Monday, November 10, 2008

New Wineskins Convocation V – November 10th.

A few more dahlia pics before getting to the blog. These dahlias are from my 2008 garden. The dahlias in the order they appear are: Gerrie Scott, Ginger Willo, Glenn Valley Cathy and Gloriosa.

Today was the second day of the New Wineskins Convocation V. We heard major presentations by:
• Rev. Marcelo Robles, Pastor, La Mision, Buenos Aires, Agentina.
• Rev. Dr. Eli Morris, Associate Pastor of Urban Ministries, Hope Presbyterian Church, Cordova, TN.
• Caroline Kurtz, Associate Director, Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship.

In addition to these presentations there were workshops on the Westminster Confession, Church Property Issues and Developing Missional Leadership in the Local Church.

Key things that I learned about the missional church are:
1. The missional church is a suffering church—it lifts high the cross of Christ and suffers for it, it becomes a suffering church as soon as it focuses on serving Christ, the missional church leaves the place of safety and security and follows where Christ leads.
2. The missional church is a disciple making church—it listens to the Word, accepts it, puts it into practice, is transformed by the Word and then the new disciples share their faith with other people.
3. The missional church is a missional “fellowship” – it reverses the world’s values, empowers the weak and views the poor as its neighbors.

Eli challenged us with three main concepts:
1. The church should be a launching pad and not a landing strip—the landing strip model is where the person goes through the week and ends up just making it to the church on Sunday—the landing strip. In the launching pad model a person comes to worship and is launched into the week by the Holy Spirit.
2. The church should be the first place the mayor calls when he needs help—this can only happen when the church is so involved in the community that the community’s leaders know the church.
3. If your church was to close today, would the community miss the church and why? I was introduced to this challenge at the Purpose Driven Presbyterians meeting this year. It is still just as challenging!!

During the lunch break (it wasn’t really a break) we gathered in regional groups. I was in the group that represented Washington, Oregon and California. The first thing that I noticed was the discontent with the PCUSA that was rampant in the room. Several of the church had recently left the PCUSA and joined the New Wineskins Presbytery of the EPC. I was shocked to learn the Sunset Presbyterian Church, Portland, Oregon, was just released by their presbytery last week!! Sunset is a very large, evangelical church in Portland. A smaller church in their presbytery was also released at the same time. I became aware of another shocking development on the west coast but will refrain from blogging about it until I get additional details and make sure that that the info is public information. There was not a single church represented in that room that I would consider firmly with the PCUSA!

My biggest criticism of the Convocation has to do with worship. It is quite obvious that the people planning worship are from very liturgical churches. There have been HUGE choirs, small ensemble groups, a harp, and of course, the pipe organ. The couple of times they “dabbled” in contemporary worship were pathetic. Our little church of 100 people has a worship team that truly leads the congregation in worship and could have done a better job. Why they have not tried to present the best of liturgical worship and the best of contemporary worship is beyond me. Their half-hearted attempt at contemporary worship is embarrassing.

All-in-all, day two at the convocation was very good. I look forward to day three.


At 12:16 PM , Blogger Red_Cleric said...

Good to hear your reactions to the Convocation. Kenton was the small church dismissed by Cascades.

I would tend to agree with you re: worship. The praise team at Kenton could teach most EPC a thing or two. I think they are afraid of singing a song that has a hint of Anabaptist theology IMHO. Keep on blogging. I miss reading you and seeing the Dahlias


At 4:18 PM , Anonymous Paul said...

I have appreciated your reflections on the convocation. As for your comments about worship, I had to take pause. One's readiness to worship is just as important as the leadership of worship. I have worshiped in places with rudimentary leadership but the worship proved to be powerfully moving. I attribute this phenomenon to my being connected to the contexts of those worship services. I spoke with a participant who attended the convocation with the intention to observe the New Wineskins movement. He admitted that his "observer" status affected his worship participation.

While I agree that the music, as a sub-set of worship, included more traditional forms of music, I wouldn't categorize the worship as "liturgical." The music was blended in style, representative of a diverse music program. For a church that appears to be "younger" than your average Presbyterian church, I don't know how difficult it was to form ensembles (traditional or contemporary) for daytime worship services during business hours. I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt regarding logistics.

As for Red-Cleric's generalization that EPC churches could learn a thing or to from a particular praise team, I wouldn't make the leap of logic to infer that Bay Village is immersed in the EPC worship culture and therefore worthy of a lesson or two. the church is new to the EPC. So, I will give Alan the benefit of the doubt to ask if this was his intended inference. By the way, what is the EPC worship culture?

As for baptist hymns, we could use a dose of them once in awhile. After all, we do have "Victory in Jesus..."

At 5:05 PM , Blogger Red_Cleric said...

Paul... I'm sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I speak of what I've experienced at Tulsa, Orlando and Sacramento. The music was good, great in fact but it's nothing my 20 somthing's would find very 'meaningful'.

Heck, for some of the Presbyterians I know out here in Portland Taize music is contemporary.

My bad if you thought I was slamming anyone. Sry.


At 11:50 AM , Anonymous Paul said...

Thanks Alan, that's why I thought I would ask.

I wonder if there are regional tolerance levels regarding music. Cites like Cleveland and Pittsburgh tend to populate older traditionalists when it comes to music. The idea that an "unchurched people group"(aka 20s) can be reached through their own music idiom is a consideration that is resisted strongly.

I'm cursed with a broad appreciation of music styles from Bach to screamo! I imagine a worship service where the music reflects a variety of music styles to represent and affirm the variety of people attending worship. Most often, a blended approach means that everyone is "equally bothered." Huh?

My 80+ year old grandmother has heard my son play drums for a church band. The songs don't fit into her preferred style of music. However, the fact that her great-grandson is praising the Lord is preferred.

Grace and peace,

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