We began the day by dwelling in Luke 10:1-13 again. Today I noticed the theme of “sharing.” There is a language of bringing, sharing and living with. What is it that is shared? Peace, shalom. Jesus actually tells the disciples (the 70) what they are to say in their fist preaching role: “Peace to this house.” The disciples become the bearers of shalom. This got me thinking about the first message that Luke recorded of Jesus. It was a message of sharing. “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…” (Luke 4:18). Jesus then went on to address issues of shalom: healing, freeing, releasing, etc. Wow, Luke must be on to something. The mission of kingdom followers is to bring/share the kingdom in all of its wholeness.
Alan Roxburgh was up next. He addressed the question of the conference, “What is a missional leader?” And then he gave us his standard responses: “I don’t know,” “Does it matter?” “Who cares?” Why do we want a definition so desperately? Because we are moderns. Definitions are modern constructs. The need to define the missional church and missional leadership is a modern need to define, name, control and plan. So, if I do what I’m not supposed to do (create a definition), the best I could say is, “a missional leader is one who can change as the world changes around him/her.”
Roxburgh used this video to illustrate the task of the missional leader. What would it have been like to be the helpdesk when books were introduced in the monastery? Much grace, love and patience are needed.
Roxburgh also presented the Terry Action Wheel. Robert Terry developed six categories for assessing the question, “What’s really going on here?” As leaders we often get stuck on the issues of resources, structure and power. Our task, however, is to also ask questions of mission, meaning and existence. We took an hour at our table to readdress our case studies with these categories in mind. It was helpful to begin discovering the underlying issues of mission and meaning in particular. Roxburgh provided a relevant example: deciding to eliminate the offering and replace it with an offering box in the back of the church has different ramifications for different groups of people. For the leaders who made the decision it might just be a structural change. They simply want to change the structure of the service. For older members of the congregation there might be deep meaning and experience tied to the collection of the offering. One group changing the structure might have significant implications related to meaning for another.
After lunch Mark Lau Branson laid out a three-part framework for forming a congregation: interpretive, relational, implemental. Interpretive refers to the learning that a congregation does together in community. Relational is the work that happens interpersonally in the building of relational networks and reconciliation. Implemental concerns the management and administration of the community. This tertiary framework can be very helpful in creating a community of Christ’s followers that share leadership.
The day ended with a wonderful banquet, complete with a Mariachi band and Mama's Hot Tamales. "Mama" has worked with the poor in the MacArthur Park area (Los Angeles) to create a whole tamale enterprise. She trains, empowers and equips other immigrants to open their own tamale shops. A remarkable women and a remarkable meal. A great way to end the conference; a true example of a missional, incarnational approach to living in a community.
Other blogs on the conference:
Our church's blog on the missional journey
The North Fresno Church and Makiki Christian Church groups