Gordon Cosby, Midwife to the Dreams of God
In the early 1980’s, I was exposed to poverty and suffering on a global scale. But, through several life-changing encounters, I found Jesus to be very present there! I went back to my church, with my heart broken, but also racing with ‘what-if” kinds of questions that I thought might help both the materially poor, and those of us whose poverty is more of a spiritual type. My church did what it could, to give me a place to start from. I started an organization, and named it The Center For Sharing. It began to grow- so much so that the time came when my church began to feel that CFS activities were over-shadowing other important priorities and commitments the church had. And so…I found myself and my fledgling organization out on our own. I passionately wanted to help others discover that our spiritual health depends on our connection to the poor, but I was a lay-person, with no formal training in theology or non-profit work; I had no training methods or curriculum.
I count it both a miracle and a confirmation of God’s call on my life, that during that time I met a man who happened to introduce me to his community of faith: Church of the Savior in Washington D.C. Their pastor, Gordon Cosby, believed that all people are made in God’s image- and hence, encoded with a special gift to give the world. We are to be about the work of helping one another to discover that good work, and put it into action. People who were called to the same type of ministry/work/service joined what he called “mission groups”. And these folks were just lay-people like me! Yet together, in these tiny communities of faith, they were birthing powerful, transformative organizations small and large, to address the needs of their city around homelessness, job creation, addiction, the elderly, etc.
How did they do it?! I discovered they had started a ‘servant leadership school’, through which they sought to prepare lay-people for living life together in depth community with Christ, while serving specific people groups, as their true vocation. They referred to this as the ‘inward-outward’ journey of discipleship.
My friends at C of S introduced me to many world class guides such as Mother Theresa and Henri Nouwen. They also helped CFS established our own servant-leadership school in 1995. Today, our alumni are teaching these S-L principles in 4 countries.
Gordon was not a great writer, public speaker or world traveler. He preferred to stay rooted in his inner-city neighborhood, amongst his flocks, as a faithful midwife, until God called him home on March 20, 2013 at the age of 95. Thank you Gordon.
Read more about this visionary servant leader here, or simply search for his name on Google–You’ll find that many lives were touched in the same way ours have been: