Wednesday, 21 March 2012

LICC launch

What was I hearing yesterday at the LICC launch of Imagine Church?

Even LICC, who have a, rightly, good name among us as being extremely well presented, have problems with their PA & vision system – the solution to this is quite simple – go Apple.

We owe a significant debt to LICC. They persist in what was described as an uphill struggle, in attempting to awaken the UK Church to the missional context we are living through, but not in! They need our applause and our encouragement, because we’re not too dissimilar, in the British Church, to the British press and we tend towards knocking, rather than building one another up. So, well done Mark, Tracy, Neil, no doubt others too, who have brought the resources focused on today into the light of day.

The agenda set out before us has become familiar language to some, but this remains a small minority.

-       My great fear is the increasing usage of words, which I wholeheartedly support, such as ‘missional’ and ’movement’ are merely words.
-       I am concerned, even among those who are using these particular two words, they are simply replacements for ‘mission’ and ‘organisation’ and the engagement, with their fuller meaning, is largely superficial.
-       If the above two points are cause for concern, then an even greater concern must be the whole-life discipleship ‘agenda’ is not even on the radar of most (vast majority if measured in acting on implications) church leaders and members.

Christians across the denominational and new streams tributaries share a deep and common concern around this issue. Not many of us, it seems, but there are some and they have some significant places of influence among them – just from looking around the room. Regional Ministers from four of our own Associations were there, with Andy getting the prize for the earliest train at 5.20 am.! It is na├»ve for Baptists, or anyone else for that matter, to imagine they have a monopoly on the wisdom, or adventure required right now. Just listening to Martyn Atkins speak about the Methodists, is evidence enough of that - how the mighty have fallen. The challenge, especially for those of us engaged in looking at Baptist Futures, must be to translate what we understand to be on God’s heart and in his purposes, into streams of energy towards and through local and accessible missional communities around Britain. It would look something like 'stupid' if we simply scale down who and what we provide and don't take the opportunity to re-align the core with our missional direction and desired outcomes.

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