This clip really captures the call to discipleship that I believe is in the heart of many these days. It also touches on the vision behind The Vine. You’ll be hearing more about that as things unfold. (This was produced by the Foursquare church, which has been placing more emphasis on simple churches of late.)
Church in a season of change – Part 5
I’ve been a bit distracted of late, with Jody headed off to Colombia and all. I haven’t been updating the ‘Church Change’ thread. Well here’s the latest:
As you know, my intention was to launch The Vine. My intent was use it to encourage growth and energy in the congregation by looking for ways to create links for mutual support — think synergy here . I have talked to folks with experience in revitalizing stagnant churches and one method is to plant what amounts to a parallel ministry/congregation — to get a fresh start without the death of the established congregation.
Well, that didn’t work so well. The experiment is ended.
It seems the elders saw use of a parallel congregation as a threat. When I couldn’t get buy-in from them I opted to forge ahead — challenge a very entrenched leadership structure — and hope that the results would convince them after the fact. I think they assumed that the “pastor’s gone rogue.” They put a stop to it, saying they felt they needed a full-time pastor. They had offered that role to me, but I declined, recognizing that I am not suited to the traditional pastor office, and not wanting the obligation to conform that invariably comes with a salary. Moreover, on the night of my dismissal, they declared that they thought it best to seek a pastor from their own tradition (restoration movement).
Of course, I knew that challenging structure is a risk, but we were running out of options for meaningful change.
So, I am grateful for answers to prayer and for what lies ahead. I am thinking about the last four years — collecting my thoughts. I can say this much: nothing in my experience in the traditional paradigm has caused me to doubt my exit from it over 20 years ago. Nevertheless, the experience has helped me clarify my ecclesiology. I’ll ponder some of this in future posts. Maybe one advantage of being relieved of my duties at the church (for that has consumed the majority of my time) will be that I can carve out more time to write. I like that idea.
Church in a season of change – Part 4
Met with “Gathering 242” last night. As always, it was a sweet time of being together. These things are very informal. We always start by serving the bread and the cup to one another, like a family meal. Then we give thanks as we share the elements. We tell of “God sightings” and answers to prayer, all as we pass the plate of bread around and as we fill and refill on another’s cup–this is His body, His blood. Give thanks. Eventually, we dish up the other food that we brought, talk and pray until we are satisfied. Like a said, a sweet time.
Last night, I felt led to stay after the gathering and pray concerning The Vine. Two other brothers, Tim and Jim, stayed with me. We meandered into the auditorium and prayed. Lord, what do you have in store for The Vine? Should we be doing this? What should we be doing?
Pray with us, will ya? Lord willing (and I mean that) The Vine will have it’s first assembly September 10th at the church. I’ll blog about vision and purpose over the next couple days.