Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Big Tent?

Unless you're Frank or Bob Hamilton I bet you only have an inkling of what the "Big Tent" is, if you have any idea at all. http://www.pcusa.org/bigtent/ We do such a poor job of communicating...

I didn't really know anything about it until my RSS feed from PCnews started coming alive in early June. Now this is normally a pretty slow, and boring, news feed. Unfortunately much like the general impression PCUSA gives on a normal basis; yawn. (Sorry, but its the truth.) But the stories that started coming from the Big Tent show a new, exciting, and engaged PCUSA!

Here is a link to this June's PCnews archive. Take a look at the articles coming from the Big Tent, there are many and they are still coming. I think you'll be surprised; hopefully pleasantly.


Bob Hamilton actually went. Ask him about it!


Monday, June 8, 2009


In my April 24th blog I talked about imagining what we would like Faith church to be rather than trying to “solve” our problems. This is a method that several sources recommend for broadening our perspective and really tapping into what God wants Faith church to be. So, how do I imagine Faith’s future?

I imagine a Faith church that has recaptured its past vision for outreach. Outreach that manifests itself in a wide variety of hands-on community involved service efforts. Outreach efforts that have local, regional, national, and global impact. Outreach efforts where members are encouraged to work together with non-members. Outreach efforts where Faith teams also join in the work of other faith-based and secular services. But …I also imagine these outreach efforts are rooted in something much deeper than just doing good works! These efforts do not just answer the call to serve the poor. These efforts also answer the call to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

I imagine these efforts are supported through study groups at Faith. Study groups that tie these efforts to Jesus’ call in the Word and Holy Spirit. Study groups that learn to grow in faith through service and be more effective. Study groups that share what they’ve learned from their teammates and those they serve. Study groups that pray for each other, their non-member teammates, and those they serve. Study groups that invite non-member teammates to join in and understand why we do these things. Study groups that hold retreats to relax, rejuvenate, and celebrate Christ’s work through them; inviting all teammates, member and non-member alike.

I imagine a Faith church rich in interaction with each other; member and non-member. Interactions that love each other as the children of God we are. Interaction through bible study that challenges each of us to grow in faith. Interaction through fellowship that celebrates our life in Christ together. Interaction through prayer that supports each other. Interaction through service to each other in good and difficult times.

I imagine a leadership that discerns, guides, and architects the direction of Faith church in becoming the church Jesus Christ desires. A leadership that nurtures Faith’s members along their spiritual paths toward discipleship and identifying their spiritual gifts. A leadership that empowers Faith’s members to use those gifts in the work of forwarding the church. A leadership that is rooted in our Presbyterian reformed past but embraces the leadings of the Holy Spirit to continue reforming into our future. A leadership that provides boundaries and gentle correction to maintain the focus on being Christ’s church.

I imagine all of this culminating each week in worship that brings the church back to where it begins and ends; God. Worship that returns our work to the one responsible for it all. Worship that refuels the church to begin again each week. Worship that is vibrant and diverse reflecting the needs and experiences of all those drawn together to worship God. Worship that does not limit our experience of the God that is limitless. Worship that models how we should live each day as disciples in the community of Christ.

That is how I currently imagine what Faith church can be. Now do I have the lock on what the vision for Faith church should be or the ability, knowledge, drive, and energy to make this happen? Hardly! God’s the only one that can make this happen. And he’ll do that through all of us together working in community on his plan. So, what do you imagine? Enrich the vision of how Faith church can model the kingdom of God by bringing your dreams to the table!