just back from mission 21. (no wi-fi around so didn't get to blog). as ever the best thing was seeing people and catching up. whilst there were 500 people there, it was actually very thin on the ground when it came to younger, emerging church, alt worship types. but i don't think the line up was ever going to appeal in that direction...
graham cray gave a good provocative assessment of the present moment to kick things off. three things caused a stir:
a) postmodern is passe as language - it's arrived
b) alt worship and some of emerging church are too focused on church angst - the future isn't them. they are just a hinge generation (btw i went and discussed this point afterwards as i felt it was a misrepresentation)
c) spirituality is overstated - young people aren't into it and the church needs to get used to it and stop telling ourselves a story we want to hear (based on a piece of research coming out in may)
some research was presented assessing church planting - without seeing the actual data it was difficult to assess what this meant but a simple summary would be that in existing structures, on edge of existing structures and beyond existing structures new expressions of church/church planting are growing...
then there was a whole load of other stuff, stories, workshops etc... i stopped taking notes. what does it all mean? no idea... i guess keep on keeping on.
i led some worship this morning which seemed to go down well. the northumbria community did the rest which was a nice blend of down to earth, real, liturgical worship blended with quiet celtic contemplative stuff. i'm a big fan of roy searle. a few people asked about some of the things i used...
40 - or on CD rom
we hang our lives on your mercy
these were the full notes i jotted down from graham if you want more detail...
Somehow we have moved up a gear - permissions, blessings in structures etc. Not because of report but God has been at work. John Taylor ' seeing what God is doing and joining in'. It's about compassion and mercy. I've spent two years trying to keep up. There's new favour with God and some of the brakes have been taken off the church.
Changes in culture - demise of christendom, postmodern shift etc have ultimately been a gift of grace to us because they have freed us to see some things we should have seen a long time ago. Driven us back to God. We have restored a missional perspective. We are seeing things that have been in the gospel all along...
Shift to dynamic mission emphasis in obedience to the missionary God. Moment of grace through cultural change where we are seeing what we should have seen. The God of mission is active sending out labourers. The pioneers suddenly belong to the heart of what we are doing whilst being on the edge in terms of ministry. 'C of E engine of a lawn mower and brakes of a juggernaut' - some of brakes are coming off.
There is mission beacuse God loves people (Bosch).
If we have recovered a sense of mission, the primary task of the leader is to reconnect theology with missiology so that first and foremost the church is missionary. In real terms our plans should be held up against a missionary call and focus. Churches that aren't missionary have forgotten who they are.
No of issues:
1. Prioritise resources and energy for non churched. Strategic planting among those with no church connection. Children of de-churched will join them? (Decline in interest in spirituality). Long term sowers of gospel into circle after circle after circle. Imagination, faith and patience...
2. Mission vision not church angst. Emerging churches good but only part of picture. Alt worship etc part of picture but not future... Baptism into compassion of Christ, not angst about church. Postmodern is passe - paradigm shift has taken place. Young people aren't in transition. Need new language. Dechurched work is vital but it's not top priority. Inculturation/contextualisation is where it is at. Interculturation even better. Need some new mission audit tools. Double listening. Tim Dakin - Ephesians moment... Need a combination of church planting and spiritual direction? Let there be a glorious diversity of expressions of church but need missional DNA that will ultimately lead us beyond a small homogeneous group. Complex layered societies - not territorial. Parallel presences in different circles seeking to penetrate in and beyond its circle i.e. cross cultural as well.
Discipleship in consumer culture big challenge.
Symbiotic relationship between inherited and fresh expressions.
New baptism of imagination about church. If Christ is embodiment of God then no one expression can fully display God. We need the diversity.
update: mark berry's pics
Technorati Tags: mission21