We were anything but sleepless in Seattle. In fact, it was a weekend dedicated to a conversation about missional. (The mp3s are here.) I’ll post three times on the Missional Matrix event at Vineyard Community Church, an event sponsored by Off the Map and the fine support of Jim Henderson, author of a brand new book.
Today I want to reflect on the Vineyard church, and Rose and Rich Swetman, and the event itself.
There are lots of fine missional churches; this is one of them. Rose and Rich have worked hard to create a missional environment and have organically — because they listen, look, learn and have linked locally — connected themselves into the fabric of Shoreline and their immediate community. One of the highlights of the event was Rose’s story of how their church has become increasingly missional — and how it has learned to minister to all folks, no matter where they are. You can listen to her talk if you follow the link to the mp3s above.
My favorite line: “VCC is an incubator for people’s passions.” Or maybe it was her idea that “they decided not to grow a big church but grow a church big” (which meant intensively). They have two values: spiritual disciplines and serving others. It took three years. They are learning. There was no hubris, no cockiness, but a steely, confidence that they were listening to the Spirit guide them to be servants in the community. No reason to bash other churches. Just a willingness to be who God wants them to be in their place and space.
Then Rose opened her session to questions … and they were flying all over the place, one of the most interesting of which was whether or not social services are Spirit-work or preparatory work for the Spirit (something along this line). I have a letter to emerging Christians about this topic and I’ll try to post it this week.
My favorite line of Rose’s: “I lloooove that.” I can’t say it as she did; but it was memorable.
I’m running out of space… but it was great to meet and be with Rich.
Other highlights about the event and VCC:
Jim Henderson was a hoot; clearly a great emcee for the event and one who knows how to keep sessions moving.
I saw the longest soul patch I’ve ever seen — no picture but if the young man can post a picture to me, I’m happy to put it here. I mean, this guy had a sooooooooooooooooooooul patch. He was a delightful and engaging young man.
Rachelle Mee-Chapman of Monkfish Abbey led a small group; insightful and thoughtful and suggestive.
Jim Henderson interviewed a young atheist medical doctor, Eliza Sutton, who went to a Missouri Synod Lutheran church catechism class in order to see what Christians believe. Very nice session. You could hear pins fall on carpet.
We were privileged to spend time with Amy Powell who was visiting the Swetmans for the weekend. Amy is planting a church in Appleton, WI and we admire her passion and spunk. Every pastor like Amy needs a mentor like Rose (and Jim).
The spirit of the place: I’ve not particpated in a 6 hour event where people had energy the whole time; no one seemed to be in a hurry to get away so they could get something done; people wanted to hang out to talk. There was tranquility hanging over the whole event. No one was sleeping. The Kelly Carpenter Band was awesome, and the two female vocalists led us all into worship — and a key song was one by Melissa Etheridge. (Man, it was a cool song.)
Tomorrw: a synopsis of the talks of Todd Hunter, President of Alpha.