Posts Tagged ‘Vision’

Bold, Believable, and Disciplined

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Organizations need to cast visions that are bold, believable and then execute forward movement with discipline.

What is bold and believable about a Christian vision?

The bold and believable does not lie in some trump card possessed by the few who profess.  It lies instead in the emancipation – that God created humanity to flourish.  To flourish … not suffer, or wine, or complain, or kill, or ache.  It is a flourishing that calls us into new ways of being, consistently whispering “There is more than THIS.”  Bold and believable!

That flourishing does not come from stuff.  It does not come from shrill prophesying and bullying from pulpits.  Flourishing does not come from moralizing that places God within small boxes of “do’s” and “don’ts” or knowing the “right” position on homosexuality or abortion.  Neither does flourishing grow from individual license to follow all compulsions regardless of the impact on others.   As Anne Lamott put it, You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

Forms of hatred, separation, division … oppose what flourishes … opposite a bold and believable vision.   Not much bold and believable about hate, religion-as-test, or sloppiness.  We flourish in a disciplined life navigated by love. Can we say, as this life ends, “I gave it a good squeeze?”

Reminding Ourselves a Million Times – It is NOT about us

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Just finished, “Who Stole My Church?” An autobiographic account written by Gordon MacDonald, it traces his congregation’s journey through change. The core change, as is true for churches (and lives) is the flip from it being about “us” to being about “them.”

A blessing of starting a new church, i.e. NewChurch LIVE, is that we never had a multi-generational culture to work through.  Our efforts – creating from the bottom up.   Simply put, no one within NCL thankfully ever said, “But that is not the way we did it.”  However that does not mean that we won’t face those issues in the future.  Someone will eventually say those very words!  (and it may be me in which case re-send me this blog:))

We received this email yesterday from New Mexico.   It reads ….

First, we would like to thank you for making your services available to us online.  They have led to much understanding and growth for us personally and inspired us to want to share the same type of services with our community.

We are trying to grow our shrinking New Church Circle in Albuquerque, NM.  We are in need of materials.  Our current plan for 2012-2013 is to project New Church Live Services and the wonderful music of your band to see if we can get more people involved.

The email on went to outline the ways in which they hope to leverage our services online.  See right there folks is a need.  It is a need beyond “us.”  It is about “them.”   It is about sharing a language as we seek to find ways to humbly take part in a reinvention of “church” for a new generation.   A wonderful world of promise!  And here is the caution, as Emanuel Swedenborg phrased it, about what creates detours on that journey.

“When we adopt our own welfare as the goal, God cannot be present.  Our self-absorbtion pushes Him away [as] we deflect and divert to ourselves the common good of society, the common good of the church, and even the Lord’s kingdom, treating them as if they exist for our own sake.”  (Heavenly Secrets 1316) 

That journey to the common good then takes patience and self-sacrifice.  We need to be willing to give to it – our time, talent, and treasure.  But don’t question the need.  At the Ronald McDonald House two nights ago I met a volunteer named Jeff, a man who lost a daughter to cancer at age 6.  He leaned across the counter with an unsettling certaintude, looked me in the eye, and said, ” We need more churches like NewChurch LIVE.”  If we can keep from letting that turn us back into a concern just about us, we will really be able to serve the world.  The tide has not come in yet.  But keep focused and keep clear about that this is all about.  Keep pointed to the “other.”

“Honor the fallen by challenging the living.”

Monday, September 12th, 2011

We spoke on 9/11 about living into the 9/12 world.

The world is faced daily with “9/11′s” – acts of horrific violence perpetrated on innocent bystanders.  How we remember those events is critical to who we are.  We can build our memories and our lives around anger, hatred and revenge.  Or we can build memories and lives around love, compassion, and sacrifice. This is a stark choice in many ways.  And, we need to fully acknowledge that we get to decide.

We also get to decide what world we choose to live in.  What is that choice on 9/12/2011?  With deep humility I ask all of us to allow time to consider a question.   Imagine taking 15 minutes to write “The world I choose to live into on 9/12/2011 is ….”  There is no power that can keep us from answering that question and living into the answer as best we can.

At NewChurch LIVE, our hope is to create with God’s help a clear call to action, one in which we use Christianity not as a “membership” system but as a framing system for holding the world and moving towards a future in which we navigate via love, compassion, and sacrifice – which is the Christian model, and the footsteps of Jesus.

The invitation and yes, the challenge … Join us on that endeavor.  There are many opportunities just this week alone for starting that journey.

Women’s Vespers: On Tuesday night, September 13th, our Women’s Ministry is hosting a BBQ dinner and Vespers service at the NewChurch LIVE offices, 2790 Huntingdon Pike in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.  (Please park at the Mitchell Performing Arts Center if you are familiar with the area.)  Dinner is at 5:30.  Vespers is at 6:30 PM.  Feel free to attend one or both.

Strength: On Wednesday night, September 14th, join us at the NewChurch LIVE offices for our “Strength” program.  ”Strength” is a Christian New Church program oriented towards the 12 Steps that is designed to help those us with bad habits, hurts, and hangups.  Dinner begins at 5:45.  The program starts at 6:30.  Come for dinner or just the program.

Open Houses: We are offering a series of Open Houses to discuss mission, vision, as well as your dreams and stewardship of NewChurch LIVE.  The dates for the Open Houses are September 18th, September 22nd, September 27th, October 2nd, and October 5th.  Please contact for more information.

Do we know where we are going? Absolutely not.  We are a process church and as such our focus is on finding a way forward together as God gives us to see it.  That is not a “soft” call because to be a process church means engagement is of the utmost value.  Restated we must shift towards being creators not just consumers.  We do need to live into a 9/12 world.   Older models are reaching their natural limits and it is time to start asking the question “Is there a brighter future out there and am I being called by God to help form it?”  Let’s dream!  Let’s explore!  Let’s create!