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ISSUE 13

SUNDAY MORNINGS? Cam Roxburgh NAVIGATING MISSIONAL WATERS Len Hjalmarson INTERVIEW - Cam Roxburgh BOOKS Urban Ministry and After Virtue RESOURCES Vital Church Planting

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CAM ROXBURGH Sunday Mornings

starting position on the team if they had to miss a number of games. Perhaps you have used, or heard an even wider array of explanations.

Church attendance in Canada has moved from 3-4x a month on average to 1-2x a month. Gathering for worship is only one of many options we are presented with on a Sunday morning.

,GRQÂśWJHWLW'RHVQÂśWLWDOOERLOGRZQWRSULRULWLHV" ,VQÂśWLWDOODERXWZKDWZe value more? If I say I love my kid and want them to develop and then decide to take them to a soccer game instead of gathering ZLWK*RGÂśVSHRSOH,KDYHPDGHDVWDWHPHQWWKDW soccer will do more for my kid than being together for worship. And I am growing increasingly tired of the line that being a Christian is about more than attending a worship service. I get that part.

My family has faced this issue over the past few years. Two of my girls had the reality of soccer games on a Sunday morning. Another, an avid volleyball player, has had a number of tournaments on Sundays in the spring. My wife, a former professional tennis player, faced a decision to even be away over Easter Sunday to play in the world tennis championships. In a culture that finds church irrelevant, the competition for our time and attention will only get steeper as we go forward. How will the church respond? How will Christians learn to live as missionaries? Growing up I played soccer, a little hockey and football. Soccer was always on Saturday and so posed no conflict, but football was another issue. It was a ten game season, with three on Saturdays, but seven on Sunday morning at 11. I felt cheated by my mom and dadÂśVGHFLVLRQEXWLWVKDSHGP\ spiritual life as much as any decision they made. In order to help me see the importance of gathering for worship, they allowed me to play in three of the games, and to participate with them in worship at church on another three Sundays. During the final game, dad ordered me a taxi to take me from the service to the second half of my game. As a boy, of course I wanted to play in all of the games, but I know that they were trying to instill in me the spiritual value of gathering ZLWK*RGÂśVSHRSOH (Hebrews 10:23-25, 1 Corinthians 14 and others). So now as a parent, do I respond the same way my parents did? And how do I advise other families in the church to raise their children? I have heard many rationalizations for a decreasing church attendance. Some say they love their FKLOGUHQDQGZRXOGQÂśWGDUHKDYHWKHPPLVVWKHLU sporting events and grow up to resent church. Others have stated that they need family time, and get it best when they are at sporting or musical events. Some say that their child will not get a

We have died to the Kingdom of the world and have been born again into the Kingdom of God. We are spiritual beings learning to have a human experience, rather than human beings having a spiritual experience.

There are a few issues to ponder in this arena. First, as children of God, we have died to the Kingdom of the world and have been born again into the Kingdom of God. We are spiritual beings learning to have a human experience, rather than human beings having a few spiritual experiences (Teilhard de Chardin). We serve Jesus as Lord or King of His kingdom and we have our identity in Christ and in the family of God. We cluster together in local communities of faith, which are the body of Christ. Our love and allegiance is demonstrated in our obedience to the Father. We are not our own, but instead we belong to him and spend our every breath in serving him. Therefore we must see life through a set of spiritual lenses (kingdom lenses) and realize that immediate and perceived value, does not always equate to actual value. Making a decision to prioritize sports over worship may indeed be the complete opposite to loving our children. However, there is another side to this equation. It is about mission. Years ago, a member of our church came to his Mission Group to discuss relationships he had with friends who had asked him to participate in a flag Š COPYRIGHT FORGE CANADA


football league in the neighbourhood. It was ten weeks long, and the games were all on Sunday mornings. He was a new follower of Jesus and already saw the value of gathering for worship with other followers. He did not want to choose football over worship, yet he had also understood the importance of mission. What should he do? His group prayed and came to a decision together to ³VHQG´WKLVPHPEHUWREHDPLVVLRQDU\WRWKH football league for those ten weeks. They commissioned him and prayed every morning for his mission and got updates during the week on how things were going. Brilliant, but it came out of mission and was done in community. We must do all things from a perspective of mission. If we engage in soccer we would do well to do it from a missional perspective. And if we truly are engaging in these events because of mission, then we would do well to evaluate our times of gathering so that we might celebrate together what God has shown us on mission ± together. 'RQRWGRZKDWZRUNV«EXWZKDWLs right.

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Dallas Willard  ʹLeadership  Journal,  Spring  2010     [Pastors]  need  to  have  a  vision  of  success  rooted  in   spiritual  terms,  determined  by  the  vitality  of  a   pastor's  own  spiritual  life  and  his  capacity  to  pass  that   on  to  others.  When  pastors  don't  have  rich  spiritual   lives  with  Christ,  they  become  victimized  by  other   models  of  successͶmodels  conveyed  to  them  by   their  training,  by  their  experience  in  the  church,  or   just  by  our  culture.  They  begin  to  think  their  job  is   managing  a  set  of  ministry  activities  and  success  is   about  getting  more  people  to  engage  those  activities.   Pastors,  and  those  they  lead,  need  to  be  set  free  from   that  belief.     The  Divine  Commodity   ^ŬLJĞ:ĞƚŚĂŶŝ͛ƐŶĞǁŬŵĂLJďĞa  defining   publication  this  year.    Skye  was  doing  a  blog  tour  in   mid  April  and  I  noted  this  post  at  Reclaiming  the   Mission.  David  Fitch  asks,   ͞,ŽǁĐĂŶƉĂƐƚŽƌƐƚĂŬĞĂĚǀĂŶƚĂŐĞŽĨƚŚŝƐĞĐŽŶŽŵŝĐ upheaval  to  forge  a  new  post  consumer  post   American  way  of  being  church-­‐ŵŝƐƐŝŽŶŝŶƚŚĞǁŽƌůĚ͍͟   In  part,  this  is  ^ŬLJĞ͛ƐĂŶƐǁĞƌ:   ͞/ďĞůŝĞǀĞƚŚĞĐƵƌƌĞŶƚĞĐŽŶŽŵŝĐƌĞĐĞƐƐŝŽŶ͕ŝĨŝƚ  is   ƉƌŽƚƌĂĐƚĞĚ͕ƉƌĞƐĞŶƚƐĂŶŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƚLJĨŽƌ͞ĐƌĞĂƚŝǀĞ ĚŝƐůŽĐĂƚŝŽŶ͟ǁŝƚŚŝŶƚŚĞĐŚƵƌĐŚ͘/ƚŵĂLJĨŽƌĐĞƵƐƚŽ acknowledge  many  of  the  assumptions  that  have   driven  our  view  of  ministry  in  many  large  churches  as   well  as  many  smaller  ones.  Central  to  this,  I  believe,  is   consumerism-­‐rooted  believe  that  institutions  are  the   ŝŶƐƚƌƵŵĞŶƚƐĂŶĚǀĞƐƐĞůƐŽĨ'ŽĚ͛ƐŵŝƐƐŝŽŶƌĂƚŚĞƌƚŚĂŶ people.  

Colin  Marshall  and  Tony  Payne,    The  Trellis  and  the  Vine     ͞dŚĞǀŝŶĞŽĨŚƌŝƐƚŝĂŶŵŝŶŝƐƚƌLJŝƐƉĞŽƉůĞ͖ƚŚĞƚƌĞůůŝƐŝs   the  various  organizational  structures  that  exist  for  the   ŚĞĂůƚŚŽĨƚŚĞǀŝŶĞ͘^ŽǀŝŶĞǁŽƌŬŝƐ͞ƚŚĞǁŽƌŬŽĨ watering  and  planting  and  helping  people  to  grow  in   ŚƌŝƐƚ͕͟ǁŚŝůĞƚƌĞůůŝƐǁŽƌŬŚĂƐƚŽĚŽǁŝƚŚ͞ƌŽƐƚĞƌƐ͕ property  and  building  issues,  committees,  finances,   budgets,  overseeing  the  church  office,  planning  and   ƌƵŶŶŝŶŐĞǀĞŶƚƐ͟;Ɖ͘ϵͿ͘dŚĞǁĂƌŶŝŶŐƚŚĞĂƵƚŚŽƌƐŽĨĨĞƌ repeatedly  is  that  our  tendency  in  Christian  ministry   is  to  let  the  trellis  work  take  over  the  vine  work  (p.   ϵͿ͘͟  

͞dŚĞĐŽŵŵŽŶĂƐƐƵŵƉƚŝŽŶǁŝƚŚŝŶƚŚĞEŽƌƚŚŵĞƌŝĐĂŶ church is  that  with  the  right  curriculum,  the  right   principles,  and  the  right  programs,  values,  and  goals,   the  Spirit  will  act  to  produce  the  ministry  outcomes   we  envision.  This  plug-­‐and-­‐play  approach  to  ministry   makes  God  a  predictable,  mechanical  device  and  it   assumes  his  Spirit  resides  within  organizations  and   systems  rather  than  people.͘͟    

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LEN HJALMARSON Navigating Missional Waters What do we do when our maps stop working? How do we locate ourselves, and then find the way forward? Eddie Gibbs offered us the clue: when maps stop working, we train navigators. In  the  spring   of  1980  I  was   looking  for  a   job.  I  crossed   paths  with  a   college  friend   who  had  just   secured  a   summer  job  as   a  fishing  guide.   He  planned  to   head  up  to   Stuart  Island  in   May  to  start   training,  and   they  needed   more  guides.  I  decided  to  head  up  to  Stuart  Island   with  him.   My  first  day  training  was  eye  opening.  I  thought  the   ocean  was  a  large,  predictable  body  of  water.  I  found   myself    being  ferried  around  in  a  small  boat  in  tidal   waters  between  islands.  Imagine  a  river  that  flows   north  one  day  at  4  knots.  The  next  morning  you   return  to  the  same  place  and  ŝƚ͛ƐĨůŽǁŝŶŐƐŽƵƚŚĂƚϲ knots.  Hugh  whirlpools  spun  off  rocks,  sometimes   reaching  two  hundred  feet  across  and  fifty  feet  in   ĚĞƉƚŚ͘ŚĂŶŐĞǁĂƐĐŽŶƐƚĂŶƚ͘dŚĞ͞ƚĞƌƌĂŝŶ͟ŽĨƚŚĞ ocean  and  its  currents  was  unpredictable  because  of   the  islands,  underwater  obstacles,  and  the  weather.   While  the  phases  of  the  moon  offered  us  a  guideline   in  terms  of  the  time  of  maximum  flow,  even  max  flow   varied  by  a  few  knots  depending  on  where  you  were.   I  could  tell  many  stories  from  my  eight  seasons  as  a   fishing  guide,  but  what  I  want  to  do  instead  is  flesh   out  a  connection  to  missional  leadership.   We  live  in  a  time  where  the  landscape  has  become   fluid.  What  was  once  predictable  and  stable  is  now   like  the  rapids  I  faced  on  most  days  of  fishing.  One   day  4  knots  south,  the  next  day  6  knots  north.  The   settled  and  predictable  ways  of  Modernity  and  

Christendom have  given  way  to  plurality  and   fragmentation.   Maps  are  amazing  tools.  They  allow  us  to  locate   ourselves  in  relation  to  the  landscape,  using  features   and  indicators  that  rarely  change.  In  Modernity  we   used  internal  maps  to  orient  to  the  culture  and  to   find  our  way  forward.  Moreover,  when  we  made   mistakes  we  could  reference  our  maps  to  step  back   and  start  again.     That  was  then  Ͷ  this  is  now.   ͞dƌƵƚŚŝƐƐƚƌĂŶŐĞƌƚŚĂŶŝƚƵƐĞĚƚŽďĞ͘͟Kďũectivity?   Who  has  such  a  thing?  And  if  we  can  locate  truth,   ǁŚŽŚĂƐƚŚĞĂƵƚŚŽƌŝƚLJƚŽƉƌŽĐůĂŝŵŝƚ͍tĞ͛ǀĞůŽƐƚƚƌƵƐƚ in  our  leaders,  often  for  good  reason.  We  emphasized   charisma  over  character,  and  now  far  too  many   public  leaders  have  their  own  good  in  view,  and  not   the  greater  good.   Turbulence  has  become  the  norm.  The  pace  of   change  outstrips  our  ability  to  adjust.  Facebook,   MySpace,  Twitter  ʹ  ƚŚĞƐĞƚŚŝŶŐƐĚŝĚŶ͛ƚĞdžŝƐƚƚĞŶLJĞĂƌƐ ago.  Consider  the  iPod,  iPad,  YouTube  and  Google   Earth.  We  have  incredible  tools  but  live  with  a  deeper   sense  of  fragmentation  than  ever.  What  we  assumed   were  stable  and  enduring  features  have  either   disappeared  or  morphed  so  much  that  we  no  longer  

Turbulence has  become  the   norm.  The  pace  of  change   outstrips  our  ability  to  adjust   to  it.

recognize them.  Today  context  is  king  ʹ  adaptive   ƌĞƐƉŽŶƐĞƐŵƵƐƚďĞůŽĐĂů͘EŽǁŽŶĚĞƌ͞ĐŽŵŵƵŶŝƚLJ͟ has  become  a  buzzword:  more  than  ever  we  are   looking  for  places..  a  people..  to  whom  we  can   belong.   What  do  we  do  when  maps  no  longer  describe  the   territory?  How  do  we  locate  ourselves,  and  then  find   the  way  forward?  Eddie  Gibbs  offered  us  the  clue:   when  maps  stop  working,  we  train  navigators.   The  Competencies  of  Navigation  

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͞dŚĞŚƵƌĐŚŶĞĞĚƐŶĂǀŝŐĂƚŽƌƐƚƵŶĞĚƚŽƚŚĞǀŽŝĐĞŽĨ God, not  map-­‐readers.  Navigational  skills  have  to  be   learned  on  the  high  seas  and  in  the  midst  of  varying   conditions  produced  by  the  wind,  waves,  currents,   ĨŽŐďĂŶŬƐ͕ĚĂƌŬŶĞƐƐ͕ƐƚŽƌŵĐůŽƵĚƐĂŶĚƉĞƌŝůŽƵƐƌŽĐŬƐ͘͟   (Eddie  Gibbs,  Leadership  Next,  66).   Navigation  is  a  significantly  different  skill  than  map   reading.  The  points  on  a  map  are  fixed,  and  when  one   wants  to  locate  a  point  in  the  real  world  one  simply   locates  oneself  by  correspondence  to  known   geography  or  artifacts,  and  then  proceeds  step  by   step  methodically  to  the  next  point.  If  you  have  a   compass  and  a  bit  of  logic,  this  is  really,  really  easy.   But   navigation   requires  no   fixed   planetary   points.   Instead,  one   learns  to  read   the  sky  ʹ  the   stars,  really  ʹ   and  orients   by  a  point   outside  the   world.  This   requires  a   sense  of  3D  space,  and  the  ability  to  apply  an   imaginative  framework  to  the  real  world.  Map   reading  requires  only  logic  and  a  table  top.  Any  ten   year  old  can  master  it  then  take  a  compass  and  use   that  knowledge  with  a  high  degree  of  confidence.   Navigation,  on  the  other  hand,  is  a  skill  that  is  learned   in  the  wilderness  or  on  the  ocean.  It  requires  courage   and  the  ability  to  withstand  harsh  conditions.  And  it   requires  something  that  is  never  required  of  map   readers:  faith  and  a  fundamental  inner  quiet.  When   there  are  no  physical  points  to  locate  ourselves,  we   rely  on  an  internal  compass.  That  internal  compass  is   tuned  not  to  earthly  artifacts  but  to  an  external   reference  point  ʹ  the  North  Star.   tĞĚŽŶ͛ƚƌĞĂůůLJŶĞĞĚŶĂǀŝŐĂƚŽƌƐŝŶƚŝŵĞƐŽĨĐƵůƚƵƌĂů stability.  We  need  them  desperately  in  seasons  of   transition.  And  as  we  might  expect,  we  have  great   stories  of  navigators  in  the  Old  Testament.  There   were  no  maps  for  the  people  of  Israel  leaving  Egypt,   only  a  cloud  by  day  and  a  pillar  of  fire  by  night.  

From Captivity  to  Freedom   Israel  had  been  in  captivity  for  four  hundred  years  ʹ   enough  time  to  learn  some  bad  habits.  But  the  root   issue  was  personal:  which  God  would  they  worship?   Egyptian  religion  was  man-­‐made,  offering  predictable   gods  who  could  be  manipulated.  Religion  puts  us  in   control.  We  develop  religious  technologies  so  that  we   can  actually  avoid  the  encounter  with  a  living  God.   The  God  of  the  Exodus,  on  the  other  hand,  was   ƵŶƚĂŵĞĚĂŶĚĚĞŵĂŶĚĞĚĐŽŵƉůĞƚĞůŽLJĂůƚLJ͘,ĞĚŝĚŶ͛ƚ offer  Israel  a  game  plan  for  the  coming  miles  or  the   next  forty  years.  Instead,  he  offered  them  his   presence  and  Promise  ʹ  to  go  before  them.   Why  not  simply  give  them  a  map?  There  are  at  least   two  reasons.     First,  God  himself  wanted  to  be  the  way  forward.  He   wanted  a  people  radically  dependent  on  His  Spirit.   Second,  the  process  was  as  important  as  the   ĚĞƐƚŝŶĂƚŝŽŶ͘'ŽĚǁĂƐŶ͛ƚũƵƐƚƉƌŽǀŝĚŝŶŐĚĞůŝǀĞƌĂŶĐĞ͘ ,ĞŝƐŶ͛ƚŽŶĐĂůůůŝŬĞĂƐƚĂŶĚŝŶŐĂƌŵLJ͘,Ğ͛s  the  king!  He   is  forming  a  people  for  himself.  Eric  Hoffer  gives  us  a   hint  toward  the  difference.   ͞DŽƐĞƐǁĂŶƚĞĚƚŽƚƵƌŶĂƚƌŝďĞŽĨĞŶƐůĂǀĞĚ,ĞďƌĞǁƐ into  free  men.  You  would  think  that  all  he  had  to  do   was  to  gather  the  slaves  and  tell  them  that  they  were   free.  But  Moses  knew  better.  He  knew  that  the   transformation  of  slaves  into  free  men  was  more   difficult  and  painful  than  the  transformation  of  free   ŵĞŶŝŶƚŽƐůĂǀĞƐ͙͟ʹ  diary  entry,  May  20,  1959    

Map  readers  and  navigators   are  actually  two  different   kinds  of  people.

Map readers  and  navigators  are  actually  two  different   kinds  of  people.  While  it  is  possible  to  make  map   readers  into  navigators,  it  is  not  easy,  and  some  will   never  make  the  transition.  Map  readers  as  leaders   make  good  managers;  navigators  as  leaders  are   explorers.  Map  readers  love  stability;  navigators   © COPYRIGHT FORGE CANADA


enjoy the  wilderness.  Map  readers  are  impatient  with   process;  navigators  enjoy  the  journey.  Map-­‐reading  is   a  lonely  vocation;  navigators  value  company.   Navigation  is  both  an  old  skill  and  an  ancient   metaphor.  John  Climacus  uses  the  Greek  work   kubernetes  in  the  early  seventh  century  Ladder  of   Divine  Ascent.  The  word  means  pilot,  helmsman,  or   guide,  and  he  used  it  to  speak  of  spiritual  direction.   When  a  ship  is  entering  a  harbor  universal  knowledge   is  no  longer  adequate,  local  knowledge  becomes   critical.  The  pilot  comes  alongside  the  captain  and   crew  to  guide  them  safely  through  unfamiliar  waters,   past  hidden  obstacles.  Travelling  in  a  straight  line  in   unknown  waters  can  get  you  killed.  

would venture  into  the  unpredictable  waters  of   missional  life  we  will  need  to  embrace  rhythms  of   solitude  and  community,  gathering  and  dispersion.   These  rhythms  have  little  reference  to  physical  space   or  programs  ʹ  they  are  relational  in  nature.   How  do  we  begin  to  cultivate  navigators?   x x x x

Travelling off  the  Map   x tŚĞŶDŽƐĞƐůĞĚ'ŽĚ͛ƐƉĞŽƉůĞŽƵƚŽĨŐLJƉƚŝƚǁŽƵůĚ be  easy  to  imagine  he  was  leading  a  journey  from   Point  A  to  Point  B.  That  simply  was  not  the  case.   Moses  was  not  really  leading  people  at  all;  he  was   leading  a  process  where  God  could  form  people  in   their  hearts  and  imaginations  into  a  people  submitted   to  the  Spirit.   There  are  at  least  four  reasons  that  map-­‐reading  is  no   longer  an  option.   1.  the  landscape  has  changed  and  become  fluid   2.  we  live  amidst  competing  narratives.  The   Christendom  world  is  passing  away  and  the  Christian   story  no  longer  has  a  place  of  privilege.   3.  the  skills  required  to  lead  in  transition  are   completely  different  than  the  skills  required  in  a   stable  culture   ϰ͘ǁĞŚĂǀĞƚŽůĞĂƌŶŶĞǁǁĂLJƐŽĨďĞŝŶŐ'ŽĚ͛ƐƉĞŽƉůĞ together  and  be  re-­‐formed  internally   /ĨǁĞĐĂŶ͛ƚĐŽƵŶƚŽŶŵĂƉƐĂŶĚƉƌĞĚŝĐƚĂďůĞƚĞƌƌĂŝŶ͕ tŚĞŶǁĞĐĂŶ͛ƚƉůĂŶƚŚĞǁĂLJĨŽƌǁĂƌĚ͘ƵƚŝƐƚŚŝƐĂ problem  ʹ  or  an  opportunity?  We  serve  a  God  who   ůŽǀĞƐŝƚǁŚĞŶǁĞĚĞƉĞŶĚŽŶŚŝŵ͘ŶĚŝĨǁĞĐĂŶ͛ƚ plan,  we  can  prepare.  Toss  away  the  old  maps;  they   are  merely  a  distraction.  We  can  form  a  new  kind  of   leader  ʹ  navigators.     EĂǀŝŐĂƚŽƌƐĚŽŶ͛ƚŚĂǀĞŵĂƉƐ͕ďƵƚƚŚĞLJĚŽŚĂǀĞƚŽŽůƐ͘ Navigators  use  the  sextant.  We  can  work  with  tools   ĂŶĚĨƌĂŵĞǁŽƌŬƐƚŚĂƚŚĞůƉƵƐ͞ƌĞĂĚ͟ƚŚĞŽĐĞĂŶŽƌ read  the  sky.  We  can  embrace  ancient  practices  that   root  us  more  deeply  in  the  shared  life  of  Christ.  If  we  

x

create a  context  where  problems  invoke   possibilities   find  or  create  rituals  than  invoke  memory  (an   internal  location)   initiate  and  convene  conversations  that  shift   peoples  experience  ʹ  help  people  ask  new   questions  and  then  give  them  new  language   value  and  affirm  process,  get  comfortable   with  mystery   value  experimentation  and  risk,  cultivate   generosity   listen  and  pay  attention  

God is  active  in  our  neighbourhoods  and  cities.  If  we   learn  to  listen,  and  watch  what  he  is  up  to  we  can   partner  with  him,  put  up  our  sails  in  the  wind  and   learn  the  dependent  ways  of  the  Navigator.   The  Prayer  of  St.  Brendan,  the  Navigator  

Shall I abandon, O King of mysteries, the soft comforts of home? Shall I turn my back on my native land, and turn my face towards the sea? Shall I put myself wholly at your mercy, without silver, without a horse, without fame, without honor? Shall I throw myself wholly upon you, without sword and shield, without food and drink, without a bed to lie on? Shall I say farewell to my beautiful land, placing myself under Your yoke?

O King of the Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea? O Christ, will You help on the wild waves?    

© COPYRIGHT FORGE CANADA


BOOKS   Urban  Ministry   I  found  a  couple   of  books  in  the   mail  yesterday:   Hirsch,  Untamed   and  Conn  and   Ortiz,  Urban   Ministry.  Both  of   these  look  good,   but  the  one  I   cracked  first  is   the  much  larger   and  more  dense   ͞hƌďĂŶDŝŶŝƐƚƌLJ͘͟ dŚŝƐŝƐŶ͛ƚĂŶĞǁ title  anymore,  having  been  published  about  2002.  But   it  looks  very  goŽĚ͘/ƚ͛ƐĂƐĞŵŝŶĂƌLJƚĞdžƚƌĞĂůůLJ͕ƐŽŽŶ the  academic  side.  But  as  you  will  often  hear  from   me,  the  automatic  connection  some  of  us  make   between  academic  and  impractical  is  just  wrong-­‐ ŚĞĂĚĞĚ͘/ƚ͛ƐƚƌƵĞƚŚĂƚůŝĨĞŝŶƚŚĞĂĐĂĚĞŵLJĐĂŶƌĞƐƵůƚŝŶ that  kind  of  separation.  But  it  is  equally  true,  and   perhaps  true  more  often,  that  divorcing  clear  thinking   and  analysis  from  spiritual  life  and  ministry  has   disastrous  results.  

city as  place,  as  process,  as  center,  as  power,  and  as  a   place  contrasting  stability  and  change.  They  trace  the   history  of  the  city  around  the  world  through  four   phases  of  development.     The  authors  share  a  bias  toward  leadership.  They  are   convinced  that  leadership  development  is  absolutely   necessary  if  we  are  going  to  impact  our  cities.  Here   are  the  chapters  that  comprise  Part  VI.   20.  Contextual  Traits  of  Leadership   21.  Selecting  Candidates  for  Urban  Leadership   Development   22.  Curriculum  for  Developing  Urban  Leaders   23.  Mentoring  the  Urban  Leader   24.  Equipping  the  Laity  for  Urban  Ministry  

Virtue Reborn   After  Alisdair  MacIntyre  (After  Virtue)  comes  Virtue   Reborn  (UK  title),  or  After  You  Believe..  and  really  glad   to  see  Tom  Wright  take  this  one.    Wright  continues  to   widen  the  circle,  drawing  out  the  implications  of  a   richer  reading  of  Paul.    

Anyway,  to  give  you  a  sense  of  this  opus  it  is  divided   in  six  parts.   Part  I:  The  City  ʹ  Past  and  Present   Part  II:  Biblical  perspectives   Part  III:  Understanding  the  City   Part  IV:  Developing  Urban  Church  Growth  Eyes   Part  V:  Promoting  Kingdom  Signs  in  the  City   Part  VI:  Leadership  and  Discipleship  for  the  Urban   Church   This  looks  like  a  very  foundational  piece  of  work,  with   careful  research  and  theological  reflection.  Both  of   these  men  have  reputations  as  scholars  and   practitioners.  (Harvey  Conn  passed  away  in  1999   when  the  book  was  in  the  later  stages  of  completion).   Some  of  the  facts  in  the  background:  two  hundred   LJĞĂƌƐĂŐŽϯƉĞƌĐĞŶƚŽĨƚŚĞǁŽƌůĚ͛ƐƉŽƉƵůĂƚŝŽŶůŝǀĞĚŝŶ cities,  now  we  are  beyond  50%.  Much  of  that   population  is  very  poor.  Much  of  it  is  in  the  very   largest  cities.  The  authors  unpack  the  nature  of  the  

/ƚ͛ƐĂůƐŽŝŶƚĞƌĞƐƚŝŶŐƚŚĂƚƚŚĞĂŶƚŚƌŽƉŽůŽŐLJďĞŚŝŶĚĂůů this echoes  the  work  of  Vanier  and  Nouwen  ʹ  and   ŵĂLJďĞŚĂƐƐŽŵĞƐŚĂĚŝŶŐŽĨǀŽŶĂůƚŚĂƐĂƌ͘/͛ŵ speculating  here  but  all  this  work  feels  like  a  recovery   of  a  sacramental  perspective.  Amos  Yong  general   direction  in  his  work  on  the  Holy  Spirit  has  been  to   ƚĂŬĞ/ƌĞŶĂĞƵƐƐĞƌŝŽƵƐůLJ͗͞ƚŚĞǁŽƌĚĂŶĚƚŚĞ^ƉŝƌŝƚĂƐ ƚŚĞƚǁŽŚĂŶĚƐŽĨƚŚĞ&ĂƚŚĞƌ͟ʹ  and  so  push  us  away   from  the  monistic  Christology  that  seems  all  about   Jesus  and  neglects  the  Trinitarian  revelation  of  God   and  all  the  practical  implications.  But  any   anthropology  that  limits  the  Imago  to  word  alone   seems  to  result  in  a  stilted  soteriology,  all  event  and   © COPYRIGHT FORGE CANADA


no process,  black  and  white  and  propositional.  It  puts   us  in  control,  rather  than  the  untamed  Spirit.  Maybe   this  is  partly  why  I  like  Newbigin  Ͷ  he  understands   ƚŚĂƚǁĞĐĂŶ͛ƚƐĞƉĂƌĂƚĞŵŝƐƐŝŽŶĂŶĚŵLJƐƚĞƌLJ͘/ŶThe   Open  Secret  he  writes,   ͞dŚĞĐŽŶĐĞƌŶĨŽƌŵŝƐƐŝŽŶŝƐŶŽƚŚŝŶŐůĞƐƐƚŚĂŶƚŚŝƐ͗ƚŚĞ kingdom  of  God,  the  sovereign  rule  of  the  Father  of   Jesus  over  all  humankind  and  over  all  creation.   Mission..  is  the  proclamation  of  the  kingdom,  the   presence  of  the  kingdom  and  the  prevenience  of  the   kingdom.  By  proclaiming  the  reign  of  God  over  all   things  the  church  acts  out  its  faith  that  the  Father  of   Jesus  is  indeed  ruler  of  all.  The  church,  by  inviting  all   humankind  to  share  in  the  mystery  of  the  presence  of   the  kingdom  hidden  in  its  life  through  its  union  with   the  crucified  and  risen  life  of  Jesus,  acts  out  the  love   of  Jesus  that  took  him  to  the  cross.  By  obediently   following  where  the  Spirit  leads,  often  in  ways   neither  planned,  known,  nor  understood,  the  church   acts  out  the  hope  that  it  is  given  by  the  presence  of   ƚŚĞ^ƉŝƌŝƚǁŚŽŝƐƚŚĞůŝǀŝŶŐĨŽƌĞƚĂƐƚĞŽĨƚŚĞŬŝŶŐĚŽŵ͘͟ (64)  

By obediently  following  where  the   Spirit  leads,  often  in  ways  neither   planned,  known,  nor  understood,  the   church  acts  out  the  hope  that  it  is   given  by  the  presence  of  the  Spirit   who  is  the  living  foretaste  of  the   ŬŝŶŐĚŽŵ͘͟

After You  Believe  pushes  us  again  toward  practices  (In   ƚŚŝƐǀĞŝŶƐĞĞdŽĚĚ,ƵŶƚĞƌ͛ƐůĂƚĞƐƚ͗Giving  Church   Another  Chance  (IVP,  2010)  as  well  as  the  project   from  the  Wheaton  Conference,  Life  in  the  Spirit  (IVP   Academic,  2010).   Many  churches  have  vision  statements;  but  too  often   they  are  motherhood  clauses.  What  do  people   actually  practice?  In  the  end  what  we  practice  will  not   merely  inform  us  but  transform  us,  shape  us  into  the   people  God  is  forming  for  himself.  

other; and  that  we  do  this  not  least  by  "following   Jesus."  The  way  this  works  out  is  that  it  produces,   through  the  work  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  a  transformation   of  character  which  functions  as  the  Christian  version   of  what  philosophers  have  called  "virtue."  This   transformation  will  mean  that  we  do  indeed  "keep   the  rules"  -­‐  though  not  out  of  a  sense  of  externally   imposed  "duty,"  but  out  of  the  character  that  has   been  formed  within  us.  And  it  will  mean  that  we  do   include  "follow  our  hearts"  and  live  "authentically"  -­‐   but  only  when,  with  that  transformed  character  fully   operative  -­‐  like  an  airline  pilot  with  a  lifetime's   experience  -­‐  the  hard  work  up  front  bears  fruit  in   spontaneous  decisions  and  actions  that  reflect  what   has  been  formed  deep  within.  And,  in  the  wider  world,   the  challenge  we  face  is  to  grow  and  develop  a  fresh   generation  of  leaders,  in  all  walks  of  life,  whose   character  has  been  formed  in  wisdom  and  public   service,  not  greed  for  money  or  power.     The  heart  of  it  -­‐  the  central  thing  that  is  supposed  to   happen  after  you  believe,  the  thing  we  call  a  virtue  in   a  new,  reborn  sense  -­‐  is  thus  the  transformation  of   character.  (Virtue  Reborn,  24)  [emphasis  added]     There  is  a  single  thing  that  puzzles  me  as  I  pondered   ƚŚĞĨŝƌƐƚĨĞǁĐŚĂƉƚĞƌƐ͘/ƚĚŽĞƐŶ͛ƚƐĞĞŵƚŚĂƚtƌŝŐŚƚŝƐ in  conversation  with  any  of  the  prominent  North   ŵĞƌŝĐĂŶƚŚŝŶŬĞƌƐŽŶƚŚĞƐĞŝƐƐƵĞƐ͘/ĐŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚĨŝŶĚĂŶLJ reflection  of  the  work  of  Dallas  Willard,  for  example.   And  the  book  would  have  been  stronger  for  a  it.   No  matter,  another  worthy  contribution  from  the  UK   and  our  Anglican  friends.  From  the  HarperCollins   blurb:    

Wright dispels  the  common  misconception  that   Christian  living  is  nothing  more  than  a  checklist  of   dos  and  don'ts.  Nor  is  it  a  prescription  to  "follow   your  heart"  wherever  it  may  lead.  Instead,  After   You  Believe  reveals  the  Bible's  call  for  a   revolutionͶa  transformation  of  character  that   takes  us  beyond  our  earthly  pursuit  of  money,  sex,   and  power  into  a  virtuous  state  of  living  that  allows   us  to  reflect  God  and  live  more  worshipful,  fulfilling   lives.  

The fundamental  answer  we  shall  explore  in  this  book   is  that  what  we  are  "here  for"  is  to  become  genuine   human  beings,  reflecting  the  God  in  whose  image  we   are  made,  and  doing  so  in  worship  on  the  one  hand   and  in  mission,  in  its  full  and  large  sense,  on  the   © COPYRIGHT FORGE CANADA


INTERVIEW   FORGE  Canada:  Cam  Roxburgh    

Q. Tell  us  the  story  of  Southside.  When  was  it  born   and  what  was  the  shaping  imagination?   Southside  was   launched  in  the   summer  of  1992.  A   core  of  us  began  to   dream  about  what   church  could  look  like   if  we  moved  into  a   neighbourhood  and   began  to  try  and  make   a  difference.  We  had   inherited  a  building,   but  we  adopted  a   neighbourhood.  Or   perhaps  we  might  say  we  were  adopted  by  a   neighbourhood.  We  were  young,  and  naive  in  many   ways,  but  through  some  wise  counsel,  really  threw   ourselves  into  serving  the  people  in  the   neighbourhood  and  it  made  all  of  the  difference.  We   spent  the  first  6  months  really  just  trying  to  live  in   that  place.  We  participated  in  neighbourhood  events,   served  the  neighbourhood,  got  involved  in   community  teams  and  councils,  shopped  there  and   began  to  get  to  know  the  neighbours.  We  looked  for   ways  that  we  could  make  a  difference  and  when   people  witnessed  what  was  going  on,  they  wanted  to   become  a  part  of  what  we  were  doing.     There  was  a  lot  of  energy,  but  it  seemed  as  if  we  were   tireless.  It  was  hard  not  to  just  get  excited  as  we  had   front  row  seats  to  God  transforming  lives.       Q.  Tell  us  about  the  context..  what  is  the  texture  of   the  neighborhood  and  how  has  it  shaped  Southside?     Southside  began  in  a  poor  neighbourhood  of  Burnaby   BC...  and  I  will  be  forever  grateful.  Many  of  us  had   middle  class  backgrounds  and  so  this  was  a  new   environment.  It  shaped  us.  It  was  not  unusual  to  be   approached  by  prostitutes  as  we  went  to  our  offices   in  the  church.  Many  mornings  we  would  find  either   people  sleeping  on  the  steps  of  the  church,  or   evidence  of  "parties"  on  the  church  property  from   the  night  before.  Needles  and  condoms  were  a   regular  sight  in  the  parking  lot.  When  we  started,   there  were  probably  25%  of  the  neighbourhood  as  

single moms  and  at  least  that  many  on  welfare.  Food   banks  were  local,  and  the  issue  of  transiency  was  very   prominent.       We  now  have  4  congregations,  but  they  all  have  a   DNA  of  caring  for  the  poor  because  of  where  we   started.  I  am  convinced  that  if  we  had  started  in  the   suburbs,  we  would  never  have  gone  towards  the  city.       Q.  According  to  Luke  10  the  Spirit  goes  before  us  in   mission.  That  means  that  we  go  out  as  listeners  and   watchers.  How  important  has  this  role  of  discernment   been  in  the  life  of  the  community?     In  fairness,  I  think  we  started  that  way...  not   necessarily  because  we  were  deeply  spiritual,  but   because  we  didn't  know  what  else  to  do.  This  passage   and  this  approach  has  always  been  important,  but  for   sure  there  are  times  when  we  rely  more  on  our  own   experience,  than  we  do  on  the  presence  and  power   of  the  Spirit.  There  has  not  been  a  lot  of  fruit  from   that  approach.  Even  the  question  is  a  good  reminder   for  us  to  be  reminded  of  that  which  has  been   important  to  us.     Q.  How  did  the  context  shape  the  mission,  and  the   mission  the  church?     I  mentioned  this  a  little  above.  Being  in  a  lower  class   urban  setting  to  start  was  a  huge  influence  on  both   the  desire  to  see  neighbourhood  transformation  as   we  did  in  Edmonds  in  those  early  days,  and  to  care   for  the  poor.  All  four  of  our  congregations  have  this   as  a  part  of  their  DNA  at  present.  This  neighbourhood   emphasis  and  the  care  of  the  poor  has  been  a  huge   influence  in  shaping  who  we  are  as  a  people.  We   continue  to  seek  integral  mission  -­‐  a  both/and   approach  -­‐  through  social  justice  and  through   proclamation.  I  think  we  could  agree  with  Alan  Hirsch   who  says  that  for  incarnational  living  we  seek  to  use   proclamation,  presence,  proximity  and  to  minister   from  a  position  of  powerlessness.       Q.  Are  there  particular  events  that  have  been  critical   in  the  life  of  the  community  in  its  early  years?    More   recently?     Lots  and  lots  of  events.  There  are  a  few  that  stand   out  though.  Early  on  we  began  to  throw   neighbourhood  parties.  At  first  we  called  it  the  Big  Pig   Gig  (later  changed  it  to  A  Taste  of  Edmonds).  Through   the  years  this  grew  to  having  up  to  4000  people   participate  on  the  day.  It  was  a  huge  factor  in  us   © COPYRIGHT FORGE CANADA


enjoying the  favour  of  the  people  of  the   neighbourhood.  I  think  Church  Retreats  have  been   crucial  for  us  as  well.  We  have  had  80%  of  our  people   go  away  for  the  weekend  and  celebrate  what  God  has   done  in  our  midst  over  the  past  year.  There  was  also   a  very  crucial  elders  retreat  where  we  made  some   decisions  about  our  values  in  2001  that  has  deeply   shaped  who  we  are.  Unfortunately  I  think  there  are   some  events  on  the  negative  side  of  the  coin  as  well.   Several  of  these  sad  times  in  our  life  together  have   brought  deep  pain,  but  we  continue  to  believe  that   God  can  use  all  things  for  his  glory.       Q.  What  does  leadership  look  like  at  Southside?  How   do  you  make  decisions?  Do  you  have  a  process  of   communal  discernment?     It  is  simple  on  one  level.  We  have  one  elders  team   who  lead  the  vision  and  oversee  the  spiritual   development  of  the  church.  However,  each   Congregation  have  a  leadership  team  made  up  of  the   Mission  Group  Leaders  who  inform  the  elders  as  to   what  is  happening  in  their  congregation.  Each   congregation  has  a  number  of  Mission  Groups  that   have  leaders  who  Pastor  the  people.  So  although  we   are  one  church,  with  one  elders  team,  we  continually   are  trying  to  raise  up  Mission  Group  Leaders  to  lead   the  people.  I  suppose  the  model  of  the  Israelites   presented  to  Moses  by  his  father  in  law  Jethro  has   been  a  shaping  model  for  us.      Q.  Have  your  leadership  structures  evolved  as  you   multiplied  communities?  How  did  that  shift  impact   back  on  the  way  you  organize  the  inner  life  of  the   community?     In  one  sense  it  changed  in  that  where  when  we  were   one  congregation  our  elders  were  the  leaders  of  that   congregation,  and  now  that  we  are  four,  the  elders   oversee  four  leadership  teams  -­‐  there  is  another   level.  However,  the  structure  really  hasn't  changed.   We  have  always  believed  that  leaders  are  there  to   equip  and  that  the  basic  leadership  of  the  church   happens  in  and  through  the  Mission  Group.  This  is   the  key  building  block  for  us.     Q.  What  special  skills  and  capacities  have  you  had  to   develop  that  were  perhaps  latent  to  be  effective  in   mission?     By  far  the  biggest  is  in  the  area  of  leadership   ĚĞǀĞůŽƉŵĞŶƚ͘/ŶƚŽĚĂLJ͛ƐĐŽŶƚĞdžƚ͕ĚĞǀĞůŽƉŝŶŐůĞĂĚĞƌƐ who  see  themselves  as  Pastors  is  crucial.  Our  Mission  

Group Leaders  need  to  understand  that  they  are  the   Pastors  of  their  groups  of  10-­‐12,  and  therefore  carry   the  responsibility  and  the  privilege  of  ministering  to   these  people  and  to  their  neighbours.  They  are  to  be   the  equippers  for  mission  for  their  groups.  Of  course   they  are  resourced  by  staff  and  other  levels  of   leadership,  but  the  foundational  model  of  Southside   has  always  been  that  we  are  trying  to  get  away  from   the  "professionals"  doing  allof  the  ministry.       On  the  next  level  then,  when  our  Mission  Group   Leaders  are  doing  well  and  multiplying  their  group,   they  have  the  potential  to  grow  into  Congregational   Leaders.  Early  on  we  found  that  when  we  were  hiring   people  who  had  come  from  seminary,  we  often  had   to  try  and  help  them  to  make  the  switch  from  more   of  a  maintenance  model,  towards  a  more  missional   mindset.  It  seemed  easier  to  us  to  begin  to  develop   our  own  leaders  in  many  ways.       In  light  of  this,  there  was  a  need  to  develop  another   level  of  leadership  training  where  we  began  to  take   next  generation  leaders  through  a  two  year  process   to  equip  them  to  lead  congregations.  This  was   theologically  based,  but  very  practical  in  its  nature.   The  leaders  were  deeply  involved  in  the  life  of  the   church  as  a  part  of  their  training,  and  not  just  sent   away  to  seminary  for  three  years.  This  is  really  where   Forge  Canada  got  its  start.  We  had  a  need  for  training   missional  congregational  and  mission  group  leaders.         Q.  What  role  does  preaching/teaching  play  in  the  life   of  the  community?  How  do  you  get  beyond  the   formation/information  duality?  What  about  the   laity/clergy  duality?     Preaching  is  important  for  sure.  We  have  had  the   privilege  of  having  some  excellent  preachers  both   visit  and  be  on  staff  during  our  history.  At  present,   the  preaching  is  really  a  part  of  a  learning  and   equipping  process  that  looks  like  this...       First,  each  member  will  be  given  a  study  guide  on   Wednesday  at  Mission  group.  Beginning  Thursday   morning,  they  are  able  to  use  this  for  their  own   personal  devotions.  They  are  immersed  in  the  text   and  taught  to  listen  to  the  Holy  Spirit,  to  hear  what   God  is  saying  to  them  and  to  the  church.  By  Sunday   they  will  have  had  several  days  to  get  familiar  with   the  text,  to  see  it  in  context  of  all  the  scriptures  and   then  to  listen  to  God.  On  Sunday,  someone  preaches   and  does  hopefully  a  good  exegetical  job  of  the   © COPYRIGHT FORGE CANADA


passage, to  make  sure  that  what  people  are  hearing   from  God  is  consistent  with  the  text.  Then  from   Monday  to  Wednesday  they  resume  both  their   personal  devotions  as  well  as  are  involved  in   discipling  relationships,  so  that  when  the  group   meets  on  Wednesday  night,  each  person  has  a   contribution  to  bring.  They  each  bring  what  they   believe  God  has  said  to  them...and  because  of  the   preaching  and  study  guide,  it  should  be  informed.   Then  the  group  discerns  what  God  has  said,  and   makes  practical  application  together.  In  this  way  we   keep  trying  to  teach  that  there  is  no  clergy/laity   distinction,  but  rather  just  a  variety  of  gifts  to  serve   the  body.       Q.  Community  and  mission  exist  in  a  rhythm  of   inward  and  outward  movement.  As  Jim  Wallis  once   ƉƵƚŝƚ͕͞tŝƚŚŽƵƚŶƵƌƚƵƌĞ͕ĂĐŽŵŵƵŶŝƚLJǁŝůůĞdžŚĂƵƐƚ itself  in  pursuit  of  a  vision.  Without  vision,  a   community  will  become  stuck  in  self-­‐preoccupation   and  will  travel  in  circles.  With  only  vision  a   ĐŽŵŵƵŶŝƚLJƐŽŽŶůŽƐĞƐĂŶLJƌĞĂůƐĞŶƐĞŽĨůŽǀĞ͘͟    How   have  you  worked  at  keeping  the  balance?     Wow.  Deep  and  difficult  question.  Jim's  quote  is   helpful  to  say  the  least.     I  think  it  is  fair  to  say  that  we  functioned  in  a  much   healthier  fashion  in  the  earlier  years  of  the  church.   Lately,  we  have  not  done  as  well.  Some  pain  in  the   church  has  offset  the  balance,  or  the  smooth   functioning  of  both  of  these  in  our  life  together.  The   picture  that  comes  to  mind  is  that  of  a  teeter-­‐totter.   When  it  functions  well  with  the  weight  distributed   evenly,  it  really  can  be  a  lot  of  fun.  When  too  much   weight,  or  too  much  force  is  applied  in  one  direction,   it  can  be  a  rocky  ride.  There  are  times  when  balance   is  important,  but  I  think  more  than  balance,  it  has  to   do  with  seasons.  Sometimes  vision  needs  to  lead  so   that  the  teeter-­‐totter  will  swing  in  one  direction,  and   at  other  times  nurture  needs  to  lead  the  way.       A  couple  of  years  ago  we  received  such  a  push   towards  the  need  for  nurture,  that  it  was  almost  as  if   vision  went  sailing  off  of  its  end  of  the  teeter-­‐totter.  It   was  hanging  on  for  dear  life.  We  have  tried  to  provide   enough  nurture  to  bring  healing  to  the  pain  in  these   last  few  years,  with  the  recognition  that  one  way  to   restore  "balance"  is  to  refocus  on  vision.  This  is   difficult  for  sure.  Too  much  vision  when  nurture  is   needed,  will  just  cause  a  massive  move  the  other  way   and  then  we  may  not  recover  at  all.  I  would  say  that   we  have  focused  on  better  communication,  more  

times of  community  (hopefully  that  is  life  giving)  and   then  slowly  to  re-­‐engage  at  the  vision  of  seeing   neighbourhoods  transformed.      Q.  Are  there  special  disciplines  that  keep  you   "awake"  to  God?  Do  you  exist  in  any  practical  sense   ĂƐĂ͞ĐŽǀĞŶĂŶƚ͟ĐŽŵŵƵŶŝƚLJ͍     Great  question...  simple  answer.  We  are  a  covenant   community  with  5  practices  that  we  engage  in.  Each   one  is  shaped  by  our  values.  We  engage  in  morning   and  evening  prayer.  We  have  daily  reading  in   scripture.  We  practice  the  sabbath  weekly  and  allow   this  to  shape  some  space  each  day.  We  commit  to   meeting  face  to  face  with  our  neighbours  each  week   and  to  blessing  some  one  in  the  church  on  a  daily   basis.  These  five  are  a  part  of  the  fiber  of  who  we  are.      Q.  What  is  the  relationship  of  Southside  to  the  larger   body  of  Christ  in  Vancouver?  What  does  this  look  like   in  practice?     In  the  past  we  have  played  a  big  part  in  trying  to  bring   unity  to  the  church  in  Vancouver.  In  each  of  our  4   congregations,  we  have  either  participated  or  led  the   ministerials.  This  has  been  more  about  churches   working  together  and  praying  together  to  see   neighbourhood  transformation  than  it  has  been   about  pastors  just  meeting.  However  in  the  past  few   years  as  our  church  has  been  through  much  pain,  we   have  pulled  away  from  leading,  but  are  still  trying  to   be  as  supportive  as  we  can  be.  God  is  at  work  in   bringing  churches  together  for  the  purpose  of   mission.  We  couldn't  be  more  excited  about  that.     Q.  Nothing  stays  the  same  for  long.  As  the   neighbourhood  has  changed,  how  has  Southside   maintained  its  missional  edge?     We  are  now  17  years  old.  The  inner  city  of  Burnaby   where  we  started,  is  now  becoming  a  very  middle   class  and  commuter  based  urban  centre.  There  is   much  change  happening.  It  has  also  become  a  very   multicultural  place.  Our  gatherings  look  different  and   our  efforts  to  serve  the  community  are  changing.  We   have  entered  again  into  a  process  of  discernment  in   Burnaby  to  see  how  we  might  best  participate  in  the   mission  of  God  in  that  place.  The  question  is   excellent,  I  think  we  are  just  not  yet  prepared  to  give   a  complete  answer.  Check  back  in  a  year  from  now.         © COPYRIGHT FORGE CANADA


Q. In  the  West  we  have  measured  success  by   numbers  and  dollars  and  buildings.  Have  you  faced   that  pressure,  and  if  so  what  metrics  do  you  use  or   what  Scriptures  help  you  evaluate  your  call?     Stories,  stories,  stories.  It  is  about  faithfulness  and   not  success.  However,  I  think  it  is  also  fair  to  say  that   we  had  better  ask  hard  questions  of  ourselves  if  we   are  not  seeing  transformation  in  peoples  lives  and  in   the  neighbourhood.       The  past  few  years  we  have  not  grown  numerically   and  yet  we  have  been  faithful  in  a  number  of  areas.   Our  ministry  has  not  been  without  fruit.  So,  it  is  not   all  doom  and  gloom.  Yet,  we  are  asking  questions  of   why  we  are  not  seeing  the  conversion  of  our  friends   as  we  have  desire  for.      Q.  Jim  Wallis  wrote,  ͞dŚĞŐƌĞĂƚƚƌĂŐĞĚLJŽĨŵŽĚĞƌŶ evangelism  is  in  calling  many  to  belief  but  few  to   ŽďĞĚŝĞŶĐĞ͕͟ĂŶĚ͕͞ŶŝŶĚŝǀŝĚƵĂůŝƐƚŝĐƵŶĚĞƌƐƚĂŶĚŝŶŐŽĨ the  Gospel  carries  the  danger  of  making  salvation   into  another  commodity  that  can  be  consumed  for   personal  fulfilment  and  self-­‐ŝŶƚĞƌĞƐƚ͘͟,ŽǁŚĂƐ Southside  resisted  these  cultural  temptations?     For  two  years  we  have  asked  the  question  over  and   ŽǀĞƌĂŶĚŽǀĞƌĂŐĂŝŶ͘͘͘͞ǁŚĂƚĂƌĞǁĞĚŽŝŶŐƚŚĂƚŝƐ inadvertently  producing  consumers  and  not   ŵŝƐƐŝŽŶĂƌŝĞƐ͍͟tĞĂƌĞƚƌLJŝŶŐƚŽůŝǀĞŝŶƚŚe  power  of   the  Spirit  and  not  compromise  on  the  biblical  call  to   make  disciples.  We  want  to  produce  people  who   know  their  identity  in  Christ,  desire  to  be  obedient  to   him  in  all  ways,  and  to  follow  him  in  mission.  There   are  times  when  we  make  mistakes,  and  times  that   even  when  we  get  it  right,  people  walk  away  because   they  find  the  call  too  difficult.  Lots  have  come  and   loved  what  we  stand  for,  but  left  when  they  see  that   we  are  serious  and  hold  each  other  accountable.       There  are  times  when  we  are  tempted  to  focus  on   growing  numerically  at  the  expense  of  what  we  feel   would  be  compromise.  But  the  words  of  Gordon   Crosby  (Church  of  the  Saviour  in  Washington  DC)  ring   as  loudly  in  my  ears  today  as  when  he  spoke  them  to   me  11  years  ago.  "Never  compromise  from  the  vision   that  God  has  given  you."  I  want  to  make  sure  that  we   are  not  putting  any  roadblocks  in  the  way...  but  that   we  are  completely  faithful  to  what  God  has  called  us   too.  God  promised  that  we  will  find  that  difficult.    

RESOURCES

³3URFODLPLQJWKH*Rspel Afresh: Developing a 0L[HG(FRQRP\&KXUFK´ What will  the  church  of  the  future  look  like?  Not  like   ƚŚĞĐŚƵƌĐŚŽĨƚŚĞϭϵϱϬ͛ƐͶŽƌƚŚĞϭϴϱϬ͛ƐͶƚŚĂƚ͛ƐĨŽƌ sure!  The  end  of  Christendom  guarantees  that.     The  annual  Vital  Church  Planting  conference  is   becoming  a  venue  where  some  of  the  most  creative   and  entrepreneurial  leaders  of  our  churchͶbishops,   clergy  and  lay  leaders  from  across  the  countryͶare   gathering  to  network,  learn,  pray,  and  strategize   together.  After  three  years  hosted  in  Toronto,  we  are   looking  forward  to  our  first  VCP  West  to  be  held  in   Edmonton  this  May.    

Vital Church  Planting  ʹ  Edmonton    May  18-­‐‑20   http://www.vitalchurchplanting.com/  

© COPYRIGHT FORGE CANADA

MVM Issue 13 - May 2010  

Issue 13 - May 2010

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