I spent the first half of the day at work eagerly waiting for the 11th hour so I could jaunt over to Carey College to sit in at the Allelon Summer Institute. I was eager to hear Alan Roxburgh, Cam Roxburgh, and Alan Hirsch talk about things missional. I was equally eager to meet up with a few from the blogging community. I sat with Bill Kinnon and his wife Imbi (a delightful couple) during lunch and had an opportunity to talk through some of what Alan R was getting at in his talk as well. After lunch I met Mike Todd in person and had a chance to chat with him for a bit. I also got to connect with Scott Cripps and Santosh, both blogging friends on the missional journey. In the afternoon, I sat in on Alan Hirsch’s teaching about discipleship and practices. He is quite the teacher and what he said was profound. Below are some general summaries of what each of them said (what I heard for the brief time i was there, anyway).
Alan R talked about change and how the notion of mission, vision, and values are not something that can be prescribed into a given context. He suggested a lengthy process of listening and discernment to tease out the stories that are shaping the people of the congregation, followed by a journey into missional experimentation. The premise is that God’s Spirit and future is among his people and if we plop some strategy for growth onto a congregation from the top down in the form of mission, vision and values, we defy that premise altogether. The task of listening is one that places the congregation into a receptive and responsive posture to the work of God’s Spirit both inside and outside of the church. An engagement of practices that cultivates an environment for discernment and experimentation is the desired resolve to stoke deep honesty and innovate missional change.
I missed a bunch of what he said… this is what I caught from the 35 mins I was there.
Alan Hirsch talked about discipleship and missional practices. Below are some of my notes.
• Discipleship is ultimately embodiment of the Gospel (Jesus)
• Leadership is an extension of discipleship.
• Early Church was known for it’s radical goodness…
Gandhi, takes on the role of weaver. An image of Christ, taking on the lowest of the lowest (weaver) in the caste system Gandhi gets his authority from Jesus….he read Leo Tolstoy on the Sermon on the Mount….an embodiment of Kingdom values. In doing so, he challenges the status quo (Royal Consciousness) and inspires many more in the future. Authority is the example of a life consistent with teaching and that becomes the basis for authority. Our models of top down leadership are not Christ like. We do not exude the values of the Sermon on the Mount.
The Greek way – Think your way into a new way of action – the idea of knowledge is that if we can think it we will get it and we will change. This is an assumption that does not address the deep issues of behaviour, or discipleship.
Hebraic way – act your way into a new way of thinking. Jesus modeled this. Action drives thinking…why, what does it mean, Is it right or wrong? The Hebraic way is much closer to the human experience.
Just let people to do something? Hirsch says this will change things/people toward being missional? I am not certain this is capable if we do not go
through the listening process Alan R talked about.
Practices are not about values, but a re practices based on value that shape a community.
A Model for Practices
B = Bless x 3 (something good for someone, pray, paint, encourage
E = Eat x 3 (have food with someone at least 3 times per week. Hospitality)
L = Listening x 1 hour per week. (Somehow being attentive to God in quiet prayer)
L = Learn – committed to discipling through the Gospels….looping through Learning community
S = commitment to being sent. Keep a journal to how God is at work and how they saw God in their lives…
When they come together, on a Sunday, they walk through this together…bless, eat then someone is invited to share, teach the community. And then they are sent….they call out their sent-ness.
They call out the beauty of each person’s sent-ness, and then they go
This brings down the divide between sacred and secular…
Our job is to make all things sacred.
I had to leave just before Cam Roxburgh finished his talk about church planting in the Canadian context. He took some time to share his thoughts from 1 Peter 2:9-11 and share the Southside story. It is always refreshing to hear the story again (I am part of it) and a passion for the church that is inspiring exudes from Cam. We are on a journey as a church that has taken us into five different contexts and we have had much opportunity to experiment with new and innovating ways of incarnating the gospel into our communities.
I left and made my way home to prepare for our neighbourhood “coffee night get together”. I met a friend from our congregation and went to the local bakery and picked up all the left over bread they baked (6 bins full). We then set up shop in another friends carport and gave away free bread while people joined us for refreshments. It was a perfect night to bless our neighbourhood. We both welcomed people and delivered bread to the neighbours as a way to show that we care about this community. No agenda, just love for this place that pours out from us because we realize how deeply we are loved by God. It was neat leaving a conference on missional engagement to go and practice what we were talking about.
Alas, the end of my evening and following this post I am off to bed exhausted.
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