Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Steeple to Street - Notes

I made it to the Steeple to Street conference for just Saturday last weekend which was put on by an org called Fresh Expressions US. Obviously interesting to me:
"More and more churches are taking seriously the call to engage with their communities...and many more would like to. But this new mission landscape is going to need new skills of leadership. Bold, risk-taking, creative, discerning leadership. Leaders who will move to the mission edges and foster fresh expressions of church. Leaders who will take on the adaptive challenges within existing churches to catalyze new energy for mission. Leaders who will make room for experiments and risks for the sake of the gospel."

The real reason that I saw this was because Alan and Deb Hirsch, whom I consider mentors from afar, were speaking at the event and I am drawn to the same types of people they like to hang with. Their thinking and writing has informed a lot about how we do student missions leadership and in the summer of 2008, they were so gracious to spend a little time with a student team we were leading. When you know you are responsible for your own development and growth, you'll go out of your way when a mentor is speaking close to where you live.

And a few personal convictions that were part of the flavor of this gathering: there is a limited lifespan left in the church as most of us know it, "all kinds of churches for all kinds of people" and most of us have no idea how to prepare students today to be leaders for the future.

Steeple to Street had a sweet ethos to it - gracious, a posture of learning, and an open hand to let the Lord lead. Lots more young people than a usual church leadership gathering. Mostly white people. Not your standard evangelical stream either - lots more Methodists and Episcopalians than I am used to.

Below are my notes - feel free to skip, skim or borrow with attribution.

+ Plenary - Iosmar Alvarez
People talk about the Holy Spirit like He is a dog or a river. He is a person.
Key to prayer is a clean heart and a clear mind.
Not about quantity, passion, posture.

Questions that we use to release people to do as God leads them:
1 - does it glorify God?
2 - is it ethical and legal?
3 - does it make disciples?
4 - does it expand this church?
5 - is it Biblical?

+ From Equipping the Organized to Organizing the Equipped - Alan Hirsch, Evelyn Sekajipo and Matt Lake
A committee keeps minutes and loses hours.

Begin with the end in mind
The church has deep muscle memory when it comes to change.
It is the end of the line for the church in default mode.
Movement thinking - the way we think about every believer.
Seed - potential for a forest
Spark - potential for a forest fire
[one of our favorite Ember mantras - In every apple, there is an orchard.]
You must see people as potential movements in the making.
Dunbar's number - most extroverts know 150 people. If they discipled 15% of their network, we would have a movement.
Movement - every person can reproduce the whole movement.
Everyone is in the game
Starfish vs Spider

Movements are DNA based organizations.
- core ideas and values
- low control high accountability
- discipleship culture

Dee Hock - VISA
Decentralized, not headquarters

Picasso - the best way to preserve tradition is not to wear your father's hat but to have children

Centered set vs bounded set
Perhaps there is a forum for both to meet

Movements begin on the fringe but they need pathways of learning

Matt Lake
Easier that we worship the teachings of Jesus rather than the person of Jesus.
We can organize the teachings, but Jesus call is messy
We have flattened Jesus to doctrine.
How do we build cultures to release people:
1 - Everything that talks about org talks about our R&D, apostolic side.
2 - 4 step DNA that we try to build into people:

We have organized people so well that they have lost their imaginations about mission.
Church culture - we train people to be good volunteers.
No imagination or dreaming - can't even get to that level.

Everyone is already failing in institutional culture, might as well try it in entrepreneurial culture.
In movement thinking, everyone has been given everything to get the job done.

How do you change culture
1 - Wendy Kopp - TFA - larger purpose and story
2 - my influence as the leader from every dimension possible

Evelyn Sekajipo:
Sometimes do not need to reinvent the wheel - find someone who is already doing what you are interested in and come alongside them
Invite the people you want to serve to the leadership table. We actually sometimes ignore the people we are serving or want to reach.

+ Mission Among the Hard to Reach - Alan and Deb Hirsch
"Microphones were created by misogynists" - Deb

Bounded set vs centered set - social theory
Bounded set - who is in and who is out is very clear
You are in and out based on if you
Believe like us
Behave like us
Belong to us

Clearly we are going for an encounter with Jesus where someone surrenders their life. And there is an element of who we think is in isn't in at the end. Jesus addressed the Pharisees in this same manner - you are good on the outside but your heart is awful. There are indicators to - know you by your fruit.

Centered set - concentric circles surrounded something at the middle - Jesus
Every human is in relation to Jesus somehow. He is calling of all humanity to Him.
Not about closeness, but rather their orientation, pointed to Jesus or not. Our job is to point people to Him.
Mt 28:18 - a discipleship text vs an evangelistic mandate
Pre and post conversion discipleship - disciple someone, teach them to live like Jesus before they actually make the decision
Humanity made in the image of God first and foremost - not terrible sinners in need of redemption [so important see Eldredge on this]

Incarnational Principles

Where you stand determines what you see.
3rd places - fertile way of looking at the world.
American - narrow vs extended family
Use your home as mission - house church movement
Pub outreach team - to be on the team you had to be able to say the F-bomb without flinching. Most couldn't do it - subtle way of alienating yourself away from the regulars in the pub.
The 3rd place for most Christians is their church, leaving little room for engaging the world.

Incarnational Contextual questions they have used
Pennies - rich or poor economy, how does money flow
Power - what is the power dynamic
Pain - who is struggling and why, find out what sucks and fix it
Parties - get in the middle of these
People of peace

Context forces you to contextualize
If you just start the same kind of church in your home, you do church badly - think worship band but done poorly. Can you worship somewhere in a public space without repelling people? How can you worship that draws people in?

+ Pioneering Panel
[Two terms the conferences uses a lot:
'pioneer' - the apostolic, entrepreneurial, trying it first, etc.
'Inherited church' - the already existing, more institutional church]

Q - Describe that first moment when you realized God was calling you to be a pioneer and advice around that idea
I started thinking of the term 'church unusual'
Noticing the marginalized
Don't negotiate with the Holy Spirit - obey immediately
Our community had the gift of desperation - term used in Recovery Community

Q - Words for people just a bit behind you in the journey
Do it with teams
Frustration can lead to callousness unless you are careful - sabbath, hobbies
Realize that you are maybe one of the permission givers - speak life into other pioneers

Q - Lonely moments - what keeps you in it?
God's call
I love my city - no one loves Denver more than I do
Doing what we do is not everything about us - have a life. Keep sure that ministry is not everything.

Q - Imagine you are speaking to another pioneer's leadership - what would you say to them?
Lead, follow or get out of the way but mostly get out of the way.
Make sure they know you have their back and come through with it.

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