Vision Team Blog

Monday, February 27, 2006

Values Brainstorming Questions

This coming Thursday we'll be brainstorming together our own values for the church. The following questions will help get us thinking along the right lines beforehand, so that we can save time by coming prepared with some answers. Please think about and jot down answers to the following questions before Thursday:

What can you absolutely not do without in a church?

What lights your fire in ministry?

Describe a time in the past at church when you went, “No way! That sucks! That makes me so mad!”

Describe a time in the past at church when you thought, “Yes! That’s what I’m talking about!”

What is the first thing you look for when looking for a new church?

If you could have it all in a church, what would “it all” look like?

Friday, February 24, 2006

What Appetizer Will You Bring?

okay so our next Vision Team meeting is Thursday March 2. Mike will send out info about how to prep for our topic, but I want to focus on the food. :) We chose appitizers as our theme which leaves things wide open. Suggestions include simple things like a veggie or fruit plate, shrimp cocktail, crackers and cheese, or hot items that could be made or bought (once again Trader Joe's has a wonderful assortment), or whatever your speciality is - remember we are trying to make a meal out of this. I will have water, and hot drinks as usual but someone could bring other drinks. So post what you want to bring so we can coordinate all this. Last time we were able to get things started by 6:45, but the goal is to start as close to 6:30 as possible so we have time to socialize and get into things. See you then or before!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Are we the light?

I heard about this news piece on the way home and just thought about how it doesn't show God in a good light.

It then struck me of a better way to protest. What would the Muslim communities and people say if we as Christians went out and protested peacefully about the printing of the caricatures? Maybe that's not right either, but it definitely is the more loving support of our neighbors.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Great discussion!

Thanks for the great discussion the other night on the Bible. I thought you all had a lot of good things to say about it. I was especially glad to see that we're all pretty much on the same page in regards to approaching the Bible with humility, being willing to question our assumptions, and being open to letting the Bible question and challenge us as well, without trying to tame or explain away all the difficult things in the Bible. As both Matt and Steve pointed out, there are certain things that we hold to as our essentials, those things that define us as Christ followers that we can't always be questioning. On some of those things we come to a point of simply taking that leap of faith and saying, "Even without absolute certainty I choose to believe and live accordingly." However I'm also glad that we were all sensitive to people who will still struggle and question even our essentials, and want to make room for those discussions as well. I especially appreciated what Matt and Josh both said about needing to really listen to people who look at the Bible through completely different lenses than we do - e.g. atheists, agnostics, etc. - and really respecting their opinions, learning from them, and engaging them in constructive dialogue.

So thanks for a good talk. If anyone has further thoughts about what we talked about the other night, feel free to post them here. And remember, next Vision Team Meeting we'll be brainstorming together with Monaca's help all of our values, those top things our ideal church has to have. And then I'll take what we come up with and rework our values statements to incorporate all of our shared ideas.

Oh, and don't forget that at Core Gathering this coming Saturday we'll be having a time of sharing "God Things" which could be testimonies or prayer requests, or it could be a song or poem or reading or scripture that is meaningful to you that you want to share with the group. So please give it some thought and come prepared with something to share.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

End of the Church Age?

I have been hearing a lot lately about the end of the "Church Age". It has gotten me thinking about the word church and what it means. While most of those that are talking about this seem to have a screw or two loose, but may be alright in other areas, I believe there is a nugget of truth somewhere in there. I'm continuing to mull it as it may be worth keeping in mind as we express and define our values.

A few thoughts. One, the building is not the church. Two, shouldn't there be just the one universal church body? Third, aren't we just local congregations of the universal church members. Should we call our "churches" congregations (ie: Via Christus Community Congregation, LifeSpring Community Congregation, St. Joseph's Congregation, Willowcreek Congregation)? How would the culture respond to this change? Does this make the use of community in the name obsolete? Could the end of the church age be the reunification of the universal church and the expression of congregations?


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Thursday Meeting

hey everyone. Just a reminder we have our next meeting this Thursday (Feb 16) at 6:30. We are discussing values and movement 2 from Velvet Elvis. It would be really great if everyone could get here with their food so we can start on time and stuff. We're having a Mexican themed dinner. I'm doing a mexicanish Chipotle Salmon salad thing and we still have plenty of drinks. If you feel like it post what you want to bring so we can coordinate all that fun stuff. Can't wait to see everyone and spend time together!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

We Value the Bible

Since Matt's last post has already moved us into a discussion of our second Value Statement, I thought I'd post it here so all of us could refer to it:

We value the Bible as (part of) God's story.

We value the Bible as an inspired self-revelation from God that tells the story of His work to redeem and restore the world from the ravages of sin. We recognize that the Bible is a complex document written by many human authors over thousands of years and composed of multiple literary genres, thus we believe it is important to understand the historical, cultural and textual context of scripture in order to rightly understand its relevance for our own lives and cultural context. We approach scripture with an attitude of humility, seeking to let it challenge and question our own lives without assuming that we have ever fully tamed or contained it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Living Word

Wanted to bring up a point that I've heard twice and wanted to open discussion.

There has been mention of The Word changing. My understanding is that God's Word doesn't change, but rather is applicable to all times. I'm kinda assuming that this is what was meant. Is it?

Further points: God doesn't change. Our understanding and relationship does though based on experiences, etc... This is how I understand and apply to The Word as well. That my understanding of it changes as I grow, but it remains the same, faithful and true.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Values Discussion

Thanks for a great discussion last night everyone! I really appreciate your thoughts on the different values, and I hope that together we'll be able to clarify our statements of what is really important to us as a church and what makes us the kind of church we're trying to be. However, I want to encourage us not to miss the forest for the trees. Let's not get lost in the details. Tweaking the wordings is good, but what's even more important to me is that we each understand and are on board with the "big ideas" behind each statement. As we continue to discuss these values I hope we'll focus on the content, the meaning, and the implications of each value. And I especially hope you'll each be asking yourselves whether the big idea of each value resonates with you personally. Would you say to yourself, "Yes, that's what I value in a church too."?

And once we're in agreement about what we value as a church, I'd like for us to then talk about the practical implications of each value. If we say we value Jesus as the center of our faith, what does that mean for everything else we do as a church? If we say we value a love for God and a love for others, how will that get lived out? I think case studies might be good at this point of the discussion. Let's throw out some examples of situations or questions that might arise in the course of being the church, and then ask ourselves how these values might guide our decisions and actions in each case.

So let's start with the first value; asking ourselves not necessarily "How would I want to tweak the wording?" but more importantly, "Do I agree and resonate with this value?" (and why?) and then "So what will this mean practically for the life and culture of our church?"

The first value is:
We value Jesus as the center of our faith and model for our lives.
We value the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the centerpoint of God's work in human history and in the lives of real people to bring reconciliation and healing to this broken world. We treasure the deep, holistic, heart connection to God that is available to all of us because of Jesus. We are committed to sharing this ongoing story of God*s love through our words and actions as we seek to follow in the same way of living that Christ modeled for us: a way of generosity, joy, peace, kindness, and love.

What does this value mean to you? How would you flesh out this value even further? What will it look like to put this value into practice in the new church?

Let's talk!