Slow Church: Savor, Deepen, Invigorate

I’ve posted on the concept of missional being the “slow movement” of Christianity. The concept of slowness, as defined by this movement, is essential IMHO. Taking the appropriate amount of time to experience the various activities, people and communities in our lives, we are able to savor, deepen, and invigorate the important things and relationships.

slow_churchTwo authors have now published a book focused on the topic. “In Slow Church, Chris Smith and John Pattison invite us to leave franchise faith behind and enter into the ecology, economy and ethics of the kingdom of God, where people know each other well and love one another as Christ loved the church.”

The book has been well recommend, so this 247 pager has been added to my “slow” reading list.

Here is another post related to consumerism in the church.

Also checkout SlowChurch.com.

HT: Scot McKnight

What is a Third Place?

Back in the ancient of day, 2007, I wrote on ‘Third Places.’

Missional Church Network has a very good follow-on post that is well worth the read: ‘What is a Third Place?‘ Good video also and I really encourage you to pursue finding the ‘Third Places’ in your neighborhood, then get involved.

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Seeking Slowness

I’ve posted on the concept of missional being the “slow movement” of Christianity. Give it a quick read and then see where Dan White takes another slant on this topic in “Missional-Marinating.”

I really like this quote:

I’ll tell you up front, my old-high-capacity-leader-self resists this marinating process. My old self can’t rest, it can’t sleep. It needs quick returns, escalating numbers, regional buzz and high excitement. All of those pieces previously helped me not feel like a failure. But here in the laboratory of a Missional-Community, slow is our friend. Seeking slowness is essential in the stew of discipleship. Cultivating a culture saturated in the embodied life of Jesus requires purposeful patience. A new character needs to be developed while leading in this type of atmosphere. Slow is not something to bear with, it’s something to embrace. No longer am I trying to launch an organization that sparkles before its consumers. The call is to shape a way of life; to create a conducive setting for transformation. In this stew we need unhurried time and grace-filled space for:long conversations, unearthing conflicts, detox from consumerism, facing missional fears, relearning how to listen, frustrated prayers and moving beyond suspicion to trust.

You can follow Dan on Twitter @danwhitejr .

Neighborhood Action

For many years, our faith community has worked with our neighborhood high school to help them maintain the school grounds and landscape. One year we took a Sunday, and instead of the usual worship service, we had everyone show up at the school. It was amazing what a few hundred people can get done in a few hours.

Today we joined with Waterfront Foursquare, Portland Christian and local community neighbors for a clean-up, fix-up and spruce-up before school starts next week.

A great way to “moved into the neighborhood” and become involved with our neighbors.

Coaching Questions

Hugh Halter posted today on the topic of “How I Coach People into TRUE Missional Leadership.”

He gives four key aspects of life that must be coached in order for a leader to be a true missionally incarnational leader: Deep in Character, Clear in Calling, Culturally Savvy, and Able to Lead Inclusive Community.

Here are his coaching questions that can help our ability to engage our the lost culture with the Gospel:

  • Do you know the names of all your neighbors? If not, what can you do this month to get to know them without being a dork?
  • Are you doing any recreation, hobbies, or school functions with the intent to make friends?
  • Tell me about some good conversations you’ve had with lost friends this month? Have you made any plans to invite them deeper into your lives or go deeper into their lives?
  • How could you bless the children of the people you’re meeting?
  • Have any of your lost friends invited you to anything this last month? Did you go? How did it go? Any plans to thank them by inviting them to something cool?
  • Have you done anything this last month that you may need to apologize for to a lost friend? Maybe not being more helpful to them? Saying no to an invite they gave you? Maybe being gone when something bad happened to them?
  • What are you finding is always good news to your lost friends? Have you made any plans to be good news? What is that?
  • Have you taken much time this month to exegete the needs of your community? Have you talked to any school employees, city workers or government officials? How can you make that happen or begin to help where they expose need?
  • How many parties have you thrown or gone to this last month?
  • What types of non-profits are working in your area that you could help out with and support?
  • Have you been able to share much of your story to a lost friend this month? How did that go? Any follow up?
  • Are you showing patience with the people around you or have you overstepped any lines the culture is giving you lately?
  • Have you helped serve anyone this month?
  • How are you praying for the people around you? What does that look like? Has God led you to do anything unique for a friend?
  • Have you invited any new friends to anything this last month? What was it? How did that go? Any next steps?
  • Are you and your spouse in the same stride in how much time you’re giving to lost folks? How many times a week or evenings have you been opening your home?
  • How many of your 21 weekly meals have you been sharing with people?
  • How have you been engaging the culture with those in your Christian community?
  • Do you feel that your Christian community is trustworthy to bring any new friend to? If not, why and how can you mentor your community toward inclusiveness and trust?
  • Have you been advocating for any people this last month?
  • What common space, coffee shops, pubs, etc. have you been hanging out in consistently? Have any interesting relationships started to form?

I plan on using these to challenge my own missional journey and those I’m coaching.

I’d be interested in anything you’d modify, delete or add. Leave a comment.

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Missional is the “Slow Movement” of Christianity

I’m a big supporter of the “slow movement” which is all about taking time to enjoy the journey of life, as opposed to the desperate need to arrive, meet the goal, accomplish the task, do as much as possible in as little time as possible.

The slow movement is not about doing things slowly, but seeks to connect us more meaningfully with others, with our communities, with family, and with who we are as spiritual beings. A main tenant is that by taking the appropriate amount of time to experience the various activities, people and communities in our lives, we are able to savor, deepen, and invigorate the important things and relationships. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) echoes this need.

Philosopher Guttorm Fløistad summarizes the slow movement, stating: “The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today. It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal.”

slow movement missional

Missional is the slow movement of Christianity. It’s where “the way of Jesus” informs and radically transforms our existence to one wholly focused on sacrificially living for him and others, where we seek to connect more meaningfully with others, with our communities, with family, and with Jesus.

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Building Community

Helped organize a neighborhood event this morning along with the Stephens Creek Stewards and Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. We got a neighborhood work party together to help protect the wetland on our street from Purple Loosestrife and other invasive weeds.

We filled two garden waste recycling containers, saved the City the expense of sending in a crew, create some ownership of our local environment and got to know some of our newer neighbors.

It was another step in bringing a greater sense of community to the neighborhood. At the social hour in our backyard afterwards, I got a good response about doing a block party next year.

Small positive steps in community and relationship building.

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Where are the Missional Evangelicals?

missional journal

David Dunbar, President, Biblical Seminary, writes his Missional Journal every couple of months and it is always something I make time to read.

This month he asks, “Where are the Missional Evangelicals?”

It’s a good thought provoking read where he first lays out the issue: “The positive and enthusiastic involvement of Evangelicals in the cause of global missions over the last century makes their comparative non-participation in the missional church movement intriguing. I am not saying that the movement is devoid of evangelical voices–that is clearly not the case. But given Evangelicals’ concern for gospel outreach, one might have expected that by now the word “missional” would be more clearly understood, that churches would be more engaged with the opportunities for incarnational ministries, that more Bible colleges and seminaries would be revamping programs in a missional direction, etc. So what’s up?”

Dr. Dunbar suggests that “perhaps a larger problem that has stood in the way of evangelical embrace is that the missional discussion has not seemed sufficiently ‘biblical.'” Now comes the heart of his argument. He writes that this current ambivalence of Evangelicals toward the missional church based on this assertion “is no longer justifiable (if indeed it ever was) in terms of insufficient biblical grounding. The game-changer is (or should be) the thoughtful and detailed work of Christopher Wright, an OT scholar and chair of the Theology Working Group of the Lausanne Movement. His massive study The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (IVP, 2006) argued powerfully for the theme of mission as integral to a faithful reading of scripture. He has recently published a very engaging follow-up entitled The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (Zondervan, 2010).”

He then highlights several points from the books that he found particularly helpful: Mapping the Bible around the mission of God, election, and a holistic or integral mission.

Full text here in a PDF document.

If you don’t get his newsletter, you might give it a go. You can subscribe here and also read archived newsletters.

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Wanted: Notorious Leader of an Underground Liberation Movement


Notorious Leader of an Underground Liberation Movement

Wanted for the following charges:

  • Practicing medicine, winemaking and food distribution without a license.
  • Interfering with businessmen in the temple.
  • Associating with known criminals, radicals, subversives, prostitutes and street people.
  • Claiming to have the authority to make people into God’s children.

Appearance: Typical hippie type—long hair, beard, robe, sandals.

Hangs around slum areas, few rich friends, often sneaks out into the desert.

Beware: This man is extremely dangerous. His insidiously inflammatory message is particularly dangerous to young people who haven’t been taught to ignore him yet. He changes men and claims to set them free.

Warning: He is still at large!


Jesus Movement

These are the opening lines of the June 21, 1971, cover story in Time magazine. It covered the “Jesus Revolution” or as we usually labeled it, “The Jesus Movement.” It was the time when the Spirit moved deeply among the under 30 generation — a generation growing up in “an impersonal and despiritualized life that increasingly finds release in sexploration, status, alcohol and conspicuous consumption.” A world falling apart, being exploited and destroyed, where a “Silent Spring” seems very likely, a world on the “Eve of Destruction.” It was a time when many of us honestly never expected to see our 30th birthday (seriously).

And the Church? Irrelevant, meaningless and sold out to “The Man.”

The Jesus revolution rejects not only the material values of conventional America but the prevailing wisdom of American theology.

Times don’t seem to have changed much, but the Spirit is blowing a refreshing breeze among His people which has again opened spiritual eyes and ignited a movement — the missional movement — where “the way of Jesus” informs and radically transforms our existence to one wholly focused on sacrificially living for Him and others and where we adopt a missionary stance in relation to our culture.

The Jesus Movement faded, but its fruit radically impacted the American church. I expect the missional movement as we know it will also fade, but it too will (and already has) have a radical and deep influence on western Christendom.

Because the Jesus Movement is the root of the missional movement, it is well worth your time to read the full Time magazine story. You can find it here.

Other Relevant Posts

Learning From the Jesus Movement

Living Life As Beautifully As We Can

Another Jesus Freak Called Home

 

Tab Benoit — Shelter Me

A new song for me that I’m really enjoying is Tab Benoit’s rendition of “Shelter Me.”

Lyrics

the earth can shake the sky come down
the mountains all fall to the ground
but i will fear none of these things
shelter me lord underneath your wings

dark waters rise and thunder pounds
the wheels of war are going round
and all the walls are crumbling
shelter me lord underneath your wings
shelter me lord underneath your wings

hide me underneath your wings
hide me deep inside your heart
in your refuge – cover me
the world can shake
but lord i’m making you my hiding place

the wind can blow the rain can pour
the levees breaks the tempest roars
but in the storm my spirit sing
oh shelter me lord underneath your wing
shelter me lord underneath your wing

hide me underneath your wings
hide me deep inside your heart
in your refuge – cover me
the world can shake
but lord i’m making you my hiding place

now on the day you call for me
someday when time – no more shall be
i’ll say death where is your sting
shelter me lord underneath your wing
shelter me lord underneath your wing

hide me underneath your wings
hide me deep inside your heart
in your refuge – cover me
the world can shake
but lord i’m making you my hiding place

now on the day you call for me
someday when time – no more shall be
i’ll say oh death where is your sting
shelter me lord underneath your wings
shelter me lord underneath your wing
shelter me lord underneath your wing

Live Performance

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