Monday, 30 March 2009

mission is God at surprise

Today began with a glorious view of a skein of geese flying across where I went running – absolutely freezing so I’m glad I brought my wind jacket with me! It was lovely to watch that moment where the lead goose drops back for another to take the lead - and let someone else lead into the wind.

A few memorable quotes from those around the table these few days:

‘we should expect to be surprised if we trust and believe in the Holy Spirit and we use this as an empirical test for a local congregation’

‘mission is God at surprise’ – although quoting David Bosch I think.

‘you can’t baptise those who have yet been born’

‘most complex theory is inherently practical – it has to do with practices’

‘it is modernity which has delegated the work of the Holy Spirit to the irrational.’

‘it is the custom of our church not to go to church’ – apparently made as a comment following the German census.

We had a few choices available in terms of where we attended morning worship today. I opted for a Mexican, Spanish speaking congregation, which was a wonderful experience. In terms of format it was not unlike our typical diet, which I found interesting in itself: worship songs, a few bits & bobs including a opportunity for anyone to come out and greet those with birthdays or wedding anniversaries, followed by a sermon (we had to leave before the end). The church was planted by the Baptist Mexican pastor eleven years ago and there was about 150 present, but they’ve planted four other churches from this one over that time. He’s now going to be working further afield, with the NBA, to plant at a rate of one per year across Minnesota. These guys do rhythm and we were led in worship by a guy at the piano who had a great gift.

Lunch was good too – a return to Famous Dave’s where I went two years ago for meat, meat and oh yes, meat. The Think Tank began today with Wilbert Shenk tracing the past 50 years of missional development. I agreed withhis perspective we’re at a pivotal moment, but hope to get him to suggest a little more in terms of where next?

We're in this together was a phrase, which came up more than once and I couldn't help but think again about the geese with whom I began the day.

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