Fiesta for God

Welcome back.

What are the keys to hosting a party in which spiritual conversations can be had?

How do we create social environments in which spiritual conversation doesn’t seem forced?

Jesus enjoyed good food and drink with less than acceptable people. The meals he shared with Levi and Zaccheus, both well known sinners, are still remembered today. His was a life of relationship and friend making. To be fair, he made his share of enemies. But overall, Jesus’ life was a fiesta for God.

In the last century Christ following leaders leaders became expert at building properties and running programs. In this next century we must excel once again at building relationships and throwing parties.

What are the keys to making our lives an integrated, unforced celebration of God through the parties we throw and go to?

What do you think?

into the mystic…

Alex McManus

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49 thoughts on “Fiesta for God

  1. Alex,
    I think that first of all, we must be a people of celebration~ In other words, me must remember to celebrate. It is so easy to get caught up in our everyday lives and forget to take time to celebrate the big things, but even more importantly remember to celebrate the little things. If we do that, then we can seek opportunities to invite others to share those moments with us. At a recent meeting of our leadership team, (who have been in traditional churches for their whole life) I was reminded how un-relationional faith can become~ when our very wonderful, Christ loving friends said, “how do you make friends with unbelievers? I wouldn’t even know what to say to them.”~~ Fortunately, very shortly after that meeting they were able to experience a birthday party for my husband Eric where most of the people we invited (our friends) were “unbelievers”. I think its also like Erwin said at the conference about diversifying races in churches. In order to build relationships and friendships with “less than acceptable people” we must be a friend to someone who is “less than acceptable”

  2. Maybe it shouldn’t be a topic of conversation…

    Hear me out.

    Think about the loud guy at the party who is always talking about his car…his job…his high-school football career…this guy nobody really wants to hear.

    Do you think there are people who force conversation about religion at parties or gatherings who just make non-believers want to puke?

    Let people into your life…let yourself be available to be in their lives…and letting them see God through you…the door will open.

  3. Jesus always had a timely metaphor for those he dined with. I think it was more, though, of life shared. Jesus was a presence in the lives of these people, and he had a reputation for accepting less than reputable people. If we will bring the accepting presence pf Jesus into the lives of people, we’ll get the opportunity to be heard. “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.”

  4. In South Africa we braai! This happen every Saturday afternoon, while rugby is on the television. It’s the same as barbeque, only better. Tradition in SA is for people to come over, bring their meet and drink and you as host, provide the fire! This goes with various other good dishes! But the meat is the most important. Mostly red meat, but now and then some chicken and fish on the braai!

    My experience is that I have had some of the greatest spiritual conversation around a braai, while the meat is simmering. It is non threatening and people tend to be honest!

    Here is the great thing, even though we have 11 official languages in SA with various cultures, they all braai. I remember being in squattercamps where we would braai with people and have great conversation. The Einglish, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa and the rest, they all braai! It is as if we are authentic around the braai! In SA if you party, you braai, and this should become a tool to build relationship, and win trust to have spiritual conversation.

    Maybe we shoul not have an altar call, but a braai call!

  5. I definitely think that conversation has to be very natural and not forced, so I’m definitely with you there Deana. I actually tend to end up having the best conversations with people when then flow from showing my interest in them.

    Me and my wife, Rachel, were out at a meal for a friends birthday a while back and were sat opposite a non-Christian couple. We just spent a lot of time asking them lots of questions, found out about what they did, what they were passionate about, and just generally tried to get to know them. And very naturally from that, they started to ask lots of questions about us and, long story short, we ended up having a great conversation with them about God, faith, church etc without really intending to or trying. And to a large extent it was initiated by them not us (so they didn’t feel threatened or like we’d hijacked the conversation).

    I guess I have just really come to value people and not be so consumed with socking them with the Gospel that I actually show that I’m not really interested in them, for them (regardless of whether they ever become Christians).

    And Hermann, you South African’s definitely do the braai very well!! We had some great conversations around braai’s when we were on honeymoon there last year.

  6. Isn’t trying to manufacture a spiritual conversation a little manipulative? I have found that sometimes it can be a good idea to have a party and not necessarily mention God at all unless He sets up one of those “moments” where everything in you suddenly screams out that you have to share about your faith. I think it is part of trusting God that you have to believe He will give you opportunities. That being said, I think just creating a good party will make that possibility. and the best part of a good party is always the food. So I think I’m going to have a braai.

  7. I think it’s “all of the above.” When having his “fiestas,” Christ shares his life, love, and passion with those around him by just BEING there. Alex, you mention Zacchaeus, and I think that’s a great example. Personally, I believe what changed his life was that Jesus, a respected rabbi and despised heretic (depending on your slant), chose to spend time with him! Krys, that quote from Erwin is very appropriate. Zacch was a tax collector, a Jewish “traitor” that took up taxes from his neighbors for a pagan, oppressive, and immoral government. What’s more is that he probably took a little extra to line his own pockets. He was a scumbag! Yet our Savior pulled him outta his tree and went into his home, do “be the guest of a sinner.”
    You gotta keep your head up and eyes open as the Spirit highlights the little men dangling from fig trees.

  8. Nate, are you saying that we need midgets in trees to have spiritual conversations? Just kidding. But in response to The Pope (sounds weird coming from the Bishop…) As people of faith and spiritual beings, I think of most of my conversations as being spiritual. If you’re talking about “evangelistic” conversations, I will agree that they can be contrived and forced sometimes. but, being a spiritual person, I think that spiritual conversations are common place for me, and there’s no need to force them. They happen all the time. It’s just a matter of realizing that you are engaged in a spiritual conversation. And that was Jesus great success point. Every conversation with Him was spiritual, even if it was about water with an outcast at a well, or money with an arrogant young ruler, or acceptance to a woman victimized by the religious “right.” Ever conversation was a spiritual one because He is a spiritual person.

  9. Well, except that as Saints the New Testament no longer refers to those in the Jesus Family as sinners. We once were sinners, but now we are saints, ambassadors of a new kingdom, pilgrims on a journey, strangers in a strange land. Sure, we still sin, but it is not the defining characteristic of our lives. As Christ-followers, the defining charateristic of our lives should now be acts of righteousness. I am not a sinner. I am a saint who doesn’t always get it right.

  10. Bishop — I agree with you. I think I saw the phrase “spiritual conversations” and immediately thought of evangelism. But how do you have a non-evangelistic spiritual conversation with a non-believer (such as Jesus did with Zaccheus to continue using the example)? I don’t know that I have any other frame of reference for spiritual conversations but Jesus; so any spiritual conversation I have with a non-believer is likely to become evangelistic due to my excitement and passion about my relationship with Jesus. I have to re-ask Alex’s question from the original post — “How do we create social environments in which spiritual conversation doesn’t seem forced?” I don’t really have an answer for this one.

  11. Great questions, Alex!! My friends and I just had a big fiesta (actually a barn party) this weekend with people from all walks of life. We had about 70 people. Whether or not spiritual conversation happened, we are laying groundwork. Each time we get together with them provides another opportunity to talk about life and like others are saying, eventually they’ll ask about our life which will probably lead to a conversation about God. Or maybe they will share a trouble in life once you get to know them and you can help provide comfort, wisdom and encouragement to them in their time of need. Or maybe you’ll just party. That’s the way it is happening for us. I’ll try to blog about the party this week.

    ~Kristi

  12. I agree with Kristi, and maybe others but my brain is too fried to remember at this point. I’ve really been seeing the need to sharing Christ as part of an ongoing relationship recently. We’re not selling a product to costumers. We’re introducing friends to our Redeemer. We don’t’ have to come up with a pitch. We just have to been actively involved with Jesus and that Life will come spilling out.

    Anyway, your question was based on the environment that nurtures said “getting to know and introducing.” I think gathering with many rooms, like someone’s home, gives a feeling of comfortable intimacy that enables people to feel like they can open up without feeling cornered.

    On the other side of the spectrum, that barn party sounded fun, too. Did y’all have square dancing??? Nothing helps people break the ice than some good old fashioned social dancing! (I know. I’m a geek.) But really, on that note, I think it’s good to invite a mix of followers, seekers, rebels, and new followers – but make sure to mix them up! It’s amazing how easy for like people to find and cling to each other.

  13. We did have dancing (not square). We line danced and had various couple dances to country music and had two lessons for those who didn’t know how to. We did one called the barn dance where you change partners about every 15 seconds. It was great for people to get to know each other. And we did have followers, seekers, revels and new followers.

    We also did a retreat to Sunriver (vacation home area in Eastern Oregon) last weekend with two people we’ve met recently to hang out, have fun and get to know them better. Basically a bunch of friends, new and old, playing games, doing puzzles, going to Oktoberfest, eating out, dancing, karaoke, hot tubbing, hiking and a lot of great conversation.

    Gotta go to work.

    ~Kristi

  14. What are the keys?
    1. Relax and enjoy people. Everyone, regardless of their spiritual condition, has an interesting life, a background of stories and things they’re passionate about. Get to know the person.
    2. Don’t force the issue. To often I’ve seen people feel the need to press the conversation, pull out their apologetics and steps-to-conversion and shut down relationships that are forming.
    3. Learn to talk to normal people. If you find that you have a generalized anxiety when talking to non-churched people, you’ve been too far in the bubble, too long. Relax. Learn to have conversations about weather and sports and jobs and school. You might be surprised how much you have in common.
    4. Let God do it. He’s far more concerned about the state of their soul than you are. He’s the one that draws them to Him. If you’ll take the pressure of yourself to ‘make something happen’ and let God draw them in, their hearts will be ready to receive when the time is right.

    IMO,
    breathe fire

  15. One of the things that amazes me about Jesus is how many invites he gets. He rarely through the party but always was requested to be at them. He didn’t have to create the party to have the conversations he had to create the relationships to be invited into the conversations.

    I show up at a party and they ask me if I want something to drink – Jesus shows up and they ask him about the kingdom of heaven.

    Here are some things I am a part of. We live in a college town and during the summer we have Friday or Saturday Night grill outs – many of our friends bring their friends. Rather then any one of us jumping on the fresh meat (joke) we see who is able to connect best.

    My personal favorite is our festive sweater turtle neck party. I am continually amazed at how people can make money selling such hidouis sweaters but they are great for these kinds of parties.

    But back to my original point – Being a youth pastor most of my contacts are the students and their friends. Thus I applied at Pizza Hut to meet some new people so I can invite some new faces to our sweater party!

    Thanks Alex for the blessing of this site.

    Marty

  16. Marty. I think you bring up an interesting point. You said, “He rarely through the party but always was requested to be at them. He didn’t have to create the party to have the conversations he had to create the relationships to be invited into the conversations.

    I think it is important for us to remember that parties thrown by others (namely, non-followers) are not off-limits simply because we are not the “throwers.” As a matter of fact, we may be more apt to encounter non-followers in their element: relaxed, unguarded, and open, simply because it is a party thrown by people they already trust and enjoy.

    Likewise, going to parties or gatherings thrown by non-followers may, in some ways, facilitate gaining trust from non-followers because we are there. In short, we become instant insiders to their world!

    Great insight Marty!

  17. Now, obviously the next step becomes:

    Getting invited to those parties!

    This requires relationship building and trust-generation outside of our own “gatherings.” This could take a while. Be patient. Ever moved to a new school? Ever had to start over in a new town? Now you get the idea! 🙂

  18. You know, as I think about the woman at the well, Zaccheus, Nicodemus, the Rich young ruler, I realize something: Jesus was known among the community for His wisdom, teaching, miracles, and acceptance. Here in the Bible Belt, “Christians” are known for Bible-thumping, condemnation, and alienation. So, for me to get the “invites” into the circles where my light can shine the brightest requires an intentional walk. I understand the idea of relaxing, but I don’t know that I need to relax. I think everything we do, and everything Jesus did, was intentional.
    Secondary to that is this idea of the Hebrew mindset that we western/linear/compartmental thinkers don’t get: To Jesus, every conversation was spiritual because He is spiritual. There was no dichotmy (sp?) or compartmental thinking. As spiritual people, we are a spiritual presence, and we need to relate to people as a whole person. Our western mindset wants to separate spiritual and physical, sacred and sechular. If asked, “Are we spiritual or physical? Are we sechular or sacred?” Jesus would respond, “YES!” We are all that and more. As a Christ-follower, it chase Him with my whole being, and whatever comes my way is interpreted that way. Two guys talking football can be a spiritual conversation. The enviroment for Spiritual Conversations is a life well lived, and a life-style well embraced. That’s what I think, anyway.

  19. From what I can discern, it looks like the dilema lies in being intentional without coming across as if you only have alterior motives of selling your religion. People want genuine, authentic acceptance and love and they can discern the real thing from the fraud. They’ve been there too many times. I think in some ways we all have. So…for kicks, at what point does being intentional morph into alterior motives? Could just be confused or chasing a rabbit…who knows!? 🙂

  20. That’s easy, Josh. When the focus stops being loving God and loving the people. When Jesus looked at the masses He was moved with compassion for them. When anything other than the geniune love of/for Christ compells us to “get involved” we’ve departed from the Jesus path. The greatest of the commandments is love God. The second is just like it, love others as yourself. When our interaction with God and others is love motivated, you can’t go wrong. When it isn’t love motivated, you’ve already gone wrong! Peace!

  21. Well put Bishop…however, I think I was a bit misunderstood. What I was driving at was just this:

    We must be careful that, in our intentional walks, we communicate very clearly our intentions and why we have those intentions. As you put it, our intentional interactions with God and others should be driven by love. In addition, we should make it clear to those with which we interact that our interaction is intentional for the purpose of loving them and for introducing them to the God that loves their souls.

    Finally, if these people with which we intentionally interact are unaware of this motivating love, we become salespersons for a religion. If they see our actions, from their perspective, without the love that drives those actions, we become those with an agenda.

    Well put Bishop…right on!

  22. I agre completely with this I dont know if we can manufacture this I think we have to lay down an agenda that we want to convert some people tonight and just truly seek to the love them and if we truly love them then we will share with them good news

    Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today that was boldness I think we can be a bold but i deifnitely want to be careful of not baiting and switching

    I am curious what your thoughts are on my site about some these Cross and Culture issues

    my family is from El Salvador (Santa Rosa de Lima) btw

  23. I am enjoying the discussion.

    My team has the opportunity to use a non-traditional worship space on Saturday nights. We plan to hold worship gatherings three times per month that will focus on our core values: holiness, mission, and community.

    The fourth weekend in a given month will be a “party” at this faciliity. We are thinking about some of the following activies: battle of bands, karaoke night, open-mike, and improv comedy. We want to hold a fun, inviting activity that would be attractive to a wide spectrum of people.

    I have no desire to “trick” anyone into coming to church on a ruse, but I would like to include an invitation to our community. Any ideas? Is anyone doing this sort of thing?

  24. The more interesting you are as a person the more interest others will have in you. Jesus was attractive because he was of interest. He was provocative, said things people never heard. He was genuine and authentic and did things out of the ordinary, and at times supernatural. I would be interested to talk to someone like that whether he was a Christian or not. Perhaps if we become more like Christ we to will be of interest to others.

  25. We built a sand volleyball court in the backyard. Talk about parties!
    On a side note, I have found that the best parties occur when serving. Our church does “Matthews Parties” where we go into a less fortunate part of town, bring in clowns, grills, people who repair bikes, lawn games, balloons, and throw a free party. All for free… what a great way to spend your mystic 9%….

  26. Jesus said provocatve things….

    Was that because he was speaking to a crowd of people who were accustomed to the Old Testament ways of thinking? He did bring a New Testament message right?

    So what could be our “Newer Testament” message? The reason I ask: people, at least those in the States, have heard the New Testament so much, they’re literally sick of it. How do we appear provocative to people who’ve heard it all?

    Just thinking….

  27. Obviously, there is no “Newer Testament.” It is what it is. So, the question: How to we appear provocative to those who’ve heard it all? It’s an interesting question to ponder.

  28. Margueritas always work for me! A warm sun, patio with umbrella tables….with lots of good laughs!

    (obviously winter is beginning to hit in the midwest. 😉 )

  29. wow,
    I thought partying got washed away at baptism (joking) I think a major part of the problem is that we are not comfortable in enviroments that we do not control and where there might be all types of bad things are going on. It seems obvious that Jesus was never intimidated by his circumstances especially at parties but like it has been mentioned before, not only was He invited but naturally became the focus of some kind of attention. I think there are a couple of keys…
    be the type of person people want to be around
    recognize that spiritual conversations are not just about soul winning but there is the process that maybe we can call “soul gaining” we win the hearts and minds of the people we are partying with. It seems that most of the situations that Jesus spoke in the context of parties the door was opened by others.

  30. hmmm…

    we’re surrounded by far more people who don’t know the story than most would imagine.

    we don’t need a new message, as you said. we need to get this message to the millions of people around us who have yet to discover how the story of Jesus intersects the story of us.

    welcome to the mystic.

  31. as i scrolled down the comments i was struck by the presence ot the pope, the bishop, the brethren and the devine. [so we missed that last one by one vowel. one vowel.]

    great conversation. can anyone extract in bullet points the accumulated wisdom of these comments?

  32. Talking points:
    *Love God/Love Others
    *Be the presence of Jesus in the lives of others
    (a presence of faith, love, hope & wisdom)
    *Celebrate Jesus as you celebrate life and others
    *For spiritual people, every conversation is spiritual

  33. A lot of really great comments have been shared here which have all definitely been thought provoking, so thanks everyone. Something I thought I’d just throw in if I may though is just the question of whether there are parties that we evershouldn’t attend. I know that there are contexts where I know I can definitely be an influence but then I am aware too that there a some contexts where that is practically impossible. Is this simply a matter of personal judgement and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit?

    One other thought I had was linked with the mention of that phrase “soul winning”. I guess, to get straight to the point, I just really don’t like it. Whilst I know the heart behind it is good, I’m not sure that it gives the right impression. As I see it, it implies that we are only interested in people’s “souls” ie a part of them. and not holistically as people. To me, Jesus was a lover of people holistically and the danger of a phrase like “soul winning” is that we only value people on the basis of whether we can get them saved.

  34. Sam,

    Yes, for some reason we tend to think that people have souls as a kind of spirit essence that lives inside the body. My reading of scripture makes me tend toward the view that the human being doesn’t have a soul. The human being is a soul. [See Genesis 2.7].

    Rightly heard the term “soul winner” is synonymous with the phrase “winning the whole person”.

    However, having said that, you’re right in your understanding of the audience we’re trying to reach –especially the burned out or turn off christian. They are hugely sensitive to what they consider an emotionally manipulative industry. But who can blame us for thinking this? Don’t all of us feel slimy at the thought of a televangelist?

    Moreover, and this may be the larger issue, culture at large has an issue with “winning.” It has the feeling of imposition and empirialism. Competition leaves a distaste in the mouths of those who tend towards the left politically as well as those who hate capitalism and capitalists. Soccer moms also tend away from “winning” and “competition” preferring leagues where everyone wins.

    Winning has an “above and beneath” quality
    unlike the much preferred symbol of today’s culture, the yin and yang.

    Symmetry.
    Balance.
    Equality.

    No headship. No leaders. No winners.

    Soul winning is definitely not a term to use if we’re trying to give people a language that sits well in postmodern culture.

  35. I like this dialogue. It’s a good one– however far afield it may have strayed from the topic of throwing parties. The challenge as I see it:

    Does anyone have any ideas or examples of how to present the church in a way that avoids the concept of winners, leaders, etc. and yet is a true picture of the church’s spiritual identity and the human embodiment of it? Because apart from the concept of authority I really see no church. I’ll explain:

    No headship?
    No leaders?

    This certainly might be a more attractive model to those who have been scarred by churches asking too much of them. A church with no positional authority, a church that depended entirely on personal authority granted by individuals, to other individuals whom they are in community with, to speak into their lives. But I don’t think we can do without the concept of positional leadership and authority.

    Equality of souls, or as has been said, whole-persons, before God is one thing. None of us, I hope, truly believes ourself superior to our fellow human beings before God, on a spiritual plane. And equality of political rights is, of course, a necessity in any society composed of humans. But within a family, within a church, isn’t this the last place we ought to (or in fact do) see equality?

    No one would agree that a five-year-old child should have the same decision-making authority– or with it, the same responsibility to care for the rest of the family members– as their father or mother. Is the church any different?

    And further, if this submission, if you will, to authority is modeled in the church (within a reasonable extent and in a healthy manner– no “emotional manipulation”), could it not help the church participants to understand, to have a brief glimpse or an inkling, of the divine joy present in submitting to the Divine authority?

    The conundrum, therefore, becomes:
    If we offer people a church that appeals to them based on the idea of equality and no winners– no positional authority– how does it point them towards God? And if we decide that we do need positional authority within the church, how do we avoid coming across as elitist imperialists? Maybe this will look different for different congregations. But certainly it is a challenge. Any comments?

  36. You are so right! We need to throw the most amazing parties. The kind not so often seen, where people actually engage one another face to face to laugh, hug and most of all cry. A party where we can celebrate what God has done, is doing and is going to yet do. A party in which the long time fully devoted Christ follower can embrace the street prostitute, the single divorced mother, or the child off the street.

    You commented about the past centuries Christian leaders learning how to put up buildings and start programs better than any other time. Being that buildings and programs are such modernistic enlightenment ideas, we must as, Lesslie Newbigin says repeatedly recover what it means to live as a hermeneutic of the Gospel. That is a community that so celebrates who God is and who we are because of God that the world does’nt need rhetoric from us, they just see the Gospel on display.

    As long as our typical church gatherings are constituted by massive buildings with thousands of chairs in rows facing a stage with a talking head, we will not party the way Jesus partied. Do we expect the town whore, or the divorced/widowed mother, or child who is abused to just waltz in to our buildings and programs? We need to recover the order of Church around the blood and body of Christ, allowing all who would come to the fellowship to see what God has done. We need to have sermons in dialogue, that is, preachers need to stop being professional talking heads. They need to engage the congregation in a time of dialogue and reflection within the time of gathering.

    Those are just my thoughts…

    Great blog Alex…I love what you, Erwin and the Mosaic community are doing to undomesticate the Church. Let’s push it even farther.

    – Sam Andress

  37. Great conversation… I love the idea of going to where the people are rather than asking them to come to our parties. Now this is not to disagree or contradict Kristi’s experience because her and her friends actually went to the people first. It is the same thing in my eyes… They loved on people and so when those people were invited to come to their event, they came.

    This is the difference between incarnational and being attractional. Many churches (with the right motives) try to be attractional by providing some surface benefit to “attract” people to their event, church, party, etc… The problem with this is that these people who become attracted to these luring events, churches, parties often join the movement to consume the benefits.

    While when you go to the people in their territory and you just love them… they often join the movement to turn around and give love to others. This brings people to God in a healthier way, where they learn what it truely means to be a Christ Follower and just receiving some thrills and some fire insurance. Remember that the “Great Commission” says, 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and TEACHING them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, to the very end of the age.”

    Jesus TAUGHT by example and the majority of His examples were going out to where the people were. And we must remember that when we find our selves in unfamiliar situations that might even seem very unconfortable, He IS ALWAYS WITH US!

  38. I just had one of these Fiesta’s a couple days ago, I wish I had read this post earlier. Our group meets monthly as an alternative form of community… We’ve got those who are anti-god, buddhists, and previously churched but just don’t buy it folks in the group and we keep coming together because it stands out as being completely different from any other community or group most of us city dwellers are in. We slow down, connect with one another at the deepest places, and hear one another out with complete respect and care. God comes out throughout the conversations because that’s just who’s shaped all the experiences of my wife and I.

    It’s hard to tell where things are going, it definitely is a very different type of ‘evangelism’ if I could even call it that. I just see it as God’s people connecting with other people as real human beings.

    I don’t think Jesus saw others as ‘targets’, ‘projects’, or charity cases… just people in need of a God whose already here.

    Excellent questions Alex!

  39. Alex- I also called attention to your seminal article today. You are truly onto something with your concept of Homo Electronicus Migratus. I am finding more and more people in my community interested in the mystic. Thank you for being our Shamman or guide!

  40. “How do we create social environments in which spiritual conversation doesn’t seem forced?”

    I have loved tracing the various threads in this conversation (and will continue to do so, if it keeps going), because my wife and I are soon moving into an inner city neighborhood that’s new to us. We hope to throw some parties ourselves, but getting invited to others’ occasions is even more valuable… and the issues raised here all bear directly upon our challenge to become knit into the fabric of this new neighborhood. We’re making some strides, but still seems slow. We are still the “aliens and strangers” on the block, and perhaps always will be to some degree (i.e. no longer unknown but still “strange”), but we do hope to shed the label “newcomers” someday.

    And more importantly, to impact the lives of as many people as possible, as deeply as possible, as wisely and lovingly as possible.

  41. Mel,

    Thanks for the comment. We don’t need to share the delusion that there are no winners and losers, leaders and followers, etc. Neither do we need to fall into the practice of leadership that is self serving.

    We need to practice a different thing altogether: leaders who serve, servant leadership.

    Not a leadership that is self serving.
    Not an egalitarianism that pretends the world is what it isn’t.

    But a willful turn away from the desire to live for “me” among those who lead towards the greater end of living for something greater than self.

    Thanks for your comments.

  42. That is so well put. As I’ve shared my vision for our new church plant here in Lubbock, I keep running into people who have trouble with the leadership model we are using. But, as I boil it down, it’s not about the spreading of power, but the perception of lost power. I actually had a pastor say that he didn’t like the idea of a bunch of “little pastors” running around baptising everyone. While I am all for Biblical authority, and correct doctrine, I think that those called to lead should lead, and they should do so from a sense of calling and love of people. A “willful turn away from the desire to live for ‘me’ among those who lead…” Exactly.

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