It’s been a full day at the conference. We began with another time of dwelling in the word as is the practice for each morning. We came back to the same passage we read yesterday, Luke 10:1-13. It’s a marvelous passage that brings with it so many questions:
- Is the “harvest” language really about evangelism? It seems Jesus was sending these 70 disciples to his people, not to those who didn’t know God.
- “Peace” and “Kingdom” are near whether they are embraced or not; they are not available just to those who accept them.
- This is not door-to-door evangelism. The disciples were sent to dwell with those they were ministering to – “remain in the same house,” “do not move from house to house.” Incarnational.
- Jesus sends his disciples to the places he was intending to go. What does it mean to “prepare the way” (Luke 3:4) as Luke suggests?
The main agenda item for the day was the processing of case studies in work groups. We spent over two hours asking questions, identifying underlying issues, discussing adaptive challenges, and formulating key missional leadership questions. The NFC group has been working at this with the Makiki Christian Church from Honolulu, Hawaii (time for a field trip!). After lunch we took a fair amount of time to hear a summary of key issues from each group. I compiled a loose list of the issues that were raised. Find it here (might be helpful for those who attended and want to review the discussion).
Our new friends from Makiki Christian Church
The late afternoon session was a dialog with the Lead Team (Mark, Al, Eddie, Scott and Rick). Some wonderful thoughts from Eddie Gibbs:
- The pastor needs to ask, “Have I joined the church? Why am I here?"
- “Can I trust somebody I don’t know?”
- “Am I prepared to be known?”
- The church member asks, “Do you know my world?” (not just me, but my world)
- “You cannot have communication without community.”
- “Small groups are therapy sessions, not community” (the people have no connection with each other outside of a periodic meeting).
We ended the day hearing the narratives of several of our hosts. Walt Kallestad told us of his transformation from megachurch pastor to a missional pastor. Eddie Gibbs gave us a humorous parable of the "L" plate he had to wear while he was learning to drive a motorcycle. His challenge was to wear the "L" and be lifelong learners. Alan Roxburgh told us of his journey in pastoral ministries and recounted his success and his lack of fulfillment in that success. He distanced himself from the mainline church, relocated into a church of 30 senior citizens, and began to study why Canadian churches were simply shuffling and trading church members in a time when the church no longer had a place of significance.
The gathering in Payton Hall
Alan Roxburgh and Mark Lau Branson