Saturday, April 4, 2009

March 09 Meeting (#2)

Seven of us met last Tuesday to continue our conversation about emerging and missional church. Since our group was smaller, we postponed our discussion on postmodernism and took the opportunity to have a more casual conversation about our Meetup. We’ve been gathering since last June and have discussed a variety of topics related to emerging and missional church. We’ve heard from quite a few of us who have shared our stories, and many of us have met new friends. So, we asked a few questions like, what impact the gatherings have had on us in any way?

Steve F. said that so much of what has been discussed resonates with him. Even more importantly, he’s made friends. And the group is a place where he can be real and talk about whatever he wants, and raise questions, and not have anyone think he is a heretic afterwards and he can still be loved when the conversation is over. He also mentioned that it has been a good network and gave an example of several of his employees taking it upon themselves to help paint at the homeless family shelter that Robin M. oversees.

Steve W. commented that he is glad there have been so many connections formed by people in the group, outside of the group.

Robin M. added that the regular meetings have allowed for consistent connections where people can touch other people’s lives. Discussions have been about things that are valuable and important and deal with people’s questions like what it means to be a Christian. At the same time, some people have been led to want more. For him, after he returned from seminary, it gave him a place to interact with a community of faith he didn’t have. The people, the community and the conversation have been like church in some ways.

Flavio felt it has been a good bridge for emerging Christians from all regions of the county, and a good place to invite people to a broader conversation on emerging church topics. Facilitation allows everyone gets to participate as opposed to “pulpit to pew” formats that are more common in institutional church settings. Steve W. added that it is good that the group regularly includes people ranging in age from twenty-somethings to people in their sixties. Flavio raised a question though about how to mix a generic conversation about different aspects of the emerging church with true community. Robin M. sees the group more as a bridge to that. Linda (who has attended twice with her husband Steve F.) said that she has seen the impact on Steve F. of meeting new friends in the group and that it has been very satisfying for him. Kathy asked Steve F. if he found it hard to set aside time since he is so busy with his company. He said it wasn’t hard since he finds it more important than some other things.

Robin M. said the gatherings create space to ask questions that people normally can’t ask, and a place for people who have gotten burned out on traditional church. Kathy W. mentioned that she became interested in trying something new after reading Present Future by Reggie McNeal as recommended by her pastor. She likes that the meetings are in public places where others can join in and that it is a non-threatening opportunity to share wherever you are on the journey. She was a little surprised that the group has been virtually all Christians seeking more, than it has been people on a spiritual journey who may not consider themselves Christians. And she feels the discussions have gotten a little esoteric at times. However, she has always enjoyed the time together.

Beth’s experience with the group is that she views it as more of an intellectual journey of what emergent things are, as opposed to community. But she knows that about half of the regulars see each other at other times in community (such as at the small church gatherings that Robin & Melissa have started in their home, or in smaller get-togethers or one-on-one). She also distinguished between social time and being intentional about community. This lead to a discussion of where we’ve been and where we should go: A clearinghouse for people on a journey to share ideas and meet others interested in “emerging?” Should we have a second monthly Meetup that is more focused on intentional community? Would people have time for that or are these needs being met in other ways? Are we trying too hard to figure it out?

Why not join in the conversation through comments below? You can also see some of the questions we brought up here.

We decided to meet again on April 21, 2009 at Laura’s Cuban Restaurant in Hollywood to continue our conversation about emerging and missional church and what it means to us, to share our stories and to pick back up on postmodernism. You can RSVP here.

Hope to see you then!



Anonymous said...

Great summary of the Meetup, Steve. You have a great ability to take the very lively flow of the conversation and make it understandable. I'd say that you captured all the points.

I'll ponder the survy questions and future direction and be back in touch.

Steve F.

Robin S. Martin said... make me sound cooler and smarter than I actually am. That is pretty impressive.