Joyful Community: Is this another Utopian Dream?

What in the world is Life Model Works “Annual Gathering?’

It’s an event, an experience, an opportunity, to be in connected community with a group of people who are seeking to create more joy in the earth. Annual Gathering is a place to help individuals and organizations find, develop and maintain a secure identity rooted in who they are designed to be, and to bring to light the latest discoveries learned through relating to others in a life led by Immanuel as all try to live out the principles of Scripture.
Each year Life Model Works brings together speakers from around the nation, and friends old and new come from near and far who share in these ideal aspirations. During these three days, we spend time together, sharing lessons learned in the previous year and over the course of our unique life journeys as we both listen and interact in training exercises that prepare us as His people. In these brief days, we encourage one another and pray together and then return to labor on in the fields and corners of the Master Gardener’s Vineyards.

Poetry and Reality

Okay, there is the poetry. Now for some reality.
Many of us, the author included, struggle to find the ideals playing out in our in real lives that we read about in theoretical books, or hear impassioned speakers share with us in shiny word pictures. We glimpse visions that create longings in our hearts or we experience the high of the “conference community.” Then must return to our worlds filled with difficult people, broken and damaged relationships, and a whole crowd of folks in our towns, schools, churches, workplaces and even our families, who are not following the ideal playbook. I know the feeling of discouragement of hoping, and then, being disappointed when everyone around me is not all in on the bandwagon I want to ride into the blissful sunset.
So, what to do, what to do. At times I have been tempted just to say “Meh, I am so over new ideas, and even old ones.” Going to an awesome event, where people are excited about a thing and then left with nowhere to apply it and make a real difference, has left me languishing over the years. Feeling alone over in my muddle, at times, I have been so wounded by community negligence, or lacking leadership, that the idea of reading another inspiring book has made me grumpy. I have had a little trigger as we prepare for the launch of RARE Leadership, and RARE Community, and I am the staff event planner and promoter!

Training What We Preach

What is the solution for my pre-conference conflictedness? Well, I am glad you asked. One of the unique things I have drawn from my engagement with the Life Model Team, and participation in the events and trainings over the past few years, is that the difference is, “we train what we preach.” Oh, and we “practice” too.
I know that when I register for an event hosted by Life Model Works, that I will not just hear another round of idealistic lectures filled with concepts, but no practical application that can be taken home. For a person with a high level “doer” temperament, this has been a powerful key. I have never walked away empty, with just a utopian dream, there is always a take away intended to help me mature and make a difference in the lives of people I am involved with. In a spring garden full of weeds, we all need to learn how to cultivate the soil to produce a good harvest.
I don’t need another sub-culture or one-time feel-good rah-rah session, as a mother of 6 children with a microcosm society right in my house and multiple opportunities to get it right, or very wrong in the many relational encounters that I have, I need tools I can use to keep the love, and joy, oh and let’s not forget peace, flowing in my home and my neighborhood! Shalom is a desirable thing.

Something RARE

At Annual Gathering this year, we will all be challenged by the new work Rare Leadership which breaks down key teachings within the Life Model and Immanuel Lifestyle framework. Having read the book in advance of publishing, perk of the job, I am excited to grow in the principles of REMAINING RELATIONAL, ACTING LIKE MYSELF, RETURNING TO JOY from negative emotions, and ENDURING HARDSHIP well.
I remain hopeful that as we grow together as a people and experience the ideas, live and in person, that new insights will be taken into our hearts and fuel the flames to launch us into healthy relationships on the local level. On the local level we can impact marriages, families, the business community, churches, schools, and every kind of organization.
The goal of RARE COMMUNITY is to train enough people who are committed to press through the challenges that come with being a maturing joy starter, so that these “ideal” communities will not be so elusive, but will instead become normal, as the skills spread and transformation occurs on a personal and widespread scale.
I hope you will come hang out with us in Kansas City as we continue equipping and strengthening one another. This opportunity to train together enables us to go out and work for the common good in the places the Lord has each of us planted. Fulfilling the dreams of the Father’s heart.”
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

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