Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Things I've Seen

I'm off to A Place Apart retreat in Ohio in a couple days after an intense week and a half in Indiana. In the last 4 weeks I've met with leaders from 8 or 9 different "churches" -- some very postmodern and young, some with buildings and services and leadership teams. In this time I've run into three pastors who will probably soon be leaving church ministry to follow Jesus and serve in other areas -- one into the arts, the other into business and another into counseling. I've also met with a number of young leaders (under 25) who are saying things about church that are blowing me away -- wise, exciting, true, different. I feel like part of what I've been doing in the last few years in starting the Dandelion Seed Company and experimenting with microchurch has been to prepare the way and make a space for what these people are saying.

On the other hand I've more and more convinced of the need to be connected to older people -- tested veteran followers of Jesus. Christa and I recently met a guy who took care of his wife through years and years of alzheimer's. At one point he couldn't take it any more and he was going to take her to a home and he told God that. God told him, "It's ok, I'll love her through you." He took care of her until he died -- and this man was full of thankfulness and hope. God knows how much we need to see connect with people like that.

Keep asking hard questions, listening, creating, trusting, serving, and worshiping without fear.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ragtag Band Forming

Hi, this is Jonathan. Last week I was in Texas. I got a Texas belt and a Texas star buckle. I also learned you can pay $400 for a pair of cowboy boots. I didn't.

In Texas I participated in two conferences -- one was about "the Seven Mountains" and the other was the annual gathering of the larger network that the Dandelion Seed Company is connected to. A lot happened there that I think is significant for who we are and where we're headed as a network, so I'll be writing more about the experience and what I think may come out of it over the next few weeks. Here is installment one:

1. The Seven Mountains: the basic concept here is that culture is made up of seven segments or "mountains": family, religion, economy/business, arts, government, media, and education. God is calling us as Jesus' followers to live and embody the Kingdom of God in each of these arenas. There has been a tendency in the past to assume that if you were serious about God you should spend your time on the religion mountain. This isn't true. We're called to follow Jesus where he leads and that includes all areas of culture, all seven mountains.

2. Dandelion Seed Company and the larger network. After a great weekend connecting with other leaders in the GDI network I'm more convinced than ever that a key element for the DSC's health and future is relationship with and a real, deep connection with other followers of Jesus. I see this beginning to happen in organic (no pesticides added) ways already, and we will need to make it a priority in planning for the future. One shift I see from the way people have thought about following God before and how we're working at doing it now is this: before (in modernism) a lot of what brought us together was a commitment to certain ideas or theology. I believe that the focus is shifting to a commitment to certain relationships. If this is true it is an extremely high priority for us to welcome and cultivate the relationships as a network which will grow us up into Jesus. More about this later.

Love you guys. I'm excited about what God is up to in this ragtag band that's forming. I believe we're on the cusp of some major changes as a network -- we're moving into a season where we will have a much greater influence and impact on those around us, so the choices we make now are really important. God is giving us time to reassess our lives and direction so that the course we set will get us headed in a direction that will be fruitful long term. This starts with each of us personally looking at our own lives and loves and choosing again what matters most to us (and weeding out some other stuff -- the garden is only so big so what we plant in it and cultivate really does matter),

In Jesus,

Jonathan (with a bit of help from Kimberly Glick)