Today I am going to blog notes as I go so they will be rough.
I will finish yesterday’s notes later this afternoon.
Sunday – Session 1
Open listening to a piece – Holy, Holy, Holy so majestic, transcendent in this setting…
We are sitting in the living rooms in a circle looking out to the side of a mountain listening to a choir singing. It is beautiful.
Please can we learn hymns at VCC? Being in a church history class I really want us at VCC to connect to our past. We are not an island (the 20th – 21st century evangelical Christians) to ourselves there is 2000 years of history to take hold of and to be our guide as we go forward.
Ray has asked
He was not raised in church so he does not have an affection for church culture. He was brought into the church experience as a young adult. His parents are musicians so his affection would be more in music. His heroes in life are James Brown and Ray Charles. He says Jesus invited him into his heart and he said yes. He got involved in an evangelistic culture so he thought you were supposed to get people saved all the time. He also was in a culture that did not value education. As a result he went on and started planting churches. There was no training for church planting. There was also no money. No education. He began painting houses. He has planted several churches…it was on again and off again as a professional Christian. This has complicated his relationship with money. He is now telling how long we have been friends and our history of working together.
In the mid 1990’s we began experimenting with evangelism. Jim stood up and said we are all resigning from evangelism but we are not going to stop telling people about Jesus. We began experimenting. He is an experimenter and a provocateur. Which makes him not a good pastor. He however, loves pastoring leaders.
He resigned the church and went back to painting houses. Churches don’t want to pay you for experimenting. He started an organization Off the Map. Primarily to re-imagine evangelism. The whole game of evangelism became very intriguing to him. This led to all types of experiments. One of which since he couldn’t get people to come to church he began paying people $25.00 to come to church and critiquing him and the church.
Off the Map began doing conferences and Jim wrote a book about Evangelism without Additives. By the way, Michelangelo did not paint the Sistine Chapel alone but we don’t know the other’s names. We need to give our teammates credit.
He is now telling the story of the Ebay atheist. Go to here to read the story. He co-founded Off the Map with
Off the Map is a virtual organization. Hemant visited churches and blogs his experience. What made this story provocative is that Jim is not trying to convert him but hiring him to convert Christians. Jim wanted to have Hemant’s church experiences to teach Christians how atheists and non-Christians view Christians.
This story got a lot of publicity. The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, lots of radio. Since that time both Jim and Hemant were offered to write a book. Hemant wrote his own book. Jim found a new atheist, Matt Casper to co-author a book with him. Jim and Matt went to ten churches, anonymously and reviewed them.
Jim is talking about one church that stood out –
Out of this comes the book, Jim and Casper Go to Church. You can find the book here.
Jim is doing a disclaimer that he is not an expert on any of this. He had been a pastor for twenty-five years and even though it was not him, he empathizes with pastors. He is particularly interested in ordinary Christians. He likes unmotivated and uninterested people. He is very interested in moving people. How do you get people to change is very intriguing. The book project was just about taking an atheist to church. He didn’t prepare him, he didn’t try to explain church, he just took them. Jim wants to learn more about why people like Jesus but don’t like the church.
He is now talking about how we (Christians) have taken on a meta-narrative of being the world’s moral police. History gives us a perspective on where we are in relation to this large story. So, Jim took
Jim does not know hockey so if he went to a hockey game with someone who knows hockey the person knowing the game would have a different experience than attending with someone knowledgeable about the game. This was Jim’s experience attending churches with Matt. He is giving the story of visiting Joel Osteen’s church – you can read about this in the book.
Jim asked me to give a short summary of what we (VCC) are doing in Shoreline.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote “the church is only the church in so much as it exists for others”
David Bosch quotes “Jesus had no intention of founding a new religion” and that “this new community should not severe itself from the world”
Drucker – something is going on right now that within a few decades a massive reorganization will happen. Usually the church is at the forefront of resistance to the change. There is a lot of discontinuity going on right now. This becomes the work we are involved in and we either see it as an opportunity or an obstacle.
This book has nothing to do with Christianity and Atheism. It is more about modeling how to create a dialogue with people with whom you disagree. Reorienting to see how people see Jesus.
Ray is now telling the story of
Ray models how to be accountable to women in ministry. He is telling the stories of the different women he is the assistant to in the DMin programs that BGU is involved with. This is astonishing because Ray is brilliant but recognizes his limitations and puts women who are gifted into places of leadership and then assists them.
Ray’s 10 questions – model analysis guide
- What’s unique about the context of this ministry?
- What’s the history, where did the vision come from? Vision is a holy discontent with things as they are. Ministry begins with a capacity to see. You look at things as they are and ask why, I dream dreams that never were and ask why not.
- What do they actually do? What’s the program? Where do they actually do what they do, what, where and when.
- How’s it organized? How are they structured? Is it a sustainable model?
- Who’s the audience? Who are they trying to reach?
- How do they pay for it?
- The skills, what is the organization learning that they are trying to teach their staff? What’s the tool kit?
- What’s the theology of this model? Is it a Philippians’ or a Colossians’ model? One hermeneutic clue – pay attention to Jesus. The public Christ and the personal Christ that came unglued in 1920. Modernists coming out of WWI were devastated. Christians killing each other in
Europe. Modernism decided to go into social work. Evangelicals went to the personal Jesus. We are going on 100 years of this separation. The irony and sadness is that in the 1800’s it was the Evangelicals that were doing social work. Like the founders of the CMA – AV Simpson. Salvation in the Slums…Rescue Missions began in the streets of the cities …Niagara conference of 1889…so many movements are in reaction to something else rather than just being innovative…Reformed churches operate top down – creation and redemption theology are their – the holiness tradition you start with the Jesus in me…revivalism and social reform – the holiness movement coming out the 18th century vs the holiness movement of the 16th century were two very different christologies. Calvin tithe pays for church services – tax money pays for public service. So Christians have two kinds of tithes, common grace is a city wall, a hospital, an education system etc…saving grace pays for Christian ministries – for Calvin God owns all the money and you are called to steward it in two buckets – no difference to Calvin – it is an ecological theology…in the holiness of Wesleyan Pentecostal – Jesus in me is the starting point (Neihbor writes about this) a personal conversion.
- The strengths and limits of this model? (not good or bad) is this a bicycle or a 747? There are things a storefront (a bicycle) can do …there are things the large church (747) can do…every model creates space for a different model to be next to it. If you can read a supermarket you can read a community…send students into a supermarket and ask them how the store has changed…how is it the church in the neighborhood doesn’t understand how the community has changed but the supermarket without the Holy Spirit understands the change – the mega church creates the need for boutique churches …exegete your neighborhood in the supermarket
- Take away – what are the transferable concepts or principles for my context?