I went to the changing the landscape conference yesterday in Lincoln which was excellent for me on a variety of different levels.
First it was great because I was able to catch up with some friends from my past. Vaughan and Karen Pollard were on the staff of Holy Trinity Nailsea, when I was the youth pastor, there and now run Connect, a new Fresh Expression in Spalding. Secondly I managed to grab coffee with new friends such as Heather who I have been chatting with over things like Twitter for a little while. It always amazes me how the emerging/fresh expression world is quite small but well connected, which I think is important for us if we are to survive!
The conference was amazing with Archbishop Rowan being his normal outstanding self. I think Heather best described his address when she likened it to steak …. amazing at first sight but then as you chew you realise how amazing it really is. Rowan said a lot in 40 or so minutes which needs to settle in my mind; but some highlights:
– church is simply what happens when Jesus Christ is around and church is always a verb before it is a noun
– it takes time to be a Christian, and so we need patience and respect to let things unfold and not put new churches under pressure for results in a short space of time.
– for all we know, we may be the early church!
– we are not about membership, or a great new product – church is about transformation in both individuals and communities.
and my favourite ‘steak like’ comment which is going to stay with me for a while and no doubt appear in a lot of blogs and sermons over the next few months:
– the church is an echo chamber for the divine word; it resounds in us from our inner being. Christ needs to be audible and visible