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ben bell

thanks for your thoughts jonny, found them very helpful. I loved the blah day with these guys, it has challenged me in so many ways. But more than challenge it affirmed me in my ministry among young people. Attractional vs missional (Incarnational) as you know has been on the youth ministry agenda for many years now and the Incarnational approach is spot on as far as I’m concerned. My question is where does this Incarnational youth ministry fit within the models of conventional (attractional) and emerging church? Whilst my church is reasonably happy for me to be doing Incarnational/missional youth ministry I’m sure there would be disquiet if we applied the same theory to the rest of the church community. In my experience, most youth ministers who are doing the sort of work that I do are supported, sponsored and employed by attractional churches and as a result feel they don't fit. what can we do about this? And how can we place these issues within the whole emerging church debate and ensure that Incarnational youth ministry is embraced within new forms of church?

Simon Fogg

Thanks for organising the “Shaping . . . “ series. I was at the Sheffield event. Certainly worth taking the day off work for.

As ever, I made extensive notes that may be of interest to anyone who was unable to get to one of the days (see http://srjf.blogspot.com/2004/10/disciple-shaping-of-things-to-come.html )

Your comments on theological training reminded me of the book "Church Next: Quantum Changes in Christian Ministry" (see my post @ http://srjf.blogspot.com/2004/08/disciple-book-notes-church-next.html )

The APEPT part of the day was of particular interest as I think a lot of us have some unlearning to do in this area re spiritual gifts, church structures. Leadership structures etc. A book I would recommend to complement input on this is “Hands of Jesus” by Philip Mohabir (see http://www.connectionsuk.org/Books/boo001.htm )

Philip also wrote a book that a few years ago - “Pioneers or Settlers” about the Exodus (see http://www.connectionsuk.org/Books/boo002.htm ) - which has some tremendous content re the different characteristics of pioneers and settlers that I found very helpful. Alan and Michael's call to us is very clearly to be pioneers.

si

that's got to be the longest Baker post yet? Thanks for everything Jonny.

pilgrim

I'm a Baptist minister in the East Midlands and I attended the Birmingham blah event.

Although I'm a middle-aged, ordained leader of a local church that has always operated on the attractional model, I would place myself within the 'emerging' area of the Christian spectrum and do very strongly believe in an incarnational approach to mission. I have to say that the Frost-Hirsch event was a significant step in the development of my thinking in this area - yes, it gave me a kick up the backside, too - and, consequently, I believe it will have a real impact upon my ministry and upon the church I pastor. So, I really want to thank you, Jonny, and the CMS for having the foresight and courage to put it on.

Frost & Hirsch were, indeed, controversial in completely dismissing the attractional, institutional church, but sometimes it takes such extreme provocation to get things moving and the debate flowing. So, please don't be apologetic for bringing them over.

Incidentally, it was the first blah event that I had attended - it won't be the last!

Andrew Hamilton

It was frosty who gave me a kick up the backside about 5 years ago and Alan who helped me understand what to do with the kick and how I needed to develop.

Life changing - liberating - I'm a baptist looking for a third 'l' word!! - but i'll settle for just bloody good stuff.

I'm sure the guys would agree that they are not THE answer to the churches woes, but I imagine some good fires have been started that will help the UK scene as it has helped our Oz scene.

Goodonyamate

Jon

Speaking as one who did not attend, I am amazed that the Alan Michael Show stirred up so much controversy. I totally ate up the book. There will always be churches for people who like attractional churches -- which is exactly 0 of my non-Christian friends. "If you build it they will come" is simply an insufficient mission strategy.

Dave Swain

Just to say cheers for all the hard work u put into getting this thing going. I found the day very focusing and although didn't agree with everything, but then thats like all things, overall i felt it was a significant step in getting people, especially modernists, to start thinking (hate to use the words!) out of the box.

It was good to chat with you and catch up, hope to see u agian soon

Tom Allen

Jonny
Thanks for the background to the Tour - I certainly would not question its value for many people who have not come across this kind of thinking before - nor indeed that it is the kind of edgy thing that CMS should be supporting - but its not exactly as 'new' to those of us who relate to non-evangelical parts of the Church.

Sadly I think that the institutional/emergent Church hype/comments has already clouded too many peoples perceptions of the more perceptive things that were shared.

Reading your comments about theological college training was especially interesting since the situation in the Church of England is changing rapidly - the majority of ordinands now train on the job through non-residential courses (800 this year v 550 in colleges), and the latest report on training will take this further. Courses have of course been around for considerably longer that the 6 years of Forge.

This is wide open to emergent people and very few people with a theological background or some previous leadership experience would do three years (12-24 months is more likely). The training offered is also becoming more mission orientated and Mission Shaped Church will accelerate that process.

I think that a cursory tour of blogsville would reveal any number of younger clergy who are products of colleges but clearly emergent in orientation.

Perhaps the situation is not as black and white as you suggest.

Blessings

Tom

Alan Hirsch

Jonny

From our perspective it was a privelage to partner with you, CMS and the others. I have long held you in high regard. So thanks.

On reflection, I think that we must have misread the English church's connection and affirmation of its historic institutions. Our rhetoric, which I prefer to think of as pro grassroots/organic rather than anti-institution, does challenge our historic dependence on human institutions as a recourse to solve our missional problems. But I can honestly say that this critique emerges out of a study of how phenomenal movements (ala post-Biblical church and China)seem to grow exponentially when are the institutional refferents are removed by external issues and persecution. I have come to believe that the solution to our missional malaise in the West lies far deeper than we are wont to think. I believe we need to awaken something far more primal, far more potent, than that which the institution can create. We need to awaken Apostolic ethos and praxis.

I also bellieve that the best critique of the bad is the practice of the good. I am not about being anti-anything. Rather its about having a positive praxis on which to found a new base for the church in the West. I simply don't think that Christendom has the answers we need for our situation and context...and unless I am seriously misreading yours in the UK, I feel that the English church will also need to step out of the thinking it has become accustomed to in order to find the right approaches to complex, multicultural England. I believe the problem the church in the West faces is at the level of imagination. If at each critical point we choose the familiar, well worn, answers, how then will we ever find new ones?! We have to question if we wish to find new answers. I must admit to finding this level questing lacking in many of the folk we engaged with in England. I can't tell you how many people said that the English experience of institution is different and postive and that we had somehow misread the issues at this level. But you see, that was never my point, rather my point is that more of the same will not resolve the problems we face at this critical juncture of history. We need to think and act differntly to make an inpact on a massively changed situation, one in which the church as we know it, is alienated form its surrounding culture. We need to become deeply and truly missional in the most authentic meaning of that word. That will require that we move away from Christendom.

Methinks we need a more pioneering, and dare I say, apostolic, spirit.

with great love

jonny

alan great to hear from you. hope your travels are going well and you are feeling refreshed/chilled. i completely agree with you about imagination... and i think your challenge is needed. pray for us as we try to take the challenge forward...

tom thanks for your comments - i think it's great that there are lots of younger clergy who are mission minded and taking up the mission shaped church agenda. like you, i am also personally concerned that the emerging church thing is in danger of being an evangelical/charismatic agenda - it shouldn't be. we need people picking it up across all the streams of the church. but i think as well as there being clergy helping reshape churches to be mission shaped we also need people to head off out into the ether and build relationships and communities with people who are never likely to come near our institutions. i simply don't believe that church as we have it in many places can be reshaped to address other groups of people who are not interested. as you say cms has been doing this for years along with many others who have been involved in cross cultural mission. applying these insights here (and learning from the mistakes which cms have also made in plenty of places) is what we need... maybe there is a parallel with youth ministry. ben highlighted this in his comment. most youth ministers are working with church based groups - hopefully bringing mission onto the agenda and growing those groups through friendships the young people naturally have. but we need lots of youth ministries that are completely beyond the reaches of the church - incarnational - reaching communities of young people in schools, estates, or wherever and sharing faith and growing indigenous christian faith communities there. it's a both and situation... or as rowan would put it 'a mixed economy'.

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