I actually had time today to do some of the things that I have been wanting to do. The reason for that was that I was suppose to be studying for my Hebrew Final on Monday Night. So instead I chose to do things that would help me avoid them. On that note I ran across the Presbyterian Outlook that was on my desk. It is a almost weekly magazine that is pretty well balance. With that I mean that it takes neither the progressive or conservative points of view. It does well staying neutral, at least as best as one can. Anywho… I ran across an article that stirred me. It was on the Church Unbound Conference that was held in July.Brian Blount, President of Union Theological Seminary was quoted in the article when he spoke as saying:“Well, what does an unbound church look like?” • The unbound church isn’t tethered to its safe space sanctuaries, but operates behind the enemy lines of poverty and social injustice.• The unbound church isn’t tethered to tradition, but builds upon tradition to create new traditions as it engages the world in new ways.• The unbound church isn’t tethered to just doing mission trips but has begun a journey that will recreate itself fully as a missional reality.• The unbound church isn’t tethered to the idea that church members ought all to look alike and think alike, but drags people of every physical hue and theological complexion into its spiritual and missional endeavors.• The unbound church doesn’t sit on the sidelines while politicians and lawyers and activists decide our social fate; it lives and operates as powerfully on a social and political battlefield as it does in a spiritual bubble.• The unbound church doesn’t just fight for issues that affect people in its neighborhoods or congregations, but is willing to exhaust itself and its resources on behalf of people it does not know, may never see, and will certainly never join.• The unbound church doesn’t fear fights that may cost it dearly, because the unbound church is free from fear and ready to follow Christ’s call into any and every draconian situation that is devouring God’s people.• The unbound church doesn’t do its high wire ministry act with a safety net, because it doesn’t fear falling before the dragon. It believes that no matter what happens, God will raise it up again.“Live unleashed. That is our calling.”All I can say is… wow. I wish I was there.
Out of God’s will?
Lack of loyalty?
Is Ed Young talking about me or others like me? This video piece irked me. While I do see where he is coming from the way and wording that he uses bothers me. I have one that has been involved in a New Church Development within the PCUSA. Ed is concerned about members of staffs at some time developing new “church plants” (If you watch the video he uses air quotes, nice). While there does tend to be a vacuum of people that would go with this person, would the term “church pirate” be appropriate. After all the member of one particular church is a member of the kingdom of God rather the 8th Presbyterian Church. That person’s gifts may be valuable to that new church start. A leader cannot merely lick everyone and claim them as theirs. What type of theology is that? I do not know one NCD pastor whose goal it is to take members from churches around them to start another. The desire and passion is ALWAYS for those that are on the outside. It is called having a missional mindset. One that believes that we are to be constantly sent to be part of God’s redemption for the world. We are called, gathered, and SENT. Churches are not holding tanks for people rather a place to equip people to ministry throughout the world that is the basis of trinitarian theology.
Who Ed Young is describing is me in many ways. A staff member that left to be a part of a New Church Development down the road. Was there an initial vacuum to be with me? Of course. Was there enticements for people to join me? NO. Three years down the road how many are still with me? 3. Why? The initial reasons for their leaving was more than my departure. More than that most of those are NOT attending ANY church, and that pains me more.
In the end… I am dissapointed in the words by Ed Young and feeling a little hate about church planting from him. An article that was written in response to this said that Young like church planting… just over there. And that is so true, plant a church as long as it does not effect me or my congregation. What happened to kingdom building?
It appears that Honda has caught servant evangelism as a marketing technique. What churches have been doing for years even decades has moved into the corporate world.LA Times ArticleWould you buy a Honda just because some guy with a Honda logo on his shirt helped you unload your grocery cart?Honda figures you might. For five months, local dealers have been dispatching blue-shirted crew members to pump gas at service stations, pass out popcorn at movie theaters and offer aid in supermarket parking lots. One Saturday in Pasadena, every parking meter on Colorado Boulevard was plugged and covered with a “Helpful Honda” hood that said, “It’s On Us.”You may think it would be futile to squeegee a windshield for someone who isn’t even thinking about buying a new car, but research shows that the kinds of stunts Honda is pulling can actually work.”Personal touch is a very powerful way of creating a brand message,” said Kelly O’Keefe, executive education director at the Virginia Commonwealth University Ad Center.While Honda seeks to establish name recognition, I have seen churches follow this same model. At previous churches we have walked neighborhoods giving away 9-volt batteries, reminding people that during daylight savings time that they need to be changed. While not pushing “church” upon them. Only that we cared about them. In that same way, I have seen water given away in shopping mall parking lots, light-bulbs dropped off at people houses, and many other creative ways. However it is not some gimmick but a real way to tell people we care about them and share the love of Jesus.
For years I have been ranting about my passion. A passion to get people back in church. Now you are saying, “of course is that what we are suppose to be doing?”. Yes…. but. I have a burning desire to see teenagers, especially the ones that use to be a part of a youth program back in church. Statistics now say that up to 90% of former church/ youth group members leave the Church by the sophomore year in college. Ouch. I long for some of those former “kids” to get back into church. The burning desire for them to seek God has faded into the background. Former conventional church wisdom said that they would come back when they start to have a family and want their kids raised within the church. Flash to reality: NO THEY ARE NOT!I was reading an article in the Presbyterian Outlook that talks about Christian Education in this “less Christian culture”. The read was interesting at it describes how our view of ministry needs to change and think out of the box. This is not new to me, but I am seeing an undercurrent as more churches begin to see the need to shift how they think and do ministry. Quinn Fox, the author describes what he sees: “Increasingly the word “missional” is used to describe both the situation in which the church finds itself, and the strategy for us to follow in this “post-Christendom” era. Eddie Gibbs gives a succinct definition: “Missional refers to those congregations who see Western culture [because it is no longer Christian] as a field ripe for mission engagement, thus acknowledging that the period known as Christendom is over.” The article continues and looks at several different aspects of how Fox sees the difference in becoming a missional church.Often we adjust the way we do church to the communities needs, such as emphasis on homelessness, violence, and demographics. But why do we not change it with the cultural and post christian times we live?