Ran an interesting day today at South Perth Church of Christ. It was titled Future Church Future Youth. It was sold as a forum, a discussion day in which 7 topics were floated at the start with 3 spots for discussion. People voted at the start of the day on which topics they desired to have spoken on. The winners today were –
1. The Future of Youth / Kids Ministry
2. Discipleship the Jesus way
3. Incarnational versus Attractional Model
4. (in case we had time which we didn’t) Success and how it’s measured.
Also on the vote board were –
- Leadership and it’s various expressions
- Finance Stewardship and use of resources
- What is Church?
The day went ‘nicely’. Which is what I think I said of the last thing I ran like this, the Postcards night with Steve Said.
Everyone was very ‘nice’ to each other. No biffo!
What was the point of the day? Well it was to create open discussion for painting pictures of how to take church and ministry to young people into the future and retain a sense of unity and hamony between more ‘old model’ and the more radical new models.
It didn’t really feel like anyone was radical today. There were radical things said I think, but no one seemed to react or get offended or even really badly disagree. Which all sounds good, but if what Barna says is true that by the year 2025 that 70% of people claiming to be committed to Christ will not attend a local church then what we know currently as ‘local church’ and all its trimmings is in deep poo poo. Take the basics for example, most of us there today wont have a job in 20 years in the format we have today!
No one seemed to go there, too scary? Maybe we just don’t care? Maybe the comment about future planning is at ‘0’. Meaning we don’t plan further ahead than tomorrow as it all changes too quick.
I thought it funny that people who had ample opportunity to grab the mike and give it all they had were often the ones at the end of the day saying “Oh I thought we might have spoken about this or that, or I hope for more of such and such” yet they didn’t take us there. (I may be guilty of some of this too!)
But maybe, just maybe there are some a bit punch drunk from this conversation and they have been hurt before and feel if they open their mouth and speak their mind they well be labled emergent or as a turn coat or a traditionalist etc. So for some it is easier to leave the hard things to the ones who have already nailed their colours to the mast – Thanks Hamo with one ‘M’!
But what of my other theory…That because we long so much for unity, for togetherness and ‘nicety’ we actually hear things through those rose coloured glasses.
What is said is “You guys pour so much cash into invitational ministry, we need to get out and be incarnational, stop this whole wank about buildings and programmes and so on, get out there and be Jesus”
What is heard is “Our challenge to you, our brothers in the fantastic ministries that are found within structures built with the care and dedication of human hands is that you might share the faith of the Lord in new and creative ways that involve more ministry out in the world in mission”
The response from the traditional church? “Why yes, of course, what a wonderful challenge to us to be more missional. And to you we say, Do not give up meeting together as some of you are in the habit of doing…”
Emergents – “Oh never, it’s a value of ours, to meet together“
Traditional – “Oh really? Us too, we must be the same, yes we are an emerging missional church too“
Well I mock.
I am not trying to start a biff, even though we joked today about needing more biff and at the same time called for more unity. It’s just that I think we get all mixed up with what unity looks like. I think we think it means all thinking the same way and agreeing with each other, that is uniformity not unity.
Matty B has taught me that more than any one I know. I hate it sometimes but he pushes me around with his desire to dig at our differences and points of view that conflict so that we can learn more about and from each other. It’s kind of like…well, a real friendship I guess.
It was a good day. Another day sometime in the new year would be good, along similar lines, but maybe breaking up into smaller groups for discussion and a kind of Open Space Technology conference would be the go. I’d like to try this.
But in the mean time I shall continue to walk this odd line I find myself walking more often these days. The line between the now and the not yet, the old and new. And under all of this is the line that I walk as a mate to people who I find I disagree with about a few things, big things, but it’s about loving unconditionaly and that’s hard for a sinny dude like me, I want it to be all about me and my ideas and my thoughts and what I like…God forgive my self centredness, help me to love people…no matter what they believe! Me me me me!