My friend JR Woodward is hosting an “unConference” in LA Nov 5-6. If you’re in the area it would be well worth your time to go. 14 speakers, 14 minutes each to talk about a topic very much on my mind lately: discipleship.
I’m not sure what the context of this first-grader’s prayer was, but the innocence and honesty of it caught me up in its energy and I found myself praying the very same things as I read it.
Dear Jesus, help us all to love one another. We want to be friends, to play with each other, to hug each other, to go to each other’s houses. Help us not to be scared. Help the mean people to stop hurting others. Keep all people safe everywhere. We know you love all of us and want us to be nice to everyone everywhere. Help us all to get along. Amen.
I think praying with children is one of the highest privileges we have as followers of Jesus. We should take the opportunity whenever it presents itself.
The church I am planting is part of the Ecclesia Network, which is hosting an “unconference” in Denver June 11-12. If you’re able to go, I’m sure it will be a good time. Here are the details.
Friday, June 11 – 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 12 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bonnie Brae Church, Denver CO
The Ecclesia Network
Please RSVP for this event on Facebook, so we have a sense of who is coming. Invite your friends through facebook and other means, especially those living in the Denver area.
NATURE OF EVENT
We will be thinking imaginatively about the future of the church with others in an open-source gift economy way. The next BIG idea is about giving time to interact about innovative ways to partner with God in the renewal of all things. UNconference is about freely sharing creative ideas with one another without putting anyone on a pedestal. It is more participant oriented than personality driven. You will hear from practitioners who are on the front lines. There is also no cost, because people are sharing their gifts and knowledge freely.
During our short time together, there will be 14 innovative speakers from 14 different churches each sharing for 14-minutes on innovative ways to think and live missionally. More details on the speakers and topics to come!
Last week I received 20 copies of Viral Hope: Good News from the Urbs to the Burbs. It’s a collection of short essays from 50 different authors articulating the gospel in their own local context. I got to write one of the chapters, and I was inspired to read about the various ways the good news of Jesus is making its way into so many places of the world.
The book was edited by my friend JR Woodward, and is published by Ecclesia Press, which is the nonprofit publishing arm of the Ecclesia Network. Scot McKnight wrote the foreward, and Chris Backert wrote a killer conclusion to the book.
It makes for great Easter season reading: you can read one essay per day in the 50 days from Easter to Pentecost (May 23 this year).
Last year, when I was starting to seriously consider planting a church, I was trying to find a way to get some training for the kind of church I felt I wanted to plant. It seemed to me a lot of church planter training “boot camps” were high on testosterone and bravado, but didn’t have a lot to say to someone like me, who wanted to plant a more “organic” natural-growth kind of church.
Through a friend (Dave Fitch) I found out about the Ecclesia Network, which ended up being a great fit for our church plant to associate with. After a few conversations with Chris Backert and JR Woodward (who mostly coordinate the network), I raised some money and attended their church planter training, which they call ??????? [aggelos – apparently my blogging engine can’t do the Greek letters?], which is a transliterated Greek word, pronounced like “angle awes”, meaning “one who is sent, a messenger from God”. I’m not sure why they actually spell it in Greek, incidentally. Makes it difficult for people to talk and blog about it. Maybe they should “re-brand” next year 😉
Anyway, our worship leader and I went to the training, and found it to be really helpful. Some of the great things about it:
- A great balance between theological and practical training,
- Because everyone stays in the same place (including the equippers/teachers), there was plenty of time to talk informally at lunch, in the evenings, etc.
- Takes place in an ecumenical monastery where you participate in their prayer rhythms during the day.
- There weren’t hundreds of people there, more like 20.
- Multiple voices were heard throughout the week. There was no “guru.”
This year’s training takes place May 17-21. Equippers this year include Jon Tyson, Dave Fitch, Bob Hyatt, JR Woodward, JR Briggs, Winn Collier, and Brian Hopper. I’ve met all of them, and I can tell you they are smart and experienced as well as humble and approachable. These are quality people.