31 October 2009

Arguments against Virtual Church

I love to follow and analyze the various arguments that go on in the Blogosphere about the various new methods that are being used under the banner of "church"    I have commented myself on The Meeting House and things that I see around me, but one person I have loved reading is Bob Hyatt.    If all the latest trends are smoke, he has his infrared glasses on to see through it all.

He has a great post responding to this article In Defence of Virtual Church

Virtual Church is STILL a Bad Idea
I recommend reading the whole article, but here are a few highlights:
What do we call a church that not only fails to engage in, but makes a practical impossibility, the idea of church discipline? How will discipline happen in Second Life/Internet/Sim Church, where anonymity reigns and screen names and identities are changed with a couple clicks?
What do we call a church that not only fails to engage in, but makes a practical impossibility, the equipping ministry of the church? What about discipleship and leadership formation? How does one become an elder in a virtual church? What do we call churches without biblical eldership?
Can true community be mediated by a screen, or is it forged in the times at table, bearing one another’s burdens, serving the poor and one another together, at weddings and funerals, births and deaths … all the stuff that happens when I turn the screen off.

30 October 2009

Shane Hipps is on the move

I'm a big fan of Shane Hipps.  His two books have played a significant role in my own journey of where technology needs to intersect with life and faith.   Today I picked up on a little news that he is moving to be a teaching pastor at Mars Hill.   That is pretty big news in a way I feel like the fan of the an indy band that has just made it big.  It's cool that Shane will now be part of the Rob Bell big picture and I hope that Shane's teaching about technology and the effects will have a bigger audience.  (Hey Shane, what are the four effects of NOOMA)  But in some way I feel like the hipster kid that now has to share his favourite band/author with everyone.    Any way.... Good hire Mars Hill.

FYI.... wow there are a lot of people that think Rob Bell and now Shane Hipps are teaming up with Satan himself.   Gosh.   I'd link to them, but then they'll just track back here and to be honest I don't need that kind of bother....  Just Google Rob Bell + Shane Hipps and see what you get.

28 October 2009

The search for The Church

One thing that has not really happend yet since moving to Torrance to take the job at Camp Crossroads is for Brea and I to find a church body to be a part of.   We really want to be a part of a community, to find a people that want to seek Jesus on a daily basis and also seek to be Jesus to live close by.  A church body that is growing spiritually and is looking to make a difference (if not friends) in the community.
In the spring we went to the litle presbyterian church down the road.   The people there were very freindly and welcoming.   The worship service was pretty slow and mostly hyms out of the book, many at which even those in the pews didn't seem to know.  The teaching was good, but notably in sync with a common passage in the denonmination and thus not exactly as passionate as something that was brough personally from the pastor.    One of the main reasons that we had started with the church in town is that we want to tap into this community we live in and get to know people.  On thing about the church in Torrance, they weren't doing much to get to know their neighbours.   The pastor and his wife run a great afterschool program, but it's not something the community is interested in.   In the end we really felt it was right to look for other places.
The summer was crazy busy at camp and it wasn't untill fall that we had a few chancs to start looking at other places.   One church that often came up in searches and conversations was Glennwood Chapel.   It was a day in September that I went on my own,  Teen Challenge was there and it was a really great service.  (Since then we have started supporting them a little bit).   Brea was back for a few services on weekends that I couldn't and was excited by pastor Reg's preaching on what was the vision for the community that the church was in.   So a few weeks ago Brea and I finally had an oportunity to go together and were really looking forward to it.  It started off well enough - actually Life 100.3 was there which was cool, hadn't seen Scott Jackson, the GM in a few years - but then pastor Reg got up for his "sermon"  I have put it in quotations because it really wasn't a sermon at all.  Really just a presentation of what direction Glennwood needed to move in to become a bigger church.   It was just that, how to go from being a small church, to a medium church, to a large church.   I really started feeling sick.    I couldn't believe that someone would actually take the time to lay out a plan that was so stuck on numbers of people attending on a Sunday morning.   He used one slide that in esseces said a small church moves from being "Relationship Driven"  to "Program Driven"  - I wanted to walk out.    He also had slides that said rediculous things like the pastor needs to move from "caring for people" to being and "administratior"  So very quickly I was feeling like Glennwood is not the right place for us.

We are looking at other places and praying that God would give us a clue about what is the right place to be. 
So more on the progression later.    Would you go to a church that activly wants to move to a program bias?
We just want to be a part of a group of people that want to change their community and be changed by the Spirit.... not fill seats and build programs that people will hopefully want to come to