Wednesday, April 19, 2006

g*d t*lk

The faith community I am guiding, "Sanctuary" is growing up. And I am 'busting my buttons' with pride. I inherited some gun-shy people from a failed church plant, and have been ever so patient and careful not to overwhelm them, or force them to move faster than they were ready. However, meeting twice monthly was getting to be 'not enough' for me and - I can't help it - creative ideas, dreams of what could be, visions of where we could go were just flowing in my spirit. So, after they had come back from an emergent cohort conversation totally inspired, I suggested that we try something similar in our own backyard. It just felt like it was time to try some of my creative dreamy things.

It felt scary to them at first. But the more they wrestled through their own fears, the more they started getting energized about it. Then they began applying some of what they have discovered about evangelism (see previous post) to develop a few guidelines: we are not doing this to recruit people, or convert them, or criticize them, or to convince them to change their thinking; we are not trying to make them join "Sanctuary;" we will buy the first pitchers of beer :) ; we will keep it real by being authentic ourselves (not hard for this very spiritual but unreligious group of mine); and so on.

We are all convinced that God is at work in the world. We have noticed that the less manipulative/directive our conversations with people are the more readily they share some of the ways they are noticing God's movement. And this from 'non-Christians!' So g*d t*lk, as we have come to call our community conversation is about creating space for people to notice, name, and celebrate God's activity. Each noticing, naming, celebrating, is like praises of thanks to God for these acts of love and grace and mercy and conviction and . . . .

In that same way, this post is a noticing, naming and celebrating of how God is acting to heal and grow the people of Sanctuary. That God would give them courage to try this 'risky venture" is nothing short of glorious!

g*d t*lk


may 2nd
7 pm

grand haven

Mission As Being

“Been there, done that, bought the book.” This is the sentiment that best sums up the attitude of the people in my faith community regarding many of the S.O.P.’s of the institutional church. From structure to leadership to worship to discipleship, we know what no longer resonates for us and have done some really courageous work around deconstruction. Now we are on a glorious adventure of refining and redefining the theology and practice of our faith in thoughtful, prayerful ways – ways that make sense to us and find connection with those to whom we minister.

Currently, we are engaged in rethinking mission. We have been struck by all that we have had to unlearn – mission as that which takes place “overseas” and is only done by “missionaries;” evangelism as “a logical line of reasoning;” and salvation as “closing the deal” or “praying the prayer.” It has taken great intentionality to release the negative associations many of us have. But at last we are at a place of remarkable ‘discovery’ that has less to do with what we do and more to do with who we are.

We now experience God using our relationships, our skills, our passions, and even our hobbies to bring God’s healing to a broken world. Released from unworkable definitions we have found freedom to name ourselves as missionaries. Liberated from outmoded practices we willingly “do the work of an evangelist.” Together we are reclaiming mission, redefining it in ways that feel fresh and true to ourselves, and are as natural as breathing, as instinctive as being.