Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cultivate Learning Party

I spent the day at an event called Cultivate – which was a one day conference at in Hamilton. It is the fourth in a series of an ongoing mini conference discussing new church initiatives. It is held in a neat place called The Freeway – a coffee house that has a drop-in and an art gallery and a stage for musicians.
Cultivate Gathering is a learning party. What does that mean? Well, I took some stuff off their website … basically it's designed to be everything good about a conference without all the rigamarole... and much more fun and interactive. Instead of bringing in some big-name, American speakers to tell us what they already wrote in their latest book we are looking to Canadian church planters and leaders to tell their stories. Instead of you listening to message after message and being filled with information we want you to be part of a dialogue with people in similar shoes and learn and grow within that relationship.

How the day worked was that we had a panel discussion with people who were doing the stuff in one of three areas; Planting [grassroots storytelling], Neighbourhood [living incarnationally], and Leading [forming community]. Then we broke up into small groups or discussion pods and discussed some of the topics that came out of the panels. You could switch groups anytime. At the end of each discussion time people tended to congregate in the two or three most interesting pods and the moderator needed to repeatedly call us back to the next session.

I took some notes on the day – part of them are what people actually said and some of it is my thoughts as I interacted with what they said. This may not be entirely coherent but it is probably in keeping with the informal style of the day.

Sunday is for telling our stories and for worshipping God.
A lot of people have great ideas about how to do church and how to make a difference in our society but how do we create something that is rapidly reproducible? The Emerging Church/Missional Movement is just a lot of hot air if it is not really effective in reaching out to people and creating some kind of reproducible model or churches.
What really is good news for the poor?
Transformation of the individual only really happens in community. A lone Christian is an oxymoron – is this a true statement? How does transformation really happen.
Being a neighbour starts by being a good neighbour to the people in your own house
Building relationships is hard work and it takes a long time
It’s not something that you do it’s something you are, something you are becoming
Sharing our stuff with other families is countercultural to most of western society. For example buying one lawn mower or one snow blower for every ten houses.

Some discussion pod topics: Pocket living (connecting with two or three others in your neighbourhood for prayer, study, accountability, fun), Living in community – i.e. in a house or apartment together, Third spaces (a place like the Freeway), Finding and working with a person of peace (how do you connect with them?), and How do you offer community?

Segment Three - Leading [forming community]
What is your own story of leadership
What is the most important issue in leadership in your church that needs to be fixed or emphasized – what’s our job?
We have to admit that we are leading
We sometimes pretend that we are not leading but we really are.
People are on a journey and we are midwives coming alongside to assist in the birth of a new thing
Many times power is held on to too tightly and not given away
Requires taking risks with young leaders
What is the role of the leader in inspiring people to follow Jesus?
First of all I follow Jesus
Live authentically and transparently
Be and encourager – cheerleader build people up
Take a chance on people
Leader takes on the responsibility given – understand the contract between me and the people who are following me
I need to have proper confidence in my role as a leader

It was a thought provoking day. It will take some time to process it all.

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