I will helping to facilitate a FREE Missional Community Workshop for church planters June 7-8 in Pawley’s Island with 3D Ministries. If you’re a church planter, or thinking about it, you should come. It will be a great time.
Conferences / Events
Confronting Idolatry in the Church/Myself
I‘ve been thinking a lot about idolatry and temptation lately. Mostly in the context of my own life, attempting to confront, through a few carefully chosen disciplines, the ways in which I “bow down” to the false gods of power, wealth, success, and pleasure in my everyday life.
It’s part of an ongoing journey of surrender and submission for me. I am learning what it means to be utterly dependent on God for everything. Out of an increasing understanding of my identity in Christ, I am seeking to simply act in a way that is consistent with that identity (the Bible calls this “obedience”). That involves saying “no” to some of the same temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness.
Ever since we’ve committed ourselves to a discipleship-based planting strategy/practice, it’s all gotten a lot more “personal.” We’ve realized that we must be examples for imitation, not just teachers of information.
It’s mostly uncomfortable and humbling, but I’m starting to see fruit (evidence of God’s power working in and through my life), which is deeply encouraging.
Anyway, today I saw a video of Chris Wright speaking at the 2010 Lausanne Congress on the need to confront idols in the evangelical church if we are ever going to really be able to move forward in joining God in his mission (ht kinnon). This was a helpful word for me, and I pray it is for you, too.
Conversations on Missional Leadership
We tend to think of leadership as an activity and not a relationship. But in terms of creating a culture of discipleship, equipping each other for ministry, and mobilizing people and groups for mission, the relational aspect of leadership is of enormous significance.
Having already engaged in conversations around the themes of missional discipleship and missional family, the Missional Learning Commons will round off with a discussions about missional leadership. Speakers, topics, and bios are below. More information and registration here.
David Fitch: The Hazards of Being Paid to Pastor: Overcoming the Bad Dynamics of Money
Summary: When a pastor gets paid a set of negative dynamics are set into motion. Power relationships develop within a community. There are expectations from people who “give.” Ministry can turn inward and into politics. All of this works against moving a community into mission. I offer a couple observations and simple moves to subvert these dynamics.
Bio: David Fitch is a co-pastor at Life on the Vine in northwest Chicagoland and a church planter/coach. He is also Lindner professor of evangelical theology at Northern Seminary’s programs in missional church studies teaching on matters having to do with gospel and culture. He is an author with his next book – The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission coming out in January 2011. Dave is married to Rae Ann and dad to their son Max.
Fitch, Take 2: Leadership is Submission: The Counter-Cultural Way of the Cross in Leadership
Summary: Leadership that leads into the new territories of mission will always produce conflict. This is the inevitable prospect of a community pushing into Mission. The Missional leader is not one who manages this conflict from top down. Instead, through the posture of humility, service and trust in the Spirit, out of Scripture and mutual discernment in prayer, he or she leads the community through inviting it to seek what God is doing, hear and respond. In this way of non-coercion and submission, the “revolutionary” community is birthed, brought together in Christ “on the way” of Mission.
Amy Rozko: Global Perspectives on Missional Leadership: Reflections and Observations from Cape Town 2010 (The 3rd Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization)
Summary: Local churches bear the responsibility not only of equipping leaders for ministry in an increasingly globalized world at home, but also of mobilizing them for participation in God’s Kingdom work across the globe. Doing so necessitates that we have a meaningful sense of what God is saying and how God is working in other parts of the world. In this session, Amy will offer reflections on the state of the church around the world from a recent gathering of 4000 global church leaders and invite us to discuss the implications for churches in terms of leadership development.
Bio: Amy is excited to have just participated as a delegate to the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa. She and her husband of just over a year, JR, live in Elgin, IL where she also works for International Teams US as the Director of Mobilization. They are an active part of Life on the Vine in the Chicagoland suburbs.
If you haven’t registered for the Commons yet, DO IT!
Conversations on Missional Family
Of all the errant and damaging understandings of “missional” out there, the one that essentially equates to, “add more things to your calendar through the week in order to reach people,” is one of the most disastrous. Missional, when understood this way, destroys families rather than transforming and mobilizing them for Kingdom mission.
I’m excited that this year at our upcoming Missional Learning Commons (Oct 29-30 in Chicago) that three of our speakers (one of them being me) will be sparking some discussion about what missional family relationships are all about. (Speakers and topics for our opening session on missional discipleship are here.)
Register for this event here. Here are the speakers and topics for missional family:
Helen Lee: The Kingdom Belongs to Such as These: Missional Living In and Through Our Children
Summary: Jesus affirmed the value and the worth of children, expressing the reality that a child often has the capacity and the desire to embrace missional values and living, sometimes well before the parents. What are ways in our churches and families that we can encourage missional living and thinking, particularly amongst our kids? What are the benefits to doing so–and the dangers when we do not? We often think about the ways we can teach our kids, but in the area of missional living, our children may be the ones to teach us.
Bio: Helen Lee is the author of The Missional Mom (Moody Publishers, January 2011) and has been writing for Christian periodicals such as Leadership Journal and Christianity Today for more than 15 years. She is married to classical pianist Brian Lee; they have three little boys 8 years old and under, whom Helen attempts to homeschool when she is not writing, blogging, or (now) tweeting.
Jason Lantz: If anyone doesn’t know how to manage his own family how can he take care of God’s church?
Summary: “I’m not going to sacrifice our kids on the alter of some church experiment you want to do.” That’s what my wife Suzi said when I came home and told her that I thought the Lord was calling us to live as missionaries in Canton. A couple of years later, and still in the baby stages of leading a new church plant, we have learned many lessons about the power of imitation in discipleship, the mess that we actually have learned to like with children and mission, and the incredible Love of our Heavenly Father.
Bio: Jason and Suzi Lantz live as missionaries sent to the people of Canton, Ohio. They are leaders in LoveCanton, a network of churches sent to love different networks and neighborhoods in Canton. They have two children Caris and JJ. As a family they are doing their best to join others who want to build a culture of disciples of Jesus Christ in every part of Canton.
Ben Sternke: Sorry, We Can’t Come Because We Have Little League That Night
Summary: It’s easy for “missional living” to become just another extra-curricular activity for families to add to an already busy schedule. But really living missionally as a family demands that we think more deeply about the formational power of the seemingly benign activities so many American families get sucked into, and act more intentionally to engage as families in counter-formational practices that will truly shape us as missional people.
Bio: Ben is in the midst of planting Christ Church: a fledgling network of missional communities seeking to join God in the renewal of the neighborhoods and relational networks of Fort Wayne, where he lives with his wife (Deb) and four children (Ethan, Raina, Ella, and Sydney). Ben also blogs, tweets, and dabbles in web design.
Conversations on Missional Discipleship
I‘m really excited about the 4th annual Midwest Missional Learning Commons, which takes place in Chicago October 29-30 (just two weeks from tonight!). We’re going to be gathering people from around the Midwest to discuss “Kingdom Relationships,” specifically discipleship, family, and leadership from a missional perspective.
You need to register for this event! And there are some childcare options available so families can come. All the pertinent info is on the Missional Commons website.
Friday evening Oct 29 my friends JR Rozko and Jon Berbaum will facilitate a discussion on Jamie Smith’s book Desiring the Kingdom.
Then on Saturday morning, in the 1st of our 3 discussion sessions, three different people will speak for 12 minutes each and invite us into some guided reflection and conversation with regard to missional discipleship. Here’s a bit of a glimpse into who is catalyzing those conversations and their topics, from JR’s blog.
Cyd Holsclaw: Discipleship in Disguise
Summary: In our missional lives, many of us don’t have a standard or recognizable role as leaders or teachers or mentors. Some of us might shy away from embracing a discipleship role in the lives of those we meet, yet there are people around us every day who are hungry for mentoring and discipleship. With a few frames through which to view our relationships, we can move past just ‘hanging out’ with people into sharing a journey toward the cross and into new life.
Bio: Cyd is part of the leadership team at Life on the Vine in northwest Chicagoland. She and her husband, Geoff, also homeschool their two sons, Soren and Tennyson.
Michael Novelli: The Intersection of Biblical Narrative, Dialogue and Spiritual Formation
Summary: Michael will share about his experiences with Bible storying, a dialogical approach rooted in the Hebrew tradition. Through years of experimentation, Michael has found approaches like storying stretch across generations, helping guide faith communities to be rooted and formed by the biblical narrative. In this process, the community is birthed “on the way” in Mission.
Bio: Michael Novelli is a writer and workshop facilitator helping church leaders to explore learner-center approaches to teaching. Michael, his wife Michele, and children Angelo and Abrielle live in Elgin, Illinois.
Mark Van Steenwyk: Missional Discipleship in the Shadow of Empire
Summary: Discipleship as commonly practiced in the North American church has become a disembodied, abstracted “thing.” Missional discipleship–embodying a way of life that is “Jesus shaped” in our local contexts–requires an experimental approach to new practices. How can we cultivate deep Gospel practices that counter an imperial way of life?
Bio: Mark Van Steenwyk is a co-founder of Missio Dei–a Mennonite intentional community in Minneapolis. He works part time (with the support of the Central Plains Mennonite Conference) to network and nurture fledgling radical communities around the country. Mark is an adjunct instructor at Bethel Seminary and experiments in grassroots radical education and organizing. He is a contributing editor at JesusRadicals.com and a regular co-host of the Iconocast. Mark lives with his wife (Amy) and son (Jonas) in Missio Dei’s Sattler House.
More info on the missional family and missional leadership speakers will be available soon.