Thursday, May 24, 2012

@pentecost mission is for the geriatric

This is a fascinating video, either at Pentecost or for anyone working with a mainline, declining, aging denomination in mission, leadership and change. Fuller Theological Seminary lecturer Mark Lau Branson shares a contextual reading and interpretation of the Pentecost story in Acts 2 in which he suggests that those gathered in Jerusalem were mainly retirees and it is amongst the faithful elderly that God’s surprising spirit turns up.

Mark is author of the fantastic Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry and Congregational Change, which explores the use of Appreciative Inquiry in church life, excerpts of which I invariably use when talking about mission with local churches. Mark is also co-author of Churches, Cultures and Leadership: A Practical Theology of Congregations and Ethnicities, of which Part 3 especially is a superb resource, offering practical skills of leadership by using a case study of real change.

Posted by steve at 11:31 PM


  1. […] sustain:if:able kiwi ยป @pentecost mission is for the geriatric. Share this:FacebookEmailPrintShareRedditStumbleUponDigg This entry was posted in Theology. Bookmark the permalink. ← pentecost is coming…. […]

    Pingback by pentecost: who was there? | tasmission — May 25, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  2. I really, really want to use this with my congregation, but I’m not sure his premise stands up. First of all, I suspect he’s neglecting how much the Roman society was built on slaves. A farmer today might not leave his fields to travel at harvest, but a landowner with enough slaves might.

    My second hesitation is that the climate in the middle east is not the same as in Kansas. It’s more like WA: dry summers and wet winters, which means that harvest is probably going to be in spring or summer rather than autumn. I haven’t researched this one, but that would be my gut feeling.

    So I suspect that to say it’s predominantly retirees feels to me like he’s stretching it to fit his agenda, which is a shame because it would also be my agenda.

    Please tell me I’m wrong, because I would love to use this.

    Comment by Ivan — May 25, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  3. Ivan,

    Not wanting to be turned into a defender of the interpretation, but my memory is that Pentecost for Christians is the same time as Shavuot for Israel, celebrated 50 days after Passover, as a thanksgiving harvest for the new grain of the summer wheat harvest in Israel. So it is a time of harvest.


    Comment by steve — May 25, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  4. Steve, you are quite right. I should have remembered that. Thank you very much.

    Of course this now means a bit of a rewrite for this Sunday.

    Comment by Ivan — May 25, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  5. Sorry.

    I had meant to blog it earlier in week, but had to work evenings Mon, Tues, Wed; and then fix a leaking roof with too much rain on Thursday!

    Of course, Pentecost does come every year, so you could stick with what you’ve got and know that you’ve already prepped for Penty 13. That is the advantage of seasons.


    Comment by steve — May 25, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

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