We (that would be the royal “we”) are now accepting entries to contribute to the “You Might Be A Quake If” montage. I already have one *lovely* submission (aw, Gregg: you’re just so photogenic). If you’d like to expound on why it’s oh-so-Quakey, that might make it into the post as well.
There’s been an *overwhelming* response to the post “You Might Be Emerging If . . .“, and I thought it was time for the Quakes to represent. See, one day a while ago, we were pretty hip; and in fact, some still are. But there’s been splits and mergers and now the name “Quaker” is attached to a number of things, such as:
and the larger edible grouping of
You *know* this had to be a rockin’ place:
Quakers aren’t limited to those who walk about on two feet:
Apparently we protest the war in Iraq
and also process the oil we’re fighting over
Apparently Santa wants to be a Quaker
Most folks think we don’t partake of the “fleshly pleasures”, but there seems to be a difference of opinion out there:
We seem to be in the business of home goods:
Sometimes we look very stoic
Do they look hopeful to you?
And sometimes a little doofy
We may meet in a building that looks like this
Or not in a building at all
Who says Quakers have no sense of humor?
You know we’re a hit at any party – we’ve got our own board game!
We’ve dabbled in the realm of questionable literature – this cover screams harlequin romance
And a potential murder mystery – shocking!
Canadians love us (or they love banana muffin mix . . . )
Sometimes Quakers seem behind the times, but we still feel a need for speed
We’re child-friendly, too (although we haven’t learned yet that cookies are a sometimes food)
Be careful: we come in all shapes and sizes – you may never know when one of us is sneaking up on you:
This one’s especially fiesty
I’m reading George Barna’s revolution: blame my father and John Macy.
The unfortunate truth is that most citizens of the “greatest nation on earth” are mired in an agonizing revolving door of trial-and-error efforts in a disheartening and unfulfilling search for truth, integrity, meaning, wholeness, connection, passion, and inner peace. Being in the presence of people who seem to have discovered the keys to achieving such lofty and desirable outcomes cannot help but cause earnest seekers to take notice — and to wonder how it is even remotely possible for Revolutionaries to succeed in our sophisticated age with such simple values and practices (13).
Simple values and practices: sounds very Friends-esque, yes? Or at least, first generation Friends – we’ve done a good job mucking it up.
Which brings me to a passage in Leviticus that’s been haunting me. The first thing that struck me was in a preceding passage, talking about what happens when people turn away repeatedly from the Lord, refusing to accept His Call and Word for their lives, and describing in graphic detail what will happen to them: “You will eat the bodies of your sons and daughters.” ~ Leviticus 26:29, meaning you will consume that which will keep your bloodline going. In today’s society, it might not be that graphic, but I’d say many parents sacrifice their child to meet the parents’ own needs, be it putting them through countless programs to ensure the child’s “success” according to their standards, or selling them out to the sex industry to bring in money: they consume some part of their children in order to feed a need inside of them.
But then comes an interesting part. After the people turning away again and again, and God punishing again and again, there comes this:
There Is Always Hope
But maybe the people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors. Maybe they will admit they turned against me and sinned against me. That made me turn against them. So I sent them into the land of their enemies. These disobedient people might be sorry for what they did. They might accept punishment for their sin. If they do, I will remember my agreement with Jacob. I will remember my agreement with Isaac and Abraham. And I will remember the land. The land will be empty. It will enjoy its time of rest. Then those who are alive will accept the punishment for their sins. They will learn that they were punished because they hated my laws. And they refused to obey my rules. They truly sinned. But if they come to me for help, I will not turn away from them. I will listen to them even in the land of their enemies. I will not completely destroy them. I will not break my agreement with them. This is because I am the Lord their God. For their good I will remember the agreement of their ancestors. I brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt. I did it so I could become their God. The other nations saw these things. I am the Lord.” ~ Leviticus 26: 40-45
The land of their enemies: I wouldn’t say the typical American culture is welcoming of folks who are *truly* following the call of Christ.
“The mere presence of Revolutionaries makes the typical American citizen — yes, even the typical churchgoer — uncomfortable” (16).
Ouch. I somewhat feel like the land of America has had a time of rest as well – seems like there’s a harvest out there, and God’s clearing the way in preparation for harvesters trained by His own Hand – in tune with His leadings, His Word, His Light.
What really got to me was “and the sins of their ancestors.” Can we truly move and be the Church that God calls us to be without repenting? I’ve heard that Donald Miller details a great experience with that in his book Blue Like Jazz: setting up a confession booth at Reed College, but rather than hearing confessions, he and his friends confessed all the crimes perpetrated by Christians and asked for forgiveness. As I’ve been reading the Bible, over and over God says that he will not only punish the sinner, but also his sons and grandsons and great-grandsons. Leanne Payne talks about needing to be cleansed of the sins of our ancestors (racism in particular) because it *will* trickle down from generation to generation until someone repents and asks God to give them a new spirit.
So, as a member of my worship gathering, as a member of my denominational gathering, as a member of the Church of God, what sins of my ancestors am I called to repent? Even if I wasn’t there, it’s affected me – us – the whole. How do groups corporately repent? We want to move forward: but can we if we don’t repent of the sins of the past?
I feel like I should put a big ìDRAFTî stamp across this post. While Iíve been sitting with these thoughts that Iím about to throw out to the World Wide Web for a while, Iím nowhere close to being decided. Theyíre just some things that have been poking at noggin and tugging at my spirit, and much like my kitten whoís currently sitting on my lap despite many attempts at getting him to leave – theyíre not going anywhere.
Sometimes being in the middle is a grand place to be: one is balanced and has clear sight of both ends of the spectrum. Sometimes it really sucks because you just feel like gray mush (and not the good Quaker gray). ðŸ˜‰
Two experiences of recent:
1) Andrew Jones came to town. Bob Hyatt kindly organized a gathering up in Multnomah Village. I had been reading a lot of ìemerging conversationî blogs and thought, ìIím going to meet kindred spirits: folks who will understand exactly where Iím at!î – that church is a way of living, not a weekly activity or social club. I met some amazing folks – people who were willing to be transparent to a stranger in their midst. I got into a discussion with Bob and started explaining some of my background and how I came to be there. Words started coming up like ìYearly Meetingî (which is nice and confusing in that itís the term for our denominational district as well as an annual gathering in July) and ìBoard of Evangelismî (I love and cringe at Bobís response: ìYou have a board that does evangelism?î). Communication was not as easy as I imagined; kinship was not instantaneous.
2) When I began this blog, it was important for me to work my denominational upbringing into it. I love having been raised in Quaker tradition. While I greatly resonate with the core beliefs and distinctives, I mostly appreciate the people I worship with – those that are drawn to the same worship expressions and beliefs as myself. Through my blog Iíve come into contact with other amazing folks who also claim the Quaker faith: weíve been able to discuss how some things look different, but many things are the same – responding to that God-placed ache to be in deeper intimacy with Him.
But while reading blogs and trying to get to know the background of other bloggers, Iíve hit a block. Folks mention terms such as ìHicksiteî or ìWilburiteî traditions; Inner Light; Conservative; Evangelical; Christ-centered or . . . ? Quakers have had quite a history: sometimes they were uber-active, sometimes they were uber-silent; some look like a community church full of special music and meet & greet times and a pastor preaching a message of ìGod loves you and has the perfect plan for your lifeî even though Iíve never been able to find those exact words in the Bible, some look like a bunch of very solemn people sitting in a room waiting for some unseen moment when they all of a sudden rise from their dormancy and begin spastically shaking hands. And generally when asked, either branch feels the need to throw in a disclaimer of ìwell, Iím not one of *those* Quakers.î ðŸ™‚
I donít know my Quaker history, to tell you the truth. Yes, I went to a ìQuakerî college; yes, I took ìHistory & Doctrine of Friendsî on Tuesday and Thursdays from 8:00-8:55. If you will note the time of the class, itís not a surprise that I retained very little (I say with much love in my voice, having expressed to the professor (and father of one of my best friends) that if we were getting paid (i.e. scholarship for Quaker students) to take this class that itíd be in their best interests to offer it at a time thatís conducive to sleep-deprived students: save that time for ìWorld of Musicî). As I read other blog entries, I find myself stumbling more over the language than understanding the true message of the post (ex. now when you say ìConservativeî, Iím assuming you donít mean Red State).
So after my ìEmergingî experience, I thought Iíd find comfort in a ìQuakerî experience, except I donít really find total understanding there. Talking with Bob I felt like somewhat of a boob; my thoughts were convoluted in terminology – Iím not emerging enough to leave behind definitions. Talking with other Quakers, I feel like an ignoramus and a bit ashamed to ask ìHuh?î – I’m not Quaker enough in knowing history and why Quakers stood for certain things. Hence my feeling of wading in gray mush.
I know Greggís said over and over (yes, Iíve heard you): Both/And. Both/And.
But I wonder what sorts of blocks my terminology and definitions give to other folks. Sometimes words can clarify; sometimes they can muddle. Is my language enabling folks to encounter Christ, or are their minds spinning over something like what type of evangelical I might be?
Part of me has thought of shedding my Quaker pin. How can I use it?: have I ever quaked with the power of God? Shedding my differentiation label certainly would support the idea that ìthereís really only one church, but lots of meeting places.î Particularly in this town where the Quaker college is perceived as pretty insular, would I have different interactions with folks if I simply said ìIím a follower of Christî rather than a ìFriendî? What would I miss out on? What would be gained?
I can hear the theologians going a little bizerko: how can I ignore [insert some word like eschatology or transubstantiation or Argumentum ad verecundiam (yes, I had to look that one up)]? I guess Iím making it rather simplistic (or for theologians out there: reductionist ðŸ™‚ ): I donít see Christ talking a lot of theology, but rather loving, teaching practical stuff, and healing folks.
Like I said, this statement should have a big ìDRAFTî stamp across it – the thoughts arenít necessarily coherent or well-founded: just some thoughts from recent life experiences, and it seems that I find Christís transforming light more readily in those than thinking about our area Faith & Practice.
There’s definitely a right answer to that question in our household. Ah yes, the latest phenomenon to hit the funny pages of the Oregonian: Sudoku, a Japanese number logic puzzle. Each day my husband comes home for lunch: we dole out sections of the paper – he gets Sports, and I get everything else. I quickly skim through stories, blurting out interesting things like , ìDid you know they might put tolls on 217? That sucks.î or ìDid you know that some hockey gear company and Nike have merged their logos?î (Cause my hubby likes hockey and business, and I like to sound like I know what Iím talking about, so I skim for things he likes, mention it, and let him pontificate).
But I always save the best for last – the Sudoku puzzle. My pen is ready – it changes daily depending on how many puzzles I have finished with it historically. I like these puzzles because my contribution doesnít rest on remembering random trivia and I can’t hear my mother in my head bemoaning the fact that phonics ruined my ability to spell (heh heh – right there, I seriously just couldnít spell phonics. I laughed: you should, too – except my mother, who will be shaking her head all the more). All the pieces are there – numbers and/or letters depending on how big you can Sudoku (I have yet to tackle the Sunday Monster Sudoku: too scary): you just have to look at the big picture and arrange them properly.
Today I was talking with a friend about young adult ministry. Actually, I was telling him to stop feeling so pressured about his job, to ìhold things looselyî, to recognize that while he might have vision of where we need to go that he canít solely steer us in that direction.
And then I started talking about how I donít follow the advice that I just gave. ðŸ™‚ I have those feelings and desires about certain areas of my life, particularly being on boards and committees. I just got a notice from one board about an upcoming meeting: weíre evaluating our current programs – are they good? Are they doing what they should? Why did they originate in the first place? Are they meeting those needs, or have the needs changed? And so for a week since receiving the letter, Iíve been pondering which Mr. Potato Head eyes Iím going to wear – happy, mad, or scary.
Part of me is selfish. Thereís a chunk of change for some of these programs, and Iíd like to take it and do young adult ministries with it: travel to churches in the NW, meet with folks who have a concern or compassion for young adult ministries, talk about the personality and distinctives of their particular area, and dream up ways of living out Godís love in their present reality. Part of me is idealistic: I could do it! Iíve got free time and connections and the passion! Part of me is realistic: I also have a husband and a one year old. Will people ever change? Are my desires in line with Gods (at least in how they come about?). And who says that the folks on the board would even think itís a good thing?
The reason I went to check in with my friend is because Iíve been concerned for him: heís seemed . . . driven yet discouraged, idealistic yet realistic, free to explore yet loaded with responsibility. And folks can only have so many opposing dichotomies before they tear. But a wonderfully wise woman gave me an image of this friendís work: ìHeís in labor! Heís birthing something new in the Kingdom, but right now heís stuck in the eighth or ninth month, and we all know thatís just plain uncomfortable!î
For myself, I feel like Iím looking at a Sudoku puzzle of my life: all the pieces are there, but theyíre not arranged quite right. Iím so focused by a certain box of nine squares that Iím not seeing the larger picture, and yet Iím distracted by flitting around with this chunk and then that chunk that Iím overwhelmed.
Thereís so much release and relief once one piece falls into place and the rest do the same: I often smack my head and wonder why I didnít see it before. The trite answer could be ìitís all in Godís timingî – which does have relevance, but it also has to do with my sight – my vision – my training and thinking and preparing and submitting myself fully to Godís desires for my life and the life of this Yearly Meeting and Godís greater Kingdom.
So, should we start offering up Sudoku puzzles to work on during open worship? A new listening exercise for our Listening Life Groups? Or maybe I should just stick to my kitchen table listening practice.
When my pappy worked at the YM office, he made the acquaintance of a lovely and engaging person: Harold Behr. For a while he headed up our yearly meetingís New Words/church planting efforts. Harold has the amazing ability to both energize you while completely wearing you out – all by simply walking into a room. Dad never quite knew what direction Harold was heading off in ñ and then again, Harold might not have known himself: but Dad saw the fruits of his labor and blessed him to continue to ìdo his thingî as long as the Spirit would allow.
Haroldís back in the Northwest after spending some time in the southwest. Heís working with Medford Friends doing locally what he did at the yearly meeting level – very cool. Heís a strong proponent of simple chuch/house churches/non-traditional or non-institutional church. Heís got a great site – tons of resources and thoughts and just some great stuff.
As I explore the emerging church movement and how it meshes or meets with my current body of believers, itís easy to try and put patches on the way Iíve worshiped: to try and crank ìjust a few more miles!î out of it. Haroldís latest post challenges my natural tendency to cling to the defunct works that are in existence, calling people to ìrelease the simple churchî just as Christ released his disciples into the world:
Way too much of what is branded as simple church or the emergent church has become the clustering of church people who have dropped out or are misfits for one reason or another, gathered to nurse (“heal” is the normal term used) each others wounds, seemingly or at least presumed to be caused by some monster traditional church. I don’t know how you define these clusters but they certainly aren’t much like the simple church plantings Paul and the other disciples were engaged in.
Most SCs I am aware of, with a few exceptions, stay together beyond what is healthy for them. And there will never be a worldwide multiplication of simple churches again unless we teach and release setting the proper expectations as such from the beginning. Are you part of such a group? Remember Paul spent as little as 2-4 weeks with pagan peoples in preaching the gospel and gathering new believers together before he left. What are we doing that makes US think we need to continue and continue on to feed and nurse one anther’s psyches forever and ever. I am suggesting as an effective undershepherd we need to “kick them out” into the work of the ministry
Thanks for sharing these words, Harold: theyíre not always easy to hear, but they are much needed.
I say that in jest . . . kinda.
I received two great emails today.
This is from a friendís dad who is the clerk of the YM elders. Heís been a fantastic advocate for those looking to live authentically, whether it be inside the box or outside.
Greetings. I’m reading a book I think you wrote using the pseudonym Reggie McNeal! It’s called The Present Future
Isnít he great? He sent me some quotes, and I couldnít agree more: it was like reading my thoughts, only put together in understandable, knowledgeable, and eloquent terms (Iím more of a Virginia Wolfe – random streams of consciousness writer: word limits really cramp my style). Dave mentioned that this might be helpful in bridging an understanding between traditional and non-traditional folks. Go there – read – give feedback pleaseandthankyou.
So now Iíve got Andrew Jones in my bloglines… Did you read his link to this article about Alan Hirschís new book on the church in China? Then, did you read the comments? Holy cow! Maybe our call to this stuff AND to stay inside the church is part of the move toward integration!?! (But I do tend to have a much too high opinion of myself, so maybe itís just wishful thinking.)
Now, Gregg is one of the last people who has too high an opinion of himself – he is a wonderful model of servant leadership (well, at least in my experience: I donít know how hip he is to doing dishes at home ðŸ™‚ ).
What made me laugh about both of these emails is the content. Present Future talks about how our church structure is flawed – Dave is the clerk of our YM elders (facilitating those who oversee our denominational structure). Dangerous Stories points out that the church in China is flourishing despite (because?) of a lack of leadership; their pastors and leaders are outlawed, the church is disbanded, and yet itís flourishing despite all odds – Gregg is the pastor to one of our most established churches.
What I *love* about these two individuals is that they are drawn to this sort of stuff, they resonate with it. They see the problems within our structure, and rather than having the selfish desire of self-preservation, of ensuring their personal security and status, they ultimately desire to seek out Godís will – to put Godís Kingdom work above their own. God doesnít seem to intend that a work always exist: sometimes they need to be laid aside. We can either move in harmony with His spirit, or we can fight it and become the anemic church that currently exists.
What is God asking you to look at differently, to lay aside? At what cost? Will you respond?
Itís been a week since Yearly Meeting concluded – a week and a half since the workshop on The Missing Generation concluded. Iíve heard a bit of response: folks asking how it all went, people throwing out a few ideas here and there of where to go from here.
But Iím restless: my spirit is unsettled to the point that Iím not sleeping well at night (and sleeping is one activity I excel at). I sense an excitement and a need for further discussion – conversation – creating space to listen: and then action – individuals, groups, concerned people going out in their daily lives and then coming together to strengthen and equip each other for further ìadventuresî.
I *hear* a lot of people say the same thing; I donít *see* it happening.
A friend commented on his experiences: ìYoung adults who have attended church have an attitude of entitlement; young adults who have not attended church have questions (sometimes tough) that they want answered, and they want a place where they can invest – give back – give their selves.î
Has this been your experience?
I ache to be intentional about pursuing relationships with young adults. I desire that our yearly meeting not only recognizes the lack of young adults in our population, but that they listen for Christís direction – and then actually do it!
Would you be interested in gathering? Not just folks from NWYM, but anyone with a concern for being intentional in building relationships with young adults. I know so many folks my age who are aching, restless, hopeless because the world is yelling empty solutions in their face and the church passively stands in the corner and whispers words that donít have a chance of being heard.
Call me: email me: leave a comment: even if you are in a different local, I believe God will honor our desire to be in contact. Your experiences – thoughts – concerns – anger – frustration – joy – support – love.
Do you have the ache?
I donít know what it was about Wednesday: maybe I was still buzzing off of the great conversation regarding young adults, maybe it was because I read The Bondage Breaker before bed (not a good choice for a peaceful nightís sleep: I knew I shouldíve gone with The Jesus Creed), maybe itís that Iíve been thinking these things for a while and they just built up to a boiling point. And boy, did my tea kettle whistle – woo whee.
At our board meeting on Wednesday I spoke up twice (or as I said later, ìmouthed offî – to which John Macy told me he thought I did it the whole meeting: thbhbhththth) :). The first instance was regarding the lack of equal representation on the board. Iím one of three girls and the only young adult. We have no representatives who are attending a New Works or Hispanic Ministry – if those are three of our target groups, shouldnít we include them on this supervisory structure?
[This leads to a greater problem that I talked about later in the meeting.] The thing is: board structures donít necessarily match up with young adult or New Works lifestyles – thatís why they arenít naturally on the board. The YA and NW populations generally gravitate towards more organic organization structures – not a group of people that donít really know each other who meet twice a year and spend a lot of time saying ìwhat did we say last time?î Should we look to get those representatives on the board, or should we look at where these folks are and change our organizational manifestation to meet them where theyíre at?
Which led to my really mouthy time (let me preface this with the fact that Ií was tired, it was the end of the meeting, and I was hungry – not a good combo for a hypoglycemic. Someone shouldíve put my mute button on). The chairperson for the visioning committee came to talk with the board to get our opinion on their work. Last fall the Yearly Meeting office sent out a requests to churches and to the individuals of the Yearly Meeting asking what the YM can do for them – a sort of assessing our strengths, weaknesses, and attempting to draft a vision statement (this whole process has been prompted due to a change in superintendents). The committee made a report and has compiled a different document containing vision, image, and mission statements as well as assessing strengths and weaknesses in the Yearly Meeting and creating contingencies to deal with those.
I understand why weíre doing the vision statement: whenever thereís a change in leadership, the easiest way to make a mark, to gain control, is to get a vision or identity and lead with that in mind. But I wonder what good it will do. The statements brought to our board sound so academic, not practical – is it going to help me be missional, or will it be something to put in nice little italics underneath the YM logo on the letterhead? I understand that the organization probably needs an identity . . . but does it matter if we as individuals donít know our identities in Christ? How much time and effort and resources are going to go into this? Is it worth it in the long run?
Then we got on the topic of structure, specifically re-structuring – trying to clarify what functions are for boards, task forces, specific areas, etc. Some of the work that my board and other boards do overlap – should that be happening? One person voiced the idea that folks donít want to restructure because they might lose representation. It seemed like a lot of ìwell, letís try putting this piece over here and that piece over thereî when maybe Godís calling us to get rid of our ìdefunctî (yes, I used that word – probably poor choice, but see above about my lack of mute button) pieces and engage in something completely new and out of the box.
I asked if they believed this new structure would last into the future – and how far. The reason weíre looking at things now is that they havenít been seriously looked at since itís creation ìin the horse and buggy daysî (so saith the Vision Committee rep); communication is much faster, and society has changed so much on the whole. I pointed out that change is coming ever faster than before: how long will this last before it needs to be restructured again?
Does it take into account that there are no young adults? Whoís going to maintain this structure, or is it going to die out in fifteen to twenty years when there are no members to keep it going?
Is the purpose of this whole process to maintain an institution, or is it to equip our body to be incarnational and missional? The vision statement says we want to be missional, but weíre spending our time and resources pushing words around rather than acting – how is that missional? Do our words and our actions match up, or are they correct-sounding theories?
Why is it so pastor-focused? It seems that a great deal of effort is put into equipping the pastors. Which is fine, to a certain point: why do they need so much equipping? Could it be that the pastor-as-the-head-of-the-church model is faulty, that weíre putting too much pressure on the pastors, that they arenít using their gifts correctly and so theyíre burning out? The image I have is of a car: if you use a part incorrectly, it will burn out and break – you can do tons of stuff to patch it back together, to strength and ìequipî it to work, but if thatís not itís true function, itís going to burst apart. Why do we have so many pastors burn out? Does this mission/vision statement still work if we remove the pastor/head-of-church model?
Are we spending time asking God what we should be doing, making room to hear His voice, using spiritual disciplines rather than business models to discern our direction? Perhaps He wants to move us in completely radical ways, but weíre too busy rearranging our puzzle pieces to listen.
Yeah, that flew over really well. Last year I couldíve blamed this on having six-months-pregnant hormones, but this year I had no such cop-out. ðŸ™‚
The representative pointed out that people wouldnít be pouring time and effort into this if they didnít have a passion for people, that they wouldnít be doing this ìjust to keep an institution going.î Hmmmm . . .
My beloved mama sent me a quote that she found during a time of one of her bajillion restructurings at her former place of employment:
We trained very hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to
form into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that
we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it
can be for creating the illusion of progress, while producing confusion,
inefficiency and demoralization.
… from writings of Gaius Petronius, arbiter elegantiae and Roman consul of
Bithynia, who was forced to commit suicide in 65 A.D., having fallen foul of
Tigellenus, favorite of Nero
I don’t believe this is what the vision statement/restructure is intending, but itís something to take into consideration.
I shouldíve kept the wise words of Andrew Jones in my mind, but the mouth got going, and the brain shut down:
ìGive them time . . . Donít expect considerable change. Its not good for an old wineskin to stretch too much in case it bursts.î
I love being on my board. I love being a part of this Yearly Meeting. I feel a call to be a bridge between those who donít resonate with the ìinstitutional structureî and those who do. This post probably sounds otherwise, but I think of it more as voicing concern out of love – if I didnít love, I wouldnít say anything: apathy would be my friend. If that ever happens, Iíll be sad.
So, in case I become ìdenominationally rejected,î does anyone have room for a sometimes-mouthy, new mama blogger? My accessories include an awfully cute son and a tech-savvy husband. ðŸ™‚
Itís our last day of board meetings! At least, itís the last day for our board – sometimes business is taken care of on Friday, but itís usually not desirable: we love each other, but weíre not *that* ìFriendlyî. ì:)
We discussed the Hispanic Ministries Task Force: what the difference between a board and a task force (board is supervisory where task force is going out and doing the work), how many members should be on the task force (we decided 5-7), how people can be ex officio members and not need to be task force members (i.e. donít need to be part of the final decision making process), what type of representation should be on the task force (itís lacking women – not necessarily bad, but should be intentionally pursued), who should be part of the ìexecî task force (can make decisions when the whole task force canít meet – 3).
We heard from two of the Hispanic Ministries pastors, and man: are they on fire! The presented statistics showing the number of Hispanic folks in Oregon cities, and the number of Hispanic churches in each of those cities. Their goal is to have started ten healthy churches within ten years, and to have the largest Hispanic Friends Churches in the U.S. (I think). Currently there are four gatherings: Vancouver, Reedwood, Newberg (which is actually a ministry of Newberg Friends), and McMinnville. Check out their website. It’s a lot better than many of our longstanding church’s websites: these guys are going all the way!
We talked about building stuff – a New Works site has a commercial building on its property and thatís creating some interesting situations to deal with (city stuff, rent stuff, tax stuff, zoning stuff). Being a people-person and a tired-mama, I didnít track the conversation very well: it was all details about stuff, not people. And I was brainstorming about Young Adult stuff before I entered back into full-time mamahood.
The process for planting a new church/mission point/works came up: when does the Board get involved. Sometimes folks donít feel like ìstartingî anything – even if itís just a meeting for clearness – without the Boardís blessing. The New Works director wants to bless these individuals to go out – do their work – follow their call. Once things get rolling, then the evaluation, equipping, enabling, supporting process begins. Keeps these works from being theories and good ideas, but rather being realities.
Weíre having our fall retreat on November 14th at New Life in Vancouver. Should be a good time of regrouping and deeper discussion. I hope to have received a Board of Evangelism ìmanualî by then (Iíve heard one exists, but somehow we canít exist in the same room).