emergent. missional. monastic. methodist.

Back in September, I got to attend the Alaska Lay School of Theology. I loved meeting Dr. Elaine Heath, a professor at Perkins at SMU. She has started Methodist monastic communities in Dallas, Texas and shared her ideas and dreams with us. It’s been exciting to think about how these ideas can be adapted in Alaska.

New Day Dallas website has the basics
Our superintendent wrote a good summary here

Here are some of my notes from her sessions…

  • It’s a God-breathed thing that we’re moving back to the margins as a church
  • We don’t get to swagger around anymore like we own the place
  • Get opportunity to be prophets again
  • It’s time to purge ourselves of our junk diets as Christians
  • Christendom: the church becoming an empire that keeps growing and taking over – joining with secular power to get what it wants
  • Contemplative: show up and actually be present in the moment – being aware of God
Making Disciples in Post-Christendom United States
  • Challenges
    • Building: Overcome deeply ingrained belief that church is a place people gather
      • Churching numbs people to real and costly discipleship and rigorous expectations
      • Deemphasize dependence on buildings – instead mobilize for worship & service in borrowed space
      • Not sure God ever wanted us to build a permanent temple
        • Think back to the tabernacle being a tent
        • We need flexible and fluid space
        • Share space with other churches
    • Budget
      • Minimize money spent on themselves and their own comfort
      • Convert older churches into 7 days a week mission centers
      • More rigorous practice of stewardship
    • Boundaries
      • Location of authority is challenged in every massive cultural shift
      • Ordination will change
      • Now, clergy are part of a gated community residing at the front of the church
      • We’re now flattening out
      • Less emphasis on ministry professionals – more as servants and equippers of the saints
      • Growing permeability in what counts as ordained ministry
Are there really separate secular and sacred worlds? Plato introduced the secular vs. sacred thought. Who died and left Plato in charge? Why is sacred separate?
McLaren: I hope to never revile another Christian even as they revile me.
Kenotic Community (emptying)
  • Small
    • Not about mega, super-size me
    • Going down and serving, humility
    • Smallness in the size of our communities
    • Psychologically, it’s hard to be close with more than 12 people at a time
    • Teams of leaders – sent out in 2’s
    • Bi-Vocational
      • Earn your living at a regular job, get health insurance
      • Provide spiritual leadership
      • Community needs fewer costs
      • Jesus was a carpenter, not a professional clergy person
    • Discipleship formation with each other
      • class & band meetings, mutual confession
    • Don’t lock your people down with endless meetings about the building and things inside the church
  • Missional
    • Sent out
    • Being a church for others
    • The person who’s in love with their community will destroy their community – keep thinking about others
  • Flexible
    • If we can let go of our idea of fixed building & location, we’ll become flexible about where we meet
    • Will meet according to the needs of the missional context
    • Theologically flexible
      • Not about all towing the line on a doctrinal stance – fellowship comes around spiritual practices – room for growth – unified on justice & contemplative practices
  • Deep
    • Committed to ancient prayer practices – ikon, prayer, fasting, confession
    • Practices that help us show up to God every day = rule of life
  • Communal
    • I’m not even a self without my community
    • Mutually interdependent
    • Counter cultural push back in US against hyper individualism
    • Genuine community – at one ment
  • Creative
    • Risk-taking, entrepreneurial
    • Art, designing transformative ministry, links between “sacred & secular”
    • Helping neighbors be more fully alive
The kingdom of God is something we receive and enter, not something we build and make.
Invitations are made through friendships, don’t need much marketing

Here’s a video from one of the projects of New Day Dallas…

Is God calling you to explore this unique way of being the church today?

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