it's the last morning of the conference... as ever it has been wonderful meeting people. i had good intentions of blogging as i went but have only managed to do so on two sessions so far! one of the sessions i went to that has provoked me in similar ways to the intergenerational challenge was one on the multicultural challenge. simon bell argued that culturally specific mission is fine to reach different groups but that church has to be integrated and diverse. mission shaped church/emerging church is in danger of producing lots of homogeneous groups. he thinks it is in danger of shooting itself in the foot for this reason. this has given me lots to chew over...
this morning jakob isaac from bangalore spoke - this was particularly exciting for me as he is from bangalore where i am headed in june. he spoke about the changing urban indian context (a country with 540 million young people!) and the problem that church ministries are wedded to styles and practices of ministry that relate to a bygone era:
Most ministries still cling onto traditional forms of outreach and ministry that have very little to do in terms of impacting a nation that is fast becoming a center of knowledge and business. There is an urgent need for churches to address these issues and lead the way. There is a need to revisit the Word of God and to make the gospel relevant to the youth masses which comprises of 54% of the Indian populace.
he outlined a context in bangalore with the influx of software and call centres that is rapidly leaping into postmodern culture shaped by a new consumerism among the young. he suggested several strategies for reshaping ministry under the heading of a holistic evangelism model. he is involved in a new creative youth ministry project that he has pioneered has pioneered called kerygma coffee house that is a drop in coffee shop in bangalore with a roof terrace and counselling and recreational facilities for youth. they produce a magazine coffee beanz across the city and run a series of small groups called coffee talk. he suggests that:
There is a need to be creative and effective. A fresh breed of leaders who are innovative and creative in their approach and interests have to be trained and equipped for the work of the Lord in India. The harvest is plenteous and the laborers are few, pray that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers to reap the harvest through various creative strategies like the Kerygma ministry has used and developed.
hopefully I can visit the coffee house and see it in action in June...
every paper that is presented has a response. this one had a response that really got everyone wound up - an american sounding pretty colonial albeit they no doubt didn't intend to. it just highlighted the complexities of mission and global relationships in the post-colonial world we are now living in.