While for some churches, fully appreciating women in ministry has been in place for a while, there are a number of churches thoughtful working through the issue today. In fact, I just got an email from a friend whose mega-church is near the final stages of removing any restrictions on women in leadership at the church they serve. The leadership has unanimously came to this conclusion, they are simply waiting for approval from the entire membership. They are a true model in communal discernment.
There are other churches that have yet to think about this issue thoughtfully enough. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had dinner with William Webb, author of Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis, and it was encouraging to hear from him about how God is continuing to use his book with people of influence, who currently hold a hermeneutic that disqualify women from certain roles. You might be surprised by the people currently thinking deeply about this topic.
This is why I am thankful that Felicity Dale has taken the time to pull together a book where Peggy Batcheller-Hijar, Neil Cole, Jan Diss, Katie Drive, Dave Ferguson, Michael Frost, Alan Hirsch, Suzette Lambert, Floyd McLung, Julie Ross, Frank Viola and Jon Zens each take a chapter to make a positive case for the full inclusion of women in ministry. Lynne Hybels wrote the forward.
“God had to give Peter three visions before he got the clue that He fully welcomes Gentiles. Christ has given the church men and women apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers. Each chapter in this book is a vision, so don’t be surprised if God gives you a kairos moment (divine moments that shape our destiny), where you start to appreciate and value women in the same way He does. Let the black swan revolution begin!”
Last month I finished reading The New Parishby Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens and Dwight Friesen. I appreciate this book immensely because it takes the missional conversation a step further by developing a strong theology of place. More than that, these guys put into practice what they write about, and the organizations they have developed, The Parish Collective and Inhabit Conference are helping many more people incarnate the good news in the neighborhood.
“What would it look like if God’s reign were to be more fully realized in your neighborhood? In The New Parish, Tim, Paul and Dwight team up to answer this question in concrete ways. With a rich theology of place and practice, they guide us in how to have a humble posture and be a faithful presence in the neighborhood. This is a must-read!”
Take a minute and order the book. You won’t be disappointed. By the way, I will be speaking at the Inhabit Conference again this year, so if you come, please be sure to connect.
Tori sent me an early copy for my endorsement, and here is what I said about this book:
“When we encounter the dark night of the soul, we need someone to meet us in our anguish. We need wounded healers to come alongside us, to utter words that breath life into us. Tori Lane is that someone, and she speaks these words with amazing depth in The Beautiful Ruins.”
If you are in the D.C. area this weekend, you should really try to get to this event.
“The purpose of history is the evangelization of the world by the church so that there will be some from every tribe and nation to praise God around the throne. The role of the church is to bear costly witness to the Lord Jesus in word (the preaching of the gospel) and deed (loving acts of reconciliation). The witness is costly because the powers, which have not yet submitted to Jesus’ lordship, are still dangerous and hostile. - Craig Carter (The Politics of the Cross)
Are you a worship leader? Then is here is possible opportunity for you.
Oakdale Church, in the Washington DC area, is seeking to hire three talented and experienced worship leaders to help plan, produce, coordinate, and lead worship across three campuses. The positions are part time right now but with the potential for becoming full time. Oakdale is a growing, multi-site, multi-generational, Jesus-centered, evangelical congregation with multiple worship gatherings of varying styles. We are located in Montgomery County Maryland just north of DC. We have two campuses in Olney and are launching our third campus next year in Clarksburg. We need worship leaders who will help lead us to the next level in engaging seekers and believers alike across multiple campuses and venues through powerful and transformative worship that is relevant to today’s generations while staying focused on Jesus. If you believe God is calling you to one of these positions, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you live in Los Angeles, please join us for the New Hope FUNdraising event. New Hope rescues impoverished youth from landfills, child slavery and streets of Kenya. We provide education, food, shelter, daily needs and much needed love.
At this event, there will be a live auction, live art, live music, a silent auction, raffles, cocktails, hor d’oeuvres and move. The dress for the event is cocktail attire.
Date: Saturday, December 7th, 2013 Location: Gallery SIXTY29, 6029 W Washington Blvd 90232 Time: 6:30 pm to 10 pm
When it comes to sharing our faith in wisdom, it is vital to understand a couple of concepts, the person of peace and their “oikos“. I’ve known and used the person of peace approach to evangelism for some time now.
I was recently talking with Linda Bergquist a church strategist in San Francisco and she was telling me that origins of the idea of the person of peace can be traced back to Dr. Thom Wolf, Mission Professor and Gold Gate Theological Seminary, and founder of Church on Brady, currently named Mosaic in Los Angeles, led by Erwin McManus. The person of peace concept has been popularized since by a number of people, including Bob and Mary Hopkins and Mike Breen.
Thom Wolf gives us a “sticky” way to think about the person of peace. First, take a moment to read one of the key passages on this topic, Luke 10:1-12. There are three ways to describe a person of peace.
First, they are a person of receptivity (Luke 10:6). People of peace are people whom God has been working in before we even meet them. This approach to evangelism is all about recognizing where God is at work and joining him in the process. It is based on the missionary nature of God. Cornelius and Lydia are some examples that we see in the book of Acts.
Second, they are a person of reputation (good or bad). The demoniac is an example of this. In Mark 5, Jesus begs to go with him, but Jesus sends him back to share with others.
Third, they are a person of referral (Acts 16:6-34). In other words, the person of peace is influential with a web of relationships in which they invite you to influence. When you take this approach to evangelism, you want to consider not only what God is doing with the person of peace, but what the Spirit is doing among the person of peace’s oikos, their extended relationships. The greek word oikos literally means household, in the past it typically involved a persons extended family and servants. Today you can think about it as someones primary web of relationships. The story of the Philippian Jailer in Acts 16:31-34, how he and his entire household came to faith is an example of this approach to evangelism.
With the person of peace concept in mind, let’s move to the octagon, as developed by Bob and Mary Hopkins in their ebook Evangelism Strategies. Here is my summary and reflection on working with the people of peace and their oikos. Refer to the diagram as I work through the basic concepts.
When walking with the person of peace and their oikos, you first want to perceive where the person and their web of relationships are at spiritually. How close are far away are they from God? How hungry or thirsty are they? How fast or slow is the person of peace and their oikos moving toward the Lord? These questions help us perceive how God is at work.
PASSING OR PERMANENT
The next thing you want to consider is: Is this person in a passing relationship or a more permanent one? In other words, the other day I met a person of peace on my plane ride to Miami. This was someone I had a passing relationship with. But upon further conversation, I found out he was from Northern Virginia, close to where I’m living now, so because we exchanged numbers, our relationship may become a more permanent one. The reason this might be important is because the nature of the relationship we have with the person of peace and their oikos will shape our approach.
PROCLAIMING AND PRESENCE
In other words, depending on the guidance of the Spirit, we can engage passing relationships in a more forward way than our permanent relationships. God has likely put this person in our life so that we might plant some seeds of truth in them, that we might proclaim the good news to them. On the other hand, those we are in a more permanent relationship require our presence and actions. In this approach, it is important for us to love them till they ask us why. While this is the general approach to passing and permanent relationship, we need to grow in wisdom in discerning what and when God wants us to share the good news, because faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.
POWER AND PREPARATION
When it comes to our passing relationships, we should be open to what John Wimber called “power” evangelism. This is where we ask God to intervene in a dramatic way through things like healing prayer, a prophetic word, Spirit inspired dreams, answered prayer in regard to a crises in their life. We should seek to see God’s power work within our permanent relationships as well, but with passing people, we want to leave them with a sign of God’s desire to bless them and be in relationship with them. With our permanent relationships, our approach would be to partner with God and till the soil and plant seeds, to prepare the person of peace and their oikos to hear the good news at the proper time. This would be more of a process, like an Alpha course, or hosting a six week study on Jesus.
The octagon is an important way to understand a general approach to people of peace and their oikos. While our general approach to passing and permanent relationships are different, there are always exceptions, thus we must depend on the guidance of the Spirit in everything.