A few days later but I'm Josh and I was invited to blog during the Inside-Out Conference.
This is and was the challenge for me on day one: to reimagine and engage with a Jesus that is subversive to the ways that we think about and practice life in the church.
I love interaction with people and the ability to talk in multiple venues with speakers and friends. Today, I had the opportunity to engage in multiple conversations with Alan Hirsch, author of The Shaping of Things to Come and The Forgotten Ways. Personally, I loved our conversation offline in the hallway, in a small group setting with our church leadership team and in a Irish pub in the evening. His plenary session had plenty to think about but my mind was already hoping for more one-on-one conversation. Some conferences give the opportunity for this and others don't. Today I was allowed this great opportunity.
It's late and I need to crash so let me keep this short and simple. I was personally challenged today in specific ways:
(1) Alan asked an offhanded question tonight during his first talk, "What are we doing keeping the people of God from being the people of God?" This is a question we need to ask ourselves if we want to encounter a subversive Jesus...the Jesus of the Bible. What does this mean for an ordained pastor who is already a part of the church organization that seems to be feeding the passivity of people through producing religious goods and services? It's not a question I want to dig into tonight but I need to do further wrestling later.
(2) This insight has been galvanizing over the last few months but today in conversation with Alan and our church leadership team was a definitive moment of clarity. For missional transformation to happen and for the local church to be transformed, it must begin with people like you and me. We (the people of God) need to make the commitment to go on mission together and see where God leads us. As a leader, I think I need to ask the hard questions of people, drilling down so that they start to discover the prophetic imagination that God has given them and then I need to get out of the way of what God is and will do in them. I also need to get in the game and reimagine a prophetic imagination of my own in relationships with people in my world.
(3) One of Alan's suggestions to us was "Experiment like mad." Don't think of it as failure but recast or reshape new initiatives in light of experimentation. Our church needs to let go of the pursuit of excellence and a set of metrics that don't seem to get us anywhere different and be encouraged to use our innovative DNA and risk experimentation that might include failure that we would learn from.
For more info about me or further thoughts about similar topics see my blog.
Off to bed and another great day tomorrow or is this today?