I love these days. There is something that is powerful when there are hundreds of leaders from across the denomination that at some level are seeking the same thing – new life in their congregation and community. Personally, it is fun to see colleagues and peers who I know from seminary, social media or the annual conference.
If you are at Leadership Institute this year or have been in the past, what did you find to be most helpful about the experience?
Earlier this week, I met with the Resurrection West Missions team. This is a fantastic group of people in the congregation who are committed to transforming communities. This team is responsible for one of the strategic objectives that we have as a congregation at West for this year. Here it is:
“In order to be more visible and active in our community through service, we will increase mission participation so that 75% of the worship attendance serves outside the walls of the church by 12/31/2011. As we open our doors to the new facility, we not only want to invite our neighbors in but also to send our congregation out.”
I am excited by this objective and achieving it will make a positive impact on our congregation as well as the surrounding community.
I have been inspired by Kevin Watson’s series of posts about the Methodist Class Meeting. It was part of what made the Methodist movement powerful. I have hoped to use the following series of posts as a guide for leading class meetings when I am the lead pastor at a church one day.
Then I thought, what about now? I am leading Resurrection Online and hoping to create opportunities for people to worship, grow, give and serve. Isn’t this one of the powerful ways that the Methodist movement grew in faith and size? Would a class meeting work online? What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this possibility
Over the past few weeks, I have been pondering what it means to be part of a faith community. When I am in a group setting I am often aware of what may not make sense to a newcomer. I find this to be true in worship, events, camp, meetings, etc. I believe that this has developed primarily from my service as a pastor at Resurrection. As an organization, we pay particular attention to welcoming first time guests.
The reality of insiders and outsiders in a community has troubled me in some circumstances. However, I recently realized that it is necessary to have insiders and outsiders for a community to have boundaries and any sort of cohesiveness. Without insiders and outsiders, the church would not have any distinction from the rest of the world and the people of the church would not be expected to live to any different standard.
God has not called the church to be a community without borders. There are clear boundaries of belief and practice that identify the church. The question is not, In regard to the church, are there insiders and outsiders? because the answer to that question is necessarily, Yes. The important question is, How are outsiders welcomed and invited to become insiders? How do we live as a community where every person – inside and out – is invited to take a step forward in the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian?
I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.
I have a tendency, for good and bad, to focus on the outcomes of projects, events or ministry areas to which I commit my time. The outcomes of Institute seem to be a mixed bag for me. This year there were clearly students whose lives were changed by their experience of God at camp. This is an undeniable outcome that is difficult to dispute. If even one life is changed or one student decides to follow Jesus, is not the entire effort worth it? Maybe so… I cannot deny that God is at work through Institute. At the same time, I believe that with changes the week could be more meaningful for a greater number of students with lower anxiety for leaders, student and adult.
What about your local church? What are the outcomes of the projects, events or ministry areas? Is there good as well as bad that is accomplished through the work of the community?