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.
Today I’m heading out to Washington D.C. for this year’s Ecclesia Network National Gathering. The theme this year is Spiritual Formation in Missional Congregations, we’ll be joined by Dr. Todd Hunter, Dr. Marykate Morse, Corey Widmer and Don Coleman, and others from within the network who will be running some of the focused sessions. There is a liveblog feed, which you might enjoy following.
In addition to the blessing of simply attending and re-connecting with friends in the network, this year I’ll be partnering with my friend Doug Paul to lead a focused session on Huddles, a vehicle for discipleship and leadership development we’ve both found to be tremendously transformational for our communities.
Another thing I’d love for you to blog about (or see other blogs post about): Kids and discipleship. I’m really struggling with the implications of kids’ programs in general (you know, the Wednesday night ones) and whether there’s value or harm there… and whether my perspective as an adult doesn’t apply to kids, and vice versa. Mainly: How young is too young for discipleship? What does discipleship look like for kids? And, does the performance-and-reward system of most kids’ programs have lasting implications for their faith and how they see God, or is it just a bit of fun with the real benefit being positive, non-parent adult influences?
Those are lots of questions! I’ll try to give my thoughts on those questions, then I’ll share how we are starting to disciple our four kids (which, incidentally, will form the seeds of our philosophy for discipling children at Christ Church).
One of the things I said at the vision meeting we had a few days ago was that I was not very interested in simply building another “church on the corner” for people to get their religious fix for the week. What I’m really interested in doing, and what our community is longing to head toward, is participating in a movement of multiplying Spirit-led, missional, disciple-making communities. That sounds completely audacious, of course, but I do sense that there is a movement brewing, that God is up to something again that is going to span denominations and traditions and cultures.
The trouble is that I also think it will look a lot different than what we’ve seen in the past. And because of that a lot of people will probably miss out on it.
To give you a little flavor of what I see happening, here are a few links to people and communities that have inspired/taught me, and/or partnered with us in our church planting venture, and/or seem to be “flowing” in the movement I am seeing:
- Todd Hunter called for Godward missional communities way back in 1999, and is busy cultivating them now through his work with the Anglican Church.
- The Ecclesia Network is busy resourcing and connecting these kinds of churches.
- I learned (and copied) tons of stuff from the Renew Community and JR Briggs in Lansdale, PA
- A conversation I had with Jon Tyson from Trinity Grace Church in NYC was profoundly helpful, and I love what they are doing in the city.
- Doug Paul from Eikon Community in Richmond, VA is in the middle of re-structuring their community, and manages to be energetic and inspiring every time I talk with him.
- I have enjoyed a few conversations with Jason Coker, who is planting Ikon Community near San Diego. He is also a talented writer – if you read his blog you will learn things.
- JR Woodward is doing great work with Kairos Church in LA.
I post these links so you can peruse the sites and get an idea of what’s happening “out there.” There are plenty of other people and communities and ministries doing fabulous things, of course. But the beautiful thing about a genuine movement is that there are no superstars or celebrities, just a whole bunch of people getting on with it and not caring who gets the credit. Sign me up.