Saturday, August 22, 2009

emerging disciples resources: a work in progress

Thanks to those who attended my Emerging disciples workshop in Auckland yesterday. A number of you stayed after to ask specific questions about resources, and I referred you to my blog. Since there’s a lot of stuff here, I will try and draw it together (over the next few days and in between hockey and church). ie this blog post a work in progress

1. Who am I? – tired of the “church” in “emerging”
fascinated by what a missionary encounter means in my context

Art insert – 3 art pictures drawn from the fabulous Picturing Christian Witness: New Testament Images of Disciples in Mission (This was thrown in at last minute, sensing the need in what had been to date a very word driven, logical conference, to cater for visual and intuitive learning styles. Plus it echoed the challenge from Mike Gohen, from post-Christendom mission to look to missiology. So the 3 art pics were artistic interpretations: John 4 in an Armenian Bible, and woodcuts of 8th century Slavic mission).

2. Emerging FROM? Or emerging TO? Emerging should not be defined as from something, as from what we hate about church and how we were/not discipled. Instead emerging should the defined as to something: to following Jesus faithfully in today’s culture/s, to new wineskins, to place of Gospel, tradition and culture.

3. Images of growth (Hat tip Craig Mitchell,
A ladder
A journey
A web
An encounter

Discussion followed, and an impromptu poll showed that the image that most resonnated with understandings and experience were as follows ..

A ladder = 1
A journey = 23
A web = 6
An encounter = 4

Then an audience request – a fifth category of “all the above”. Which I suggested should be a plea for multifaceted approaches to discipleship.

4. Images of maturity: one, holy, catholic, apostolic (Hat tip John Drane)

One – living with the story – tradition and richness of (rich and diverse) past

Holy – spiritual in all of life. Missio dei. We talk about taking people to the altar, but what about the alter to people. The need, from 1 Thess 2:8, to both share life and live faith. To illustrate this, I threw my shoes out the door. Luke 10 invites us to

Catholic – hospitable. Mark 9:40 whoever is not against us if for us. This opened up a discussion about who we treat those different to us. I pointed to the diversity of Biblical responses to the “other” and the need for us to use the Biblical text with wisdom. I mentioned my Dueteronomy “kill them” sermon.

Universal – integrative

“today we are “creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers, artists, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers.” Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind, Riverhead, 2006, 1.

5. Images of formation

6. Discipling continuums
process and event
formal and informal
fall/redemption or creation/incarnation

7. Practically
a) Multi-congregational model

b) Missional practices

c) Lectionary and Bible days

d) Growth coaches – which offers one on one; whole of life coaching. A person meets with a coach, together they set a programme, and the coach holds them accountable. This was what started the idea , and the realisation that most discipling programmes are content based, not people based. They impart information and have set starting and ending points. How to be more flexible? It was also important to see growth as whole of life and at all life stage, not just for “new” Christians. So this is some research I did as part of a sermon series. This is our finished publicity product, which is given out to interested people. And this is an article from a New Zealand Christian newspaper about the concept.

e) Life shapes

f) Sense making faith

g) Spiritual take-aways

So that was it. Looking back, we covered a lot of ground in 50 minutes, yet I left feeling we had only scratched the surface.

Is there a book in this I am beginning to wonder – missiology, theology, practice of discipleship in contemporary post-Christendom contexts?

Posted by steve at 02:02 PM

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