This was a plenary session packed with speakers!
The first was Reggie McNeal, of the Leadership Network. He described the Missional Church this way:
- The people of God (we are not planting an “it” but a “who”)
- partnering with Him
- in his redemptive mission
- in the world
Some soundbites from Reggie. I didn’t find he had much of value to say – mostly preaching to the choir in a humorous, but overly dramatic performance:
- Jesus didn’t say “I’ve come to give you church that you might have it abundantly”
- The point is they’re not coming!
- re: Build it and they will come – “When are we going to get over it?”
- Be the church where we’re already assigned
- Churches are like airports, they are not designed to be the destination
- Is the city better of because we’re here?
- “We had a good Sunday” – so what? Is the quality of life better in our community?
- Why does any kid leave school reading at a grade 4 level when our churches are full of people who can?”
- Get off your donkey and do something
- We are here for life
The second part was an interview of Alan Hirsch and Ed Stetzer. Hirsch is the founder of the Forge Missional Training network, and Stetzer is a well known writer and analyst of church life in America. Stetzer mostly spoke about metrics beyond “nickels, noses and numbers” suggesting we measure metrics like how many friends people have outside the church, and whether leaders are modelling what they teach. Hirsch spoke a great deal about risk, including these soundbites
- We have domesticated life and the idea of God
- I can’t find one book on the theology of adventure or risk as it pertains to God. This affects us, makes us risk averse and safety obsessed.
- Jesus is wild and uncontrollable.
- Church should be like Jesus, and if not, something is fundamentally wrong: unchristlike, boring, insecure, and fearful of one another.
- Leaders must model risktaking.
The third part was Efrem Smith, who I described in an earlier post as the planter of a multi-ethnic church in Minnesota. He was a very different speaker in plenary, he was clearly in “preaching mode” and drawing on his theatre background in what made for a very energetic sermon. I appreciated a few things he said, but found he took a few exegetical liberties that left me looking for substance beneath the energy and hype. Some of his soundbites from this talk:
- God desires to advance his Kingdom through our transformed and transforming lives and churches.
- Church Planters are bridesmaids for Christ & his church.
- Kingdom Urgency: Alert, Aware, Heart Open
- The day Jesus came, the NASDAQ of heaven went crazy. God gave us Kingdom capital.
- Be a Star Trek church planter, go where no man has gone before.