We had a busy week. After speaking at Willow’s group life conference Thursday morning and then doing a workshop on Missional Jesus Thursday afternoon, we got up at 4:15am Friday and flew to Baltimore where we were picked up by three missional pastors: Brian, Mark and JR Woodward.
JR interviewed me during our trip to the Purple Pastor‘s Eastpoint church in Newark, Delaware, and you can find the interview here. Then we rested up, had some lunch, and had a conversation with a goodly number of pastors in the Ecclesia Project, directed by Chris Backer, about Missional Jesus, but we focused on the relationship of kingdom of God to church. You may know I don’t like either seeing the kingdom as some kind of big scheme with the church only being a little part of this and I don’t like this because I can’t find the kingdom used that way in the New Testament. Nor do I like de-politicizing the church or the gospel. So, we had a good talk.
Dinner that night (somewhere) with about 25 from that group — and we enjoyed conversation with many, including Todd Hiestand, JR Woodward, Gary … from Princeton… and Tom Ward. We met Todd’s friend, Scott Hackman — who roasts One Village coffee — and a bundle of others, too many to name here. We called JR Briggs to tell him we saved a place for him.
Rested up and Saturday morning I addressed Eastpoint Church, led by the Purple Pastor Tom Ward and his father, also Tom Ward, on the themes of Embracing Grace and how we can convert our churches and small groups into missional groups. What a great group with honest and thoughtful questions.
Tom (Sr) and Gloria Ward hosted everyone for a wonderful lunch; we chatted and wondered aloud.
Then John and Tracy Dickerson (Tracy is a North Park seminary student) very kindly took us back to the airport; we had some engaging conversation there and met some new friends. Kris and I relaxed a bit at the airport, and had an uneventful trip home.
It’s good to be home, but we had a wonderful week which we will never forget — we like what God is doing in the church.
Lesson for me that Kris and I talked about: about ten pastors at the Willow conference informed me privately that this blog is having a pastoral influence on them. It made us grateful and even more committed to what is happening in this conversational community we call the Jesus Creed. Thanks to each of you.