Its been about 6 months now that I have been writing my thoughts down in this way. Its been the same length of time that I haven’t been preaching anywhere consistently. I am a person who can’t stop thinking – there is always something ticking around inside my head, and preaching used to be a good place to get it out.
download made on earth Over the last few years one of things I have observed in emerging church circles is a fair degree of debate over the nature and place of leadership in a Christian community. It’s a topic that has generated a fair bit of heat”
Some would advocate excellent leadership as a vital ingredient to a healthy community (see Frost & Hirsch) while some would choose to not even use the term leader and would replace it with ‘facilitator’. I have observed that some seem to avoid leadership or shy away from it as if it were a curse.
Why do you think that is? What kind of leadership do we need today?
Tomorrow I am preaching at the Wagin Uniting Church. This was the place where I preached my first ever sermon – in front of a whole 8 people!
Wagin is a little town of 2500 about 250kms south of Perth and its major tourist attraction and landmark is the giant ram… which also has giant boy bits – not visible in the photo (thankfully!)
I’m looking forward to catching up with all the old friends there.
Yesterday we went to Wayne’s funeral.
Wayne was the brother of a close mate of mine who died last week when he collided with a truck while riding his motorbike.
His brother Graeme decided he was going to take the funeral – a pretty gutsy effort – and he did an amazing job. It was one of the best funerals I have been at, given the tragic circumstances of Wayne’s death. Graeme led it with real heart, honesty and courage. It was a real tribute to his bother.
In his message Graeme said “Wayne didn’t fit church – but in my opinion that probably says more about church than it does about Wayne”
As a body builder, bouncer, tatt covered all round tough guy – with a heart of gold, Wayne struggled to fit in a local church.
It picked up on the question I found myself asking last week, “If Wayne is in heaven (which we are pretty sure of) then how can he ‘fit’ there but not fit in church?’
I don’t know about you but the more I reflect on those questions I am strongly confronted with the question of what it means to be the church”
housesitter download Changing software is like moving house.
Its nice to be here but I feel like I’m still settling in and getting to know my way around the ‘neighbourhood’. As much as its going to cost me $$$$$ I think I might say farewell to Blogger and stick with Typepad.
See – I’m not a cheapskate!
When I graduated from Uni 17 years ago my first posting was to the little country town of Wagin where I was the Phys Ed teacher for the whole school (K-10) During my time there I was involved with the Uniting Church and made some great friends. It was also a year when I got engaged to a girl I was crazy about, and then a few months later got dumped – one of the toughest periods of my life.
It’ll be great to go back and see some of the people who helped me thru one of the most difficult years of my life and share some the story of how God has led us to Brighton.
The folks in that little country church certainly kept me alive!
download two lovers It seems there is a fair bit of debate around the place about how an organic missional church ought to be structured. Some favour a totally unstructured ‘relational’ network while others may desire a more substantial structure. I’m no expert, but I have been thinking a lot about it over the last few weeks. Here’s a summary of my thoughts”
I am a fan of structure – I believe things fall apart without it, but different sized organisms require different levels of complexity in structure. And as organisms change and grow, the degree of structure needs to change with them.
Perhaps if we take our cues from the organic image we can see some helpful analogies.
A single celled organism is obviously very simple, (nucleus, ribosomes etc) whereas a human body (4 trillion cells?) is a totally different proposition. A body of this size has a highly sophisticated structure, yet is it is still completely organic. Have a think about the various systems necessary to make the human body function – skeletal, respiratory, circulatory etc. If these structures weren’t in place the body would be an absolute mess!
Healthy organisms seem to have structures and systems that suit their size and stage of life.
Perhaps what we need to consider is an ‘organising principle’ for structure. What determines why we structure the way we do? In many of our churches our structures have been in place so long that it’s hard to ever know why things are the way they are. I could write more on this but it’s not really the point.
My suggestion is that the organising principle around which we structure our churches is that of mission – that we form up flexible, functional structures in response to the mission that we are engaged in and then adapt them as we need to. If we keep the missional agenda central then we are less likely (but its still possible) to get caught up with the bureaucratic nonsense that we have all experienced and more likely to what best serves our calling.
It means the questions we ask are different and the shape we take will also be different.
But we will have some structure” It is essential to life.
Just another thought” In reflecting on the cellular image, I find it interesting to see that the DNA is located in the nucleus – which then gives ‘leadership’ to the whole cell – and ultimately (if it is healthy) leads it to multiply. In our setting it is analogous to the DNA being located in the key leaders – them being the ones who own and embody the vision and values more than anyone else. Its not a perfect image but there are some good parallels!
What do you think?
“The young women who talk to me on campuses about the effect of pornography on their intimate lives speak of feeling that they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want; and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they cannot expect to hold a guy. The young men talk about what it is like to grow up learning about sex from porn, and how it is not helpful to them in trying to figure out how to be with a real woman. Mostly, when I ask about loneliness, a deep, sad silence descends on audiences of young men and young women alike. They know they are lonely together, even when conjoined, and that this imagery is a big part of that loneliness. What they don’t know is how to get out, how to find each other again erotically, face-to-face.”
While I don’t agree with all of her conclusions its still a challenging article – if you can handle brutal honest!
I also discovered that there is a a federallly funded, three-year research project administered by the Universities of Sydney and Queensland called Understanding Pornography in Australia. Its crazy that we need to assess whether they just may be a possibility that it is unhealthy for us.
Really? Did we need to have a federally funded program to tell us that? I mean, juts how dumb are we!!??cerrone-cerrone s paradise download
The most common question I get from people is along the lines of ‘so what will your church look like’? Its a very tricky one, because I don’t know for sure.
If we believe that church forms up out of mission then we will have to wait… It doesn’t mean I have no idea and don’t want to act on what I do know – I have lots of ideas! But ultimately I am keen to make sure our missional engagement shapes our church forms and not the other way round.
1. Missional – genuinely getting back to being missionaries in our own backyards.
2. Incarnational – engaging with the world rather than separate from.
3. Messianic – seeing a whole of life spirituality rather than a sacred / secular dualism.
4. Apostolic – a new leadership structure that embodies the essence of the five fold giftings in Eph 4.
That’s a very brief summary of a pretty intense book, but I reckon its probably not far of the mark. They all sound fairly harmless in themselves, but the practical implications will rock the church to its core if we actually take them seriously and act on them.
I am almost finished the book and I’d reccomend it to anyone who wants to go beyond the basics in thinking through these questions.
Danelle’s brother is a bit of a legend. Last Saturday night he was named Young West Australian of the Year for his work as a primary school principal in rural W.A. He is the youngest person to ever prinicipal a school in W.A and he is a very gifted leader and educator.
Here’s the spiel on him
On Australia Day 2004 (26th Jan for O/S readers!) he will fly to Canberra to see if he can become Young Australian of the Year.
What then?… Mr Universe?!
You can read more about the awards here