Vision Team Blog

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Theme and homework

Hey All! I'm a bad student! Can anyone please tell me what the theme for dinner this week as well as what homework we had? Thanks a ton!

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Review

I just read the review that Hemant wrote about Via Christus and I thought it was really cool. I felt like the whole q&a w/ him on Saturday was very positive. What a concept--a bunch of christians sitting around asking an athiest his opinion of the church. I am imagining the reactions that some people I know might have to some of the statements in the review--like the one about our church being "truly liberal" or even better, "It’s a type of Christianity no Atheist should have a problem with." I considered both of those statements as compliments, but they also make me chuckle a little.

Hemant has posted his review of us

Hemant (the "eBay Atheist" who visited us at Via Christus this past Saturday) has posted his review of us online. You can read it here. He was remarkably positive and affirming. It was especially interesting to hear how he interpreted a lot of the things we did and said. Of course, I'm sure having time to talk with us openly after the service helped him understand more about us than he may have gotten at other churches where he only sat through a service.

Anyhow, I just thought you'd all be interested in reading his comments. Personally I'm very gratified by what he wrote. Funny though, his one point of critique, that I talked too much, is exactly what my wife said too! :)

Have a great week guys!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Nine Core Practices of Emerging Churches

I was surfing the web and came across this list of values for the Emerging Church from Eddie Gibbs and Ryan K. Bolger’s book Emerging Churches: Creating Community in Postmodern Cultures. I was struck by how well the matched with a lot of the things that we have talked about together in relation to our values for Via Christus. Perhaps these might be a good way of summarizing some of our ideas:
  1. Identifying with Jesus (and his way of life)
  2. Transforming secular space (overcoming the secular/sacred split)
  3. Living as community (not strangers in proximity at a church service)
  4. Welcoming the stranger (radical and gentle hospitality that is inclusive)
  5. Serving with generosity (not serving the institution called “church,” but people)
  6. Participating as producers (not widgets in the church program)
  7. Creating as created beings
  8. Leading as a body (beyond control and the CEO model of leadership)
  9. Merging ancient and contemporary spiritualities

“Emerging churches destroy the Christendom idea that church is a place, a meeting or a time. Church is a way of life, a rhythm, a community, a movement.”

Thursday, March 23, 2006

now its time for silly songs with larry...

So I gave into the pressure and we now have our very own Via Christus Quote Blog!!! This is a space (still in process of being setup) where we can post funny stuff - quotes, stories, pictures, links - whatever we want to share as a church. Its a place to enjoy and laugh at the things we say and do (especially the things Mike as pastor does :) ). So I posted some of the limericks fror the other night and will hopefully get some pictures up soon. Anyone can post on it - I just need to send you an invite to respond to - so let me know if you want to be a member of the quote blog so you can post.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Prayer Request

Could everyone please pray for Michelle's grandmother who suffered a heart attack last night? Michelle and Nathan won't be able to be with us this coming Saturday because they'll be visiting her.



Saturday, March 18, 2006

Nation Building Seminar

Attended LifeSpring's Nation Building seminar today and came away with a lot of great ideas I wanted to bounce off of y'all. The seminar was conducted by Ross from Glocalnet, an organization developed by Northwoods Baptist Church down in Ft. Worth. Glocalnet encourages churches to focus on ministry both globally and locally.

First, one of the exercises was "envisioning the church of the future." Some of the values that were suggested were: externally focused (vs. hoarding mentality), 24/7 (not about Sunday), interconnected with other churches (one universal church, many parts serving many purposes), diversity without division (vs. clique cultures), passionate, sacrificial, inviting (being people that entice others into asking "who is this Jesus?"), participatory.

Second, they shared some interesting thoughts on the process of ministry development. They use a 4 cornerstone description: 1) if you look at your people's Gifts + Passions and their intersection with the community's Needs, it may be an avenue to connect with God's Plan (Gifts+Passions(intersect)Needs=God's Plan) 2)Laypeople accomplish ministry, pastors take care of laypeople 3)don't be a lone ranger, partner with experts to accomplish your purposes 4)aim for adopting these ministries, not just fostering them (permanent, fewer short term commitments) - long term investments, front door engagement, impact and engage infrastructures.

They had several really cool charts. One was a personality style assessment that I felt was very effective, I'll try to bring it Thurs, it might be a very useful tool for the vision team to use. Another was a bell curve flow chart that dealt with the diffusion of innovation. The graph demonstated levels of participation based on the life cycle in activities. It began with a person or two who innovated the idea. Next a few people who caught the vision (early adopters), mid and late adopters come on board once the kinks are worked out and continue the project. Objectors are those who never can get on board with this particular idea, often God has given them a passion for something else. The last chart to really catch my attention dealt with challenges and skills. Let's see if I can approximate it...
C |
H | Anxiety Arousal FLOW
A |
L |
L |
E | Worry Control
N |
E |
S | Apathy Boredom Relaxation

Well, sort of (wish I had my scanner set up). The idea is that there must be the right balance between your skill in an area and how challenging it is for you to achieve "flow." Otherwise, any of the other descriptions can occur. Theoretically.

Also I heard some great quotes: "ask small things in small ways with the resources we have and there will never be a crisis of belief and an encounter with God", "people should be in the go, not just in the know," "we say what we believe, we do what we value."

And finally, one really great story. Glocalnet is teaming up with bunch of other churches to help people in Afganistan. When this project first got started, Glocalnet was looking for a church to lead the way. Their head missions guy met with a bunch of churches. On one particular visit he met with two pastors, one pastored a church in St. Louis of 500 attendees, the other a church in Rome, GA of 37 people. He was really excited about this St. Louis church because they seemed to be big enough to really take charge. After the meeting, he never heard from the St. Louis church again. However, this church of 37 in Rome, GA was excited about Afganistan and God used them to head up this big network project. Afganistan is one of Glocalnet's biggest projects now and this not as little anymore church is still leading the way.

Don't you think this could be us??

Friday, March 17, 2006

the eBay Atheist is coming...

Hey all,

Like I told you last night, Hemant Mehta, the eBay Atheist will be visiting us at Via Christus soon. I just got an email today letting us know that he'll be joining us next Saturday, 3/25. I'm really excited as this will be a great opportunity to learn how a total outsider would perceive us as a church. I want encourage us to all be ourselves and try not to act too differently just because he's there. Let's just treat him like we would any other first time visitor.

I'm so stoked! :D


Thursday, March 16, 2006


Good News, I finally got added to the official blog contributors list! I actually exist.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wendy and Steve are bringing swedish pancakes.

We are bringing swedish pancakes so all you suckers are going to have to bring something else.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

How're we doing?

Hey everyone!

So we've had several Core Gatherings now, and I'd love to get anyone's feedback on what you think we're doing well, and what we can improve on. What worship elements and discussion techniques have you like? What have you not? What do we need to tweak?

For example, we both enjoyed the Christmas worship tonight, but Julie suggested that we probably needed to explain things better, especially for the sake of visitors and newcomers, to help them feel more comfortable. And maybe I need to be more explicit that the participatory elements are purely optional, so that no one feels obliged to do them if they're new.

What else might you guys say about tonight or past Core Gatherings that we've done so far? Let's have some constructive feedback.



Thursday, March 09, 2006

March 16 Dinner

So this realy should be the Vision Team food blog since that gets the most interest here :)

Okay after talking with people I am making an executive decision to be adventurous and go with Swedish food this time around. I’m also going to annoy everyone and claim Swedish meatballs already – since I have a couple bags of the IKEA really yummy ones in my freezer (as well as the cream sauce and ligonberry jam). So what else shall we have?
We need some sort of potatoes. Steamed new potatoes with dill would be really easy for someone to make. Or Swedish pancakes are a common food as well.
Other traditional foods include gravalox which could easily be bought premade at a store. Or if we aren’t into raw cured fish – some sort of baked salmon would work. A bread like limpa/rye bread is traditional and may be bought premade. Some sort of rice pudding would be good (also easily bought premade). There are tons of traditional Swedish desserts – cookies, cakes, sweetbreads. I even found a recipe for non-alcoholic glogg if anyone feels up to it (I know they sell it (and tons of Swedish food) at IKEA, but those are so not nearby).

So have fun with it and let’s be adventurous together as we share this meal and come closer as a group. If you want other ideas google Swedish food or check out or . I know you can get premade versions of many of these foods at Jewel or Trader Joes. Perhaps the food section of World market has some stuff as well. Don’t stress out though, if this is too complicated whatever you want to bring will be appreciated as part of our meal time. If you know what you are bringing post it so others can plan. I'm really looking forward to our next meeting. we got deep into a lot of stuff last time which was good for the group. so the values discussion
(don't forget to do your homework!) should be good. Peace and good eats.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

What do you want for dinner?

Hey all,

We forgot to decide what dinner theme we'd do for the next Vision Team meeting on March 16. Does anyone have any ideas?

A few options are:

Southern Comfort Food
Breakfast Food

...or anything else you guys suggest. What would you like?

The Jesus Creed

Several of you asked for a copy of the Jesus Creed that I read the other night at Vision Team. Here it is. You can also find it at

The Jesus Creed

This creed was originally shared at the Emergent Convention, Nashville, May 2004 by Brian McLaren

We have confidence in Jesus
Who healed the sick, the blind, and the paralyzed.
And even raised the dead.

He cast out evil powers and
Confronted corrupt leaders.
He cleansed the temple.
He favored the poor.
He turned water into wine,
Walked on water, calmed storms.

He died for the sins of the world,
Rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father,
Sent the Holy Spirit.

We have confidence in Jesus
Who taught in word and example,
Sign and wonder.
He preached parables of the kingdom of God
On hillsides, from boats, in the temple, in homes,
At banquets and parties, along the road, on beaches, in towns,
By day and by night.

He taught the way of love for God and neighbor,
For stranger and enemy, for outcast and alien.

We have confidence in Jesus,
Who called disciples, led them,
Gave them new names and new purpose
And sent them out to preach good news.
He washed their feet as a servant.
He walked with them, ate with them,
Called them friends,
Rebuked them, encouraged them,
Promised to leave and then return,
And promised to be with them always.

He taught them to pray.
He rose early to pray, stole away to desolate places,
Fasted and faced agonizing temptations,
Wept in a garden,
And prayed, “Not my will but your will be done.”
He rejoiced, he sang, he feasted, he wept.

We have confidence in Jesus,
So we follow him, learn his ways,
Seek to obey his teaching and live by his example.
We walk with him, walk in him, abide in him,
As a branch in a vine.

We have not seen him, but we love him.
His words are to us words of life eternal,
And to know him is to know the true and living God.
We do not see him now, but we have confidence in Jesus.