Wednesday, August 01, 2012

the limitations of single emotion churches

I had a wonderful afternoon with leaders from the Grace network today. It was my first speaking gig as Principal among Uniting Church leaders and needless to say, I woke early, nervous and prayerful.

The Grace network had asked me join them to reflect on mission. I did three things with them.

First, I used the Jesus Deck to engage Matthew 9:36ff. Those gathered offered some great insights and it was wonderful to see the way, once again, that the Jesus Deck opens up such rich conversation.

Second, I suggested a missiological reading of Matthew 9:36ff. I noted the link between compassion, prayer and the sending of the disciples. In other words, mission began with the emotion of compassion. I noted other emotion words around Jesus – anger, love, sorrow – and pointed out how each led to a different expression of mission – anger led to mission as justice-making, love led to mission as disciple-making, sorrow led to mission as intercession.

I suggested that at times the Uniting Church came across as a single emotion church. Some parts make a big deal of justice, but seem to be less passionate about disciple-making or prayer for healing. Other parts make a big deal of proclamation, but seem less passionate about justice. In contrast, the mission of Jesus was wholistic in emotional and mission.

Third, I invited group work on what it might mean to help people mature in their feelings and this generated a lot of excellent discussion (shaped by what I blogged last week regarding A Question of Principal 4). Hopefully I left them with some sense of what is shaping me as Principal – growing people in mission. I certainly left richer for having been with folk working so closely and carefully with people and congregations. On the way, I was asked for some helpful books …

Posted by steve at 09:39 PM

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