Friday, December 26, 2008

David Wayne

Pls continue to pray for my friend David Wayne. He's learned that he has Stage 4 Liver Cancer. David has two large tumors in his liver and it has spread to his lymph nodes. His daughter, Jollette, is being faithful to post updates here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, Everyone

Look up because He looked down.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gallup: Economic Hard Times Isn't Increasing Church Attendance

"PRINCETON, NJ -- Despite some news reports to the contrary, a review of almost 300,000 interviews conducted by Gallup so far in 2008 shows no evidence that church attendance in America has been increasing late this year as a result of bad economic times. In September, October, November, and so far in December, about 42% of Americans reported that they attended church weekly or almost every week, exactly the same as the percentage who reported attending earlier in the year."

- see the whole article here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Churches as Strength Based Organizations

If you are aware of a church that would consider itself a Strength Based Organization, would you let me know in comments?


Monday, December 08, 2008

The Origins Project

I promise that my post this weekend questioning continued use of the term "emerging church" was just a setup for this post!

I had read Dan Kimball's post The Emerging Church: Five Years Later about a new network he Erwin McManus, and Scot McKnight were starting. Today, I found Dan's 20 November 2008 post about this new network initiative which is being called The Origins Project. Here's part of what Dan writes about the origin of this envisioned community:

The more I felt myself not connecting to the theological direction and arguments happening in some of the emerging world - the more I felt the natural desire to be formally linking up with these friends who had the same passion. I also kept hearing over and over and over again when I was speaking places around the country, that many people still wanted to be discussing evangelism, especially amongst emerging generations. Yet many people were understandably confused by what was being noticed as streams of "the emerging church" as Ed Stetzer, Scot McKnight and Mark Driscoll were communicating about them in various articles and talks. So it was getting quite confusing as people were hearing all these things with so much variation occuring within the emerging church circles. I just know I was originally drawn into the emerging church world to be in it for mission, for evangelism, for seeing new followers of Jesus and whatever it takes innovatively without compromising the teachings of Jesus and Scripture.

So it just felt right to begin talking together with others to be encouraged, to be reminded of mission, to be fueled in creativity for the mission. Yet we all were theologically committed to the importance of doctrines like in the globally and multi-denominationally shaped Lausanne Covenant. (We are using this covenant as our statement of faith, so to speak, so from the beginning although we are diverse in many things we do, we are in alignment about the things within that).

I am someone who thrives on relationships with other leaders who are in this whole crazy mission together. So I have lately had such a boost of energy being around this group and dreaming about how we could all be partnering together in fueling this passion we all have. We are a diverse group for sure, but I believe there are a lot of people like this. So as we have been praying and thinking, we want to be extending this conversation and community to be together figuring out how to support, energize, dream and forge ahead on this evangelistic mission of Jesus.

The rest of Dan's post is here.

I personally am glad to see the utilization of the Lausanne Covenant as a theological foundation for this new organization and I'm genuinely excited about learning more. Their website is here though it's obvious this network is just now being formed.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Should we still say "emerging church?"

I've been following with interest what seems to be a bit of a trend away from the emerging church/emergent nomenclature (Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones, etc.). I have to say that I find resonance with this discussion. In the past, I've written quite a bit about defining "emerging church." A lot of the ink I and others have spilled on this topic have revolved around the various agendas behind the use of the term. In my opinion, the fulcrum for the controversy is the theological revisionism that's attached itself to the labels. This is in contrast to the essentially evangelistic impulse that was originally - in my judgment - behind the popular use of the term "emerging church."

Now, I'm painting with a broad brush, obviously. I myself am a bit revisionistic theologically, but most of my participation in the movement in my writing, etc. has been along the lines of the "relevants" and the reconstructionists (using Stetzer's famous taxonomy). But I do wonder if the term has lost its punch because of all the confusion.

Some people moving away from "emerging church" are moving towards missional, as in its popular conception it's not theologically revisionist. Many know that for the last year I've been interviewing missional leaders and doing some writing for Leadership Network around this topic (my second piece on this should be out soon). But I think it remains to be seen if this term will take in any intergenerational sense. In the meanwhile, I do find "missional" a helpful term. That being said, I find it highly interesting that no less a missional luminary than Mike Frost recently complained that "missional" also is losing its distinctive meaning as it's increasingly being used as the new, hot buzzword.

Terms are important, but what's more important is the heart and spirit behind the terms. I am deeply grateful for what I've learned from the emerging church and what I'm learning from the missional conversation. Terms come and go - what matters is that we are listening to the Scriptures, to God's Spirit, and to each other and then, as a result, loving God with everything within us and our neighbors as ourselves.