I am sitting in the Phoenix airport waiting for them to find the jet we were scheduled to take back to Minnesota.  Now before you question my sanity in wanting to return to Minnesota when it has been 80 and sunny all the while we were here, let me tell you why we came.  We along with 1,200 other Lutherans gathered at Christ Church Phoenix for a conference called “Best Practices for Ministry.”   For the last 3 days we have talk with, walked with, worshiped with and eaten with people who are Hopeful about the future of the church.  Specifically they are hopeful about their church the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

While all are witnessing the slow and long term decline of the church in America we have not given into discouragement.  This week I witnessed people who are committed to the Gospel of Christ, and it’s transformational power to church a heart.  I witnessed pastors, youth workers, educators, and laypeople who trust in the soverign Lord of the Church though his amazing Spirit to rebuild, renew and grow the church.

Through these people I learned what I have long believed to be true, Hope is contagious! The excitement and joy of ministry, the lively conversation about what’s working, and what’s not is inspiring.  The clear proclamation that the body of Christ, the church, must be in constant dialog and be a source of healing, forgiveness, and grace.  We are broken people, living in a broken world, serving in a broken church under the power of the Risen Christ, the one who restores the broken.