Know God Know yourself Know your congregation Know your community
by Stan Segran
After the AGM concluded on Thursday afternoon, pastors, elders, deacons
and other leaders from RCA churches across
HERRINGTON AND TAYLOR: CALLED TO CHANGE THROUGH AUTHENTICITY
“Our choice is either deep change or slow death.”
With those words Jim Herrington and Tricia Taylor challenged the
100 or so participants gathered in our sanctuary.
Jim and Tricia are gifted leaders who have been working with 30
congregations in the RCA over the past 4 years or so to empower them to
change in deep and lasting ways so they may further God’s kingdom.
(RCA congregations in
People tend to have “mental models” which sometimes inhibit them
from hearing the message God is seeking to get across.
A new mental model is the church as “missional” rather than “attractional.”
Instead of attracting people to come to us, we need to go to them
in mission. A core
value of churches in mission is “authenticity.”
Christians must be real about their brokenness if those outside
the Church are to believe us.
Jim and Tricia drew a distinction between “church members” and
“followers of Jesus.”
Followers present themselves to God
As disciples we have “integrity gaps:” we have not done what we say we will do when we say we will do it and in the manner it was supposed to be done. If we are honest about these gaps, apologize, deal with the consequences and “repromise” we may move forward in mission. In order to make “deep change” happen so we may e faithful to God’s mission we must “generate and sustain creative tension.” The tension is between a “clear shared and compelling picture of what is alongside a clear shared and compelling picture of God’s preferred future.” We tend either to diminish the tension or seek to move ahead too quickly.
The other main thesis of Jim and Tricia is the recognition of the role and anxiety in the quest to change for the sake of God’s mission. Change causes anxiety as its natural byproduct. The goal is not to pretend anxiety is not present but to manage it wisely. We have to resist: blame, quick fixes, distancing from others and overfunctioning (doing more than I should) or underfuntioning (doing less than I should). Finally we were encouraged to “be the Church” wherever we are-school, work, neighbourhood, family. Ask: What is God’s intended design for this part of my life and what is my part in working with Him in making that design a reality?
Of course this is just a summary of their presentation. The sessions were recorded and we look forward to applying what we learned in various ways especially as we seek God’s Preferred Future through our Visioning Journey.
WORKSHOPS: FOCUS ON ASPECTS OF MISSIONAL LIVING
On Friday evening 5 workshops were presented on various ways of promoting a missional focus in our congregations.
YOUTH PANEL: HEART AND HEAD
On Sunday afternoon (after
enjoying worshiping in the morning with some of the participants in the
conference) we were treated to a panel made up of 4 area youth.
The Rev. Carson Culp, pastor of the RCA
WORSHIP: “The Church God Blesses”
On Sunday evening, after praising God and basking in His presence in song and prayer, the Rev. Dr. Tom De Vries, , preached a sermon based on Acts 11:19-31. Dr. De Vries’ sermon painted a picture of the church God blesses as exhibiting 5 signs: 1. A heart for personal evangelism 2. The Hand of the Lord is evident. 3. Honest leadership 4. Helping others 5. A heart for global evangelism.
On Monday morning we gathered to brainstorm as to what we had learned
could be applied to the RCA churches in
To conclude the Leadership Conference, we gathered in the sanctuary to receive the
Signs and seals of God’s love in His Supper. The minister leading our celebration of Communion, the Rev. Steve Wilkinson, reminded us that ultimately our mission is all about Jesus Christ. All we heard and learned was really about receiving Him and sharing Him with our thirsty and hungry world. When we become overwhelmed at the task ahead, let us recall that Jesus said: “I am with you to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).