still_emerging

Friday, November 03, 2006

plant, planting, planted

Church planting challenges . . . a poem:
dreaming
daring
risking
obeying
family
friends
self
new 'converts'
funding
timing
staffing
studying
gathering
growing
gleening
giving
teaching
learning
challenging
accepting
changing
adapting
releasing
reclaiming
dreaming . . .
daring . . .
risking . . .
obeying . . .
celebrating!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rethinking "Membership" in Emergent Faith Communities

Through my travels and my blogging and my various pastors webs, I have had the opportunity to connect with a wide variety of emergent faith communities. So many rich spiritual expressions exist such as to encourage my innovative/creative soul. In the midst of all the glorious diversity, and all the fruitfulness we each celebrate as we faithfully live into God's call, we each seem to hit up against the same dilemma - 'membership.'

After so many years - 5 seems to be typical - we hit a wall or block. Faith communities and their leaders need a cell of consistent, committed, spiritually mature people who can help sustain the whole, provide the coherence, create a sense of 'home base' for all the flux and flow of people and relationships our generation is becoming all too familiar with.

But how do you name this commitment, invite others into it when our very existence stems from reaching out to 'commitment-phobes,' and 'belong before you believe' has become our mantra? Is it possible that sustainability is a myth when it comes to church/faith community? (How often have I ashewed traditional local churches that are on virutal life support, wondering why they are kept alive artificially?) Is a church/faith community God-ordained with a limited life expectancy?

OR

Do we have some re-thinking to do around commitment, membership?

What might palatable, appropriate, Scriptural, Christ-centered, people-directed membership look like?