Yesterday we had our first ‘leadership team’ meeting since coming to Brighton. Basically it was one member from each family that came together to discuss the questions I mentioned in my previous post. Up to now the team hasn’t felt the need for a dedicated team of leaders, however in recent times it became apparent that to function healthily it was going to be a neccessity.
It was a really good time and we seemed to get some direction on the key questions we were hitting.
A significant issue was that of ‘how do we include people in what we are doing while still keeping the discipleship bar high?’ How do we avoid becoming simply another product of our consumeristic culture and producing weak, lame, self occupied disciples (if there can be such a disciple)?
We agreed that we need to both very inclusive and very exclusive. We need to do both at the same time…Up to now we didn’t really have a handle on how to do this well – it has always felt like a bit of an either/or. However I think we may have found an approach that may work.
It consists of seeing ourselves as:
a) a missionary team – completely exclusive – only those who have moved thru an integation/formation process and are willing to subscribe to the team covenant can join. I guess you could say it will be a low level mission order.
b) a christian community – completely inclusive – anyone can participate in these activities as there is no ‘membership’ demand whatsoever. People will still be discipled in these forums and they will not be intended to be funky whiz bang gatherings, but they may not see themselves as part of the mission in Brighton at this stage.
This shape came to me last week while I was flying to Melbourne and I drew it like this.
You might look and say ‘hmmm… no rocket science there’ and there’s not! But sometimes just having words and expressions to describe the form you take is enough to enable the next step.
At this point we are working to develop a new community rythym that will embrace this schema. It seems we may meet fortnightly as a team and then on the other fortnight as a bigger community. Over time this will morph and shift as we give different expression to who we are.
Perhaps a key is that the shape we take serves what we are called to do. When the form becomes the main thing then we start to have ‘tail wagging dog’ syndrome and we lose our way. This is what has happened so often in our churches.
We can’t accomplish ‘a’ because we just can’t change ‘b’. ‘B’ then determines how ‘a’ will look and how effective it will be.
On the other questions of finance and identity we have agreed to start a bank account and possibly locate ourselves under SU in WA as a SUNO project. SUNO are a branch of SU that specialise in supporting and resourcing mission projects. We also agreed to explore finding a name for ourselves.
All in all it was a great meeting with a sense of having made some positive decsions and taken some good steps forward.