There is a train that runs through our town.
For some reason, I like to walk the dog to the Mission Street Station of the Metro, and sit for a while and watch the trains come through. Does anyone else like to do this, or am I just unique? I think I like to do this for two reasons. I think the Metro is cool, I probably just am a big kid at heart. Trains are cool.
Really, I think I like to go to watch all the people on the trains, coming and going, sliding through life, on their way to somewhere. All sizes, shapes, colors income groups. What are they thinking? What are they like? Are they happy today, or sad? Can they see that amazing sunset out the window, and do they ever wonder who created this remarkable planet that we share together? Do they even feel a need for God? And what, if anything does the church mean to them? I ponder these kinds of things.
Last Friday afternoon, I had coffee with Ryan Bolger, a professor at Fuller Seminary. Ryan's area of academic and personal passion is the emerging and missional church.
I met with Ryan as a result of one of my own personal passions; our own struggling mainline urban church. I have written about this many times here. But last week's meeting was something different, and may lead to many good things. The Kingdom works that way sometimes.
I shared with Ryan the struggles of our church, which really is more of a struggle of modern changing into post-modern for a church in a complex urban setting. I shared of my vision to help our church understand its calling, to hear God's voice in the midst of change, to remain faithful to orthodoxy, and yet to be open to a new movement of the Spirit.
I then asked Ryan, "What are you passionate about? What really spins your beanie?"
Ryan smiled, and was then good for about 10 minutes on the role of missions in the modern culture. As little as 10 years ago, missions was always seen as cross cultural, the sending of people "over there" to "those people". But now, missions, particularly in a place like Southern California and Hollywood, is about being missionaries and missional right where we live. Right here, right now. Being geniune, real, honest, and living our faith daily. How do we do this, what does it look like?
I am sure I will talk more about this soon. But for now, here are three great books that are sitting by my nightstand, ready to be read:
Memories, Hopes, and Conversations - Mark Lau Branson - the story of a small church's journey on the road to discovering a new future and mission.
The Sky is Falling!?! - Alan Roxburgh - A proposal for leadership communities to take risks for the Reign of God
The Missional Leader - Alan J. Roxburgh - Equipping your church to reach a changing world
Phew. Put all this in your church pipe, and smoke it! Then, pray.