, NC to Boone, NC. I alluded to lots of changes happening in the NC BCM world, and that has only progressed and continued to develop. When I accepted this position with ASU BCM, I assumed I would be taking over a fairly static ministry role with a reliable trajectory.
What I knew coming in was that the Baptist State Convention of NC (BSCNC) had made the decision to relieve their campus ministry staff of their duties and shift the ownership of the respective BCMs from BSCNC back to the local churches that surround each of the campuses. A shift this drastic is anything but painless, but the idea is to call the local churches to account for the mission fields in their own front yards. This was the rapidly unfolding situation that met us as we arrived in Boone. I can’t speak for other regions and campuses, but I can happily report that the Lord is at work here in the High Country.
Denominations and churches are not known for agile and speedy decision making – especially in a time of major transition, but in a period of around 6 months, the major building blocks were put in place to move us from Convention ownership to the launching of a non-profit organization (BCM of the High Country) overseen by a diverse Board of Directors. I am honored to serve as the Executive Director and Lead Missionary. During this time of transition, some things will remain relatively the same. The main thing that will remain is our outward focus on reaching students who are far from God. If BCM is anything, it must be a missionary hub.
There’s so much to tell that I’ll returning here to post about life and about ministry vision and updates for BCM of the High Country. Just know that I am thrilled to be where I am, and to be doing what I’m doing. Would you pray for me and my family as we hit our stride in Boone and at ASU?