by Ryan Boettcher
When Bishop Todd first called me to help him in the early development of the Telos Collective in late 2016, I knew that the work ahead of us was going to be important. The church’s engagement with culture has been a relevant conversation for a long time now, but its significance has only heightened in the past 7-8 years. And this work—to create a generative space for Christian leaders to engage Gospel-culture issues in light of the Kingdom—has been invaluable to so many.
Since its inception, I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with leaders who have engaged Telos through our conferences, podcast, and other resources who were earnestly seeking a non-anxious community of like-minded leaders to reflect, process, and engage the myriad of challenges and opportunities that have emerged in our world. And wherever these leaders were coming from ecclesially, they found a second home with us. This collective of leaders that have gathered and connected will continue to exist far beyond the “walls” of Telos.
As I have reflected on our five major themes—Gospel of the Kingdom, Cultural Engagement, Missional Ecclesiology, Missional Leadership, and the Holy Spirit and Transformation—and how we have explored these topics, there has emerged a clear shape to what constitutes the heart of the Telos Collective. At its core, there is a convergence of three influences. First, Telos has been a space to re-examine what it means to be missional, a word that has been historically hard to define. At our best, we intended conversations to center around pursuing a faithful witness to the justice and mission of God in the world. Second, Telos has been a space to lean into and share in the kind of spiritual formation (a la Willard, Foster, and others) that deepens and nourishes our witness in the world. Third, Telos has created a unique space to explore the depths of the sacramental and liturgical traditions to help strengthen and orient our witness in the world around Christ the center.
Missional. Formational. Sacramental. As one who has been embedded in this work for Telos since the beginning, it is hard to recall a favorite moment or highlight from a conference, podcast, or article, because there have been so many! The highlight for me from the beginning: having the opportunity to gather leaders together and host countless conversations centered around the missional, formational, and sacramental witness of the Church and its people. As Telos comes to an end on March 1, 2022, I have been grateful to have been a part of this work. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.
Moving forward, I will be serving as full-time associate rector at Church of the Resurrection South Austin. I would love to hear from you anytime! Email me.
Ryan Boettcher is the associate director of the Telos Collective. He is also the associate rector at Resurrection South Austin and co-owner of Modern Liturgic. Originally from Milwaukee, he and his wife, Bliss, and their three boys moved to Austin, TX and are enjoying the Texas sun. They have a baby girl on the way.