#nextchurch reflection

Nextchurch was probably the best place to hear (and tell) about the passage of Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Queer/Trans marriage i.e. the marriage of all people, being legal. It was amazing. We heard Brian Ellison preach about grace ind diversity in the morning and More Light Presbyterian hosted (what ended up to be) as huge reception-that-turned-into-a-celebration that night.

Good Ideas I picked up included

the Bird: Shawna Bowman took the prayer chains that we had made, opened them, read them, prayed over them, and then recreated them into the bird that flies about us. Ok, this is a step beyond the prayers on a slips-to-make-a-thing…which is awesome

Sketching-through-Worship with John Hendrix: Where he discusses sketching not to be perfect but to literally practice the story and see it from a different perspective. Discussing how freeing and meditative it can be to keep the hands busy well soaking in a story

Root and Branches- Church plants as business plans…what I really heard hear was that each step was planned, leadership is slow, shared (by 3-co-pastors) and given time to foster and grow. These pieces are hopeful for any kind of organic ministry

Tapestry Ministries: Call and Partner, start small

Diana Butler Bass: We are Re-Awakening, and a big part of that will be a radical change in social justice

Too white; This was echoed everywhere, we are the majority, the “Vatican of Rome” is the PCUSA in the USA, and yet we are WAY way too homogenous

Look for unity: What do we have in common, build on those New Year’s traditions? Everyone likes music? A passion for the community. What language is your congregation fluent in–and how can you expand it

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sunny all the time at Nextchurch (in case you check my twitter feed), the conference/movement is getting to be more popular and experienced some growing pains…but it is still the best conference I have gone to anywhere, anytime.

What is Nextchurch?
Its a movement to push the boundaries of default Presbyterianism (writing things down, 5 year plans, studies, little risk taking, minimal testifying, oh and the homogenous nature of our denom)

What I love is how it pushes these boundaries.

What I love about Nextchurch is that it creates a successful reframe for me. In a time where the struggle in church is real. But as Diana Butler Bass noted

What I walked away with was the reframe of my work as God’s work. For me, that is not just a mountaintop experience, instead it is a reaching into my life and being able to see and apply God’s Kingdom reality

So I’m going to talk about what I love about Nextchurch and what I want (and mostly its MORE of what we are already doing)

More talk about where the church is going, more awakening ideas/experiences

More teeny, tiny (but important) ministries/churches

More Longer Breaks (which I know is hard to do)

More Conversations with Spiritual But Not Religious/Nones, More partnering with them

More serious discussion of debt and how we can practice forgiveness of debts

More Failure Lab:

Good ideas

More Ignites

More Open/Diverse/Other kinds of Worship More quiet/contemplative spaces More plugs More Caffeine (tea esp.) More Stories

More ART! Loved last year where there was art everywhere to work on
Nextchurch is growing in leaps and bounds, I hope I am able to help in whatever way I can as we look forward to our time in Atlanta

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