Wednesday, September 24, 2008

District Resource Day: Bill Easum

In the interest of me actually blogging something, since I just am totally uninspired to write lately, I'm posting my basically unedited notes from today's District Resource Day with Bill Easum. The topic was “Leading Turnaround on the Road to Mission.” I read a little of Easum at Drew, but haven't read much else. We had some interesting conversation - lots of questions asked. Some things I thought he was right about, some I just thought I'd heard too much before, and some I really disagreed with him on. I guess that's a pretty typical breakdown though, isn't it? (My apologies for the parts of the notes that won't make sense without the corresponding hand out. I'll try to blog better soon ;) )


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Where is Jesus going?

Way, Way, Beyond Emmaus

Where is everyone going?

* Away from spiritual centers
* Away from religious professionals
* Out into the world, away from the institution

Faithfulness – not survival, hanging on, but doing whatever is necessary to be on the road to mission with Jesus. If a church isn’t making disciples it is unfaithful and it doesn’t have a right to exist. A Hospice is not a church.

Institutional survival can never be goal.

Do you spend 80% of time going to them?

A dying church takes 11 years to turn around, but we still move every 3-4 years.

Stuck or Unstuck Churches: Concerned with the Roof, or Concerned with Jesus. Have to lose people in stuck church before you can turn it around. Stuck churches are clergy killers.

The building has nothing to do with being the church. Going to church/being the church.

Not mentioning Jesus enough – focused on God. “My God is not Oprah’s God.” Specifying which God – “God of Abraham,” etc.

Christians ought to be able to move from one building to another without any difficulty, and without being tethered to a building. The building is the place where the church meets, not the church.

Generation: Place more important than relationship, vise versa.

System:

Some are – who is in control? (1)

- There must be more than this (2)

- Why are we here? (3)

- How can we do it better? (These two are healthier) (4)

(Think, Law, Feel, Grace)

Key people in your church:

- Deciders/controllers

- Doers

- Ignored (stuck church ignores ignored, unstuck focuses on ignored)

- Dreamers

- Leaders

Sphere 1 – Egypt

Sphere 2 – Wilderness: Some doers become dreamers. More confusion. More controllers will try to control. Fan discontent, spend time with dreamers.

Sphere 3 – Permission-giving, decentralized. Is it inviting? Is it growing? Is it sending? Three questions applied to everything. Mission, Vision, Values. Develop leaders and systems. Pastor spends most of time either in community, being visible, or growing leaders within the church. Difference between Wesley and Whitfield – Whitfield didn’t leave system to survive him, Wesley did.

Sphere 4 – can’t stay here for long.

How do you unfreeze a system?

- Anything that destabilizes the status quo, destabilize the story, allow leaders to do something new

1) A Solid Community of Faith – Spiritual Leadership. Highly committed spiritual leaders who put mission before personal interest, attempt ministries that don’t necessarily involve them. “Pray for it and pay for it.” (Pastoral leadership.) Functions around trust. Disciples would follow Jesus anywhere. No major on-going conflict. (You take something to the board, and you’re praying that so and so isn’t there.) Desire to connect with the world.

2) Biblically Sound and Culturally Relevant DNA – if we do this, will it make more disciples of Jesus Christ? Not “warehousing Christians.”

3) Indigenous Worship – “doesn’t need a bulletin.” Can’t grow a church by great preachers. Safe place to hear dangerous gospel, not a dangerous place to hear a safe gospel. Easiest way to grow church and to get in trouble. No announcements! Concerts: big, extravagant, etc.

4) Mobilizing the Laity to be God’s People in the World – identify, recruit, discern, equip, deploy, coach

5) Redemptive Missional Opportunities

6) Organizing Around the DNA

7) Hire Servants, Not Professionals

8) Place and Space as Metaphors

9) Radical Generosity

An emerging crisis – we are short on leaders. On the other hand, the roles of leaders is changing dramatically from/to – solo leader/team-based leader, top down/permission giving, given authority/earned authority

People coming in to church are at best skeptical, at worst angry. Are you hospitable or hostile?
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