Wednesday, January 26, 2011

God and a people on the move

I have added the logo "Friend of Missional" to the blog - you can click on the logo to go directly to the site for a more detailed description. This is just one of many places where a conversation about what it means to be a mission-centered church is happening. While words and images can be used to talk about "missional", for me the conversation is the reflection of a growing set of deeper understandings about the church AND about what it means to be a Christ-follower. Over the coming weeks, I would like to share some of these understandings, and would love to hear your thoughts.

We cannot talk about our mission as Christ-followers without first talking about God. Creator, Initiator, Redeemer, Peace, Father, Mother - - all of these names for God imply a God of action. The story of scripture further reveals a God who shows compassion, delivers judgment, changes course, journeys with people, and one who shows up in a variety of ways in the lives of all kinds of people. God is a Being of action.

One of the results to being open to the missional conversation is my growing understanding of the way in which God continues to be a God of action and intervention today. While the Bible is a revelation of God, God's story is not finally or completely contained in scripture. God is not finished shaping, calling, creating, renewing and transforming. Therefore, we as God's followers are called to stay open and attentive to how God is acting today. As the church, we are called to be a collection of Christ-followers seeking to respond to God's activity and to move along with God.

Part of my vision for church planting is to foster a space where we can discern together how God is still acting today. Church should never be about delivering a fixed set of doctrines, but about listening, learning and growing together. I want us to engage in conversation. Where do we hear, feel and see God acting our world, in our community, and in our individual lives? How should we respond? Instead of being an institution of religion, how can we be a people moving with God?

I pray that whatever shape this new church takes it will honor the God of action that is revealed in scripture and that continues to be revealed today.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A little reassurance

I have really enjoyed Seth Godin's insights on leadership, creativity and change in recent days. His blog post for today gets right to the point. Read it here, and be encouraged as I was to appreciate the necessary struggle that comes with real change. It can be easy to change the words, but far more difficult to change our attitudes, actions, programs and practices.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We need a name!

I had several friends give me reasons why they do not blog when I announced my plan to start blogging about my church starting venture. The number one reason was, of course, that they knew they would not keep up. Well, now I get it - - with all of the other emails, phone calls, FB conversations and in-person meetings, it can get difficult to keep up with another correspondence, but I'm back at it...

As this new year began, I did a little reflecting on the journey thus far. There has certainly been a mixture of excitement, fear, anticipation, wonder and doubt. There have been times when I've wondered what in the world prompted me to say 'yes' to this new direction, and other times when I can't imagine myself anywhere else doing anything else in the world. I've been surprised on more than one occasion, sometimes by a new friendship, other times by an opportunity for ministry that came to me in the midst of trying to begin a place for ministry. It has been chaotic, unstructured and overwhelming, yet also beautiful to watch something take shape that I could not possibly have formed with my own hands.

Perhaps of all the lessons learned, I am most moved by the reminder of God's power to create something out of nothing. I do not always sense God's presence or God's guidance, but looking back, I can see evidence of it. For that, I am so grateful.

As I look ahead, I am anticipating moving forward in a couple of ways. Tomorrow, I begin looking at a few options for meeting spaces for weekly gatherings that will begin on Sunday evening, March 6th. These gatherings for prayer, study, conversation and community mission will also serve as a crucial time of identity formation for a core group of individuals and families. However, before we can invite others to join us, we need more than just an identity, we need a name! We need a name that is not only meaningful to a dynamic and economically/racially diverse neighborhood in transition, but one that also reflects a faith community committed to:

• Offering radical love and hospitality to all people in the name of Christ.
• Being a voice for unity among a community fragmented by race and economic divisions.
• Engaging in worship, dialogue, study, fellowship and service.
• Facilitating the formation of authentic relationships
• Proclaiming the good news of God’s story and discovering together how God’s story continues today.
• Partnering with others in our community to bring about hope and transformation by serving our neighbors in need.

I'm excited about the name we will come up with, and I'd love to hear your suggestions. So, send them my way!

I really have no idea what this year will bring, but just as I can look back and see evidence of God's care in the past, I am trusting this year will be no different. I pray that whatever this year has in store for you, there will be assurance of God's continued love and care.

Thanks for following along!