workshop: jason clark

November 3, 2006

Euro-Emerging Revolutionaries (Positive Church)

I’ve been reading Jason Clark’s blog for the past few years, and had a few good interactions with him on email, so I was excited to meet him in person. I think he represents a great voice for the church, and I doubt these notes do his ideas any justice.

Premise: There seem to be two options in the changing culture that we are facing:
-Dig in deep, hold on to what we have and resist
-Believe that God has left the church and everyone should walk away from it.

The Via Media – What is the alternative to those two polarities?

What happens when you ask what is wrong with Christians rather than what is wrong with church?
-There is room to critique church, but, that can’t be the only issue.
-We need a vision for church that is not based in what we don’t want church to be – that’s pathology

Instead, let’s construct a positive vision for the what the church should be
-The emerging church has critiqued the church and engaged culture, but it has lacked a critique of the culture
-Universalism has never led to a missional church movement toward growth
-We are going too far with anti-structuralism and the naïve belief that the grace of God is not located in church
-When people say they have no problem with Jesus, but don’t like the church, they’re not thinking about the Jesus who is the head of the church
o It is not possible to separate Jesus from the church
-We are going to have to rediscover in a new way, the way to say to people, “Will you give control of your life to Christ?”
-It’s so easy to fall into the pattern of talking idealism and not doing anything
-Most Christians who are leaving church are talking idealistically about why they don’t need church, but the reality is that they are converting a religious system where they don’t need church

What might this look like?
-Look at the marketplaces of church
o Joe Myers four spaces where people interact – Public, Social, Private and Intimate
o Churches need to understand how to work in all four spaces, or we need churches that excel in all of them
-Look at the media of church
o The church has always been at the front of implementing technology
o Today, we’ve never been more connected than ever, and disconnected at the same time
o And we still need space to be truly message
-Look at the message of church
o Maybe part of the problem is what we communicate
o The message is about the kingdom, not just heaven after death!
o This is not just about that, but about placing the whole of your life into the kingdom
o How can we find new language to help people understand that Christianity is not just about going to heaven when you die?

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