Day #2 at the Inside-Out Conference.
When I am confronted with the reality of the church (and my church) and the Jesus I know from scripture, I am challenged with a Jesus that I think would come into our meetings/gatherings and act rather disturbing in our midst as we go about out business. In fact, I'm not sure our business would continue the way we know it.
With both plenary speakers from last year, Michael Frost, and this year, Alan Hirsch, I am left asking difficult questions about what we are doing and why. Why do we worship in the from and fashion that we do? How is missional living shaping anything we do from small groups to meetings to worship services? When will the church growth model of church, we are so fond of, finally go out of style in the U.S.? What will it take to finally change our ways? How much does the church have to decline? How many people have to leave? How many students will not connect with the modern church we've created?
I heard from someone working in the background of PGF that the production crews (made up of a wide variety of people and backgrounds) from last year and this year loved Frost and Hirsch. They were laughing at the their jokes and following with their incredible story telling. I'm not sure all the people at the conferences loved their messages. Honestly, their message is difficult to handle when we start to wrestle with real questions about a real church and what it means to follow Jesus.
What do we do when the message inside a conference is less than good news to those attending but sounds like good news to those on the outside? I believe we need to listen up and hear where the laughter is coming from. If we identify that a group of people who are apparently outside the conversation enjoy the message, then we need to bring this sense of the redemptive work of God to our churches and communities.