A couple of weeks ago I watched Jared Siebert eat lunch. Between mouthfuls of kale soup and toast, Jared spoke about a significant experience he had back in May at the Missio Alliance North American Gathering held in, Alexandria, VA. The experience has led to profound changes in his leadership approach and the direction of New Leaf.
Missio Alliance brings together church leaders and asks them, “to imagine anew what it means to be “raised with Christ,” for the sake of the gospel, and the sake of your own life.” The “imagining” took the form of plenary sessions, workshops and conversation forums. On Friday evening, a new acquaintance asked Jared if she could pray for him. Open to the request, a small group of people laid hands on him. The group prayed. Jared wept.
Still processing this powerful experience weeks later Jared has arrived here, “I think what God was communicating to me was the need to lead from a place of vulnerability rather than strength. To lead from my questions and not from answers. To expose my desire to see Canadians connect with the Jesus story. My longing for that. My desperation for that. And to not remain aloof from these really serious problems facing the church.”
New Leaf is a Jared thing. It’s an eco-system of greenhouses. Translation: a supportive collective of church planters helping each other “bring their God-given gap filling dreams into reality.” The support part comes in the form of New Leaf’s Church Plant Design Shop hosted by Jared. This three day interactive gathering of church planters from all stages explores and encourages contextual thinking, cultural responsiveness and mission adaptability. And this support is for all church plants – not just FMCiCers.
New Leaf’s latest form of support came in the form of Convergence, a gathering to discuss the formation of something new in Canada. I asked Jared why Convergence, “I felt led by the spirit to do it. That’s the simple answer. It was to see what God was up to. What he would do.” Pretty vulnerable stuff.
Jared sent out the Convergence email invitation with the following, “I have been growing increasingly frustrated because you are all doing such interesting and innovative things (or you long to). And yet you feel alone. You wish you had someone to talk to. You long for a mentor. You feel all of these things and yet you remain unaware of the people who are right around the corner from you doing and feeling many of the same things. Some of you have been more fortunate and have tiny pockets of support or you’ve learned to be self-sufficient. But not all of your brothers and sisters have been so lucky. Something needs to change.”
And what did happen at Convergence? “God brought together a group of people that I think want to form a community and help each other. A lot of us tend to go on our own. I think God wants that to stop and for us to look after each other.”
New Leaf is currently forming a leadership group – so that it’s not just Jared flying solo – part of the whole looking after each other bit. A directory of Canadian church plants, a story telling project about church planting in Canada and regular online church planting hangouts are all also in the works.
I’m happy I watched Jared eat lunch that day. I feel like I got a peak at the first pages of a pretty cool story that is just being written. My head was spinning as I walked away but I knew I wanted to be part of where New Leaf is headed. If you want in on the action or just more information go to the New Leaf website or send Jared an email.