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Tuesday
May102016

Thank You for Faith Forward! 

I am incredibly grateful to RBCC UCC for supporting my continuing education as a leader for children, youth, and in faith formation.  Thank you for providing me with opportunities for growth, learning, networking and spiritual direction.

Earlier in April, I was so fortunate to attend Faith Forward in Chicago.  Faith Forward is a gathering dedicated to bringing together children and youth ministry leaders for collaboration, resourcing, learning, and inspiration toward innovative theology and practice.  

Something is happening in the church. Fresh expressions of Christianity are taking root and growing across the globe. Forward-thinking approaches to ministry, worship, and community are emerging. Questions are being asked. Lines of division are being crossed. And change is happening in all sorts of Christian traditions and denominations. 

Here are just a few names of some of the powerfully inspiring people I was privileged to meet and learn from, as well as their main messages.

Brian McClaren is an author, speaker, social justice activist, and pastor. Brian’s groundbreaking books include A New Kind of ChristianityNaked SpiritualityA New Kind of ChristianA Generous Orthodoxy.  Adults need to recognize that the church is going through a great spiritual migration and we need to let the children and youth lead it.  A reawakening often takes at least 2 generations to happen.  We as leaders in children and youth ministry are committed and courageous; leading our congregations to hand over the transformation of the church to the younger generations.   

Melivin Bray, the author of The Stories we find Ourselves in.  Stories that Compost......Animating our children's moral imagination.  We are doing a poor job of telling our sacred stories.  The bible is written to us and for us to find ourselves in.  We need to make way for what will be.......to compost the stories.  That which can't be composted is petrified.  Let's not let that happen to our sacred stories.  Stories are like a bell that's still ringing, we just need to not be afraid to make them our own by changing their context.  

Lucy Moore, works for The Bible Reading Fellowship as Messy Church team leader. She is responsible for developing the work of the Messy Church movement nationally and internationally.  How an ordinary church can help families outside its walls start to come together to worship, and how people of all ages might grow in that context. What (and who) is outside of our reach in our traditional church services?  What messy alternative can we offer?  If we are preserving our church and worship services only for the people already in the building on Sunday morning......we're doing it wrong.   

Dr. Soong-Cha Rah, Author of Prophetic Lament: A Call to Justice in Troubled Times.  Change is really about loss.  There are 3 responses to major change: To Disengage and opt-out, Idolatry (magic formulas and quick fixes), and to Lament.  How we deal with and practice lament, is key to our churches' survival. Lamenting is to acknowledge the loss and to be willing to be led into transformation.  What are we afraid of losing in our church?

Otis Moss the III, Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.                                      Speaking on Methodology vs. Message.  "The church is an 8 Track church in a streaming world."  "We've always done it that way, doesn't cut it any more."  "Context matters to young people."  "Worship needs to include 4 essential pillars: Relevant modern context,  Art, Movement, and Poetry of spoken word."  Churches thrive when they are Alive with the Message.  Consider if our methodology is working. 

Finally.........here is a quick look at Faith Forward.  It was awesome!!  I am truly thankful for RBCC's support in sending me.  Now I am readied with shared knowledge, new wisdom, and lots of creative ideas to lead our church in new ways. 

 

 

 

 

 

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