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Archive for the ‘Sally Morgenthaler’ Category

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Allelon just released an interview with Sally Morgenthaler and Alan Roxburgh. Sally created the idea of worship evangelism. Catch it here. Sally doesn’t pull any punches on the nature of worship. Sally has an article that could be a good companion piece to the video.

Extracts:

  • “Church is a show you go to.” Ouch.
  • “A lack of control…I really want this person to meet God…not on my timeline.”

PS: I forgot to mention that Bill Kinnon shot the video.

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Great article from Sally Morganthaler on women in the postmodern church context. She asks some awesome questions for women looking to make an impact in the church, including, “In summary, what does it really mean for a woman to be released into her potential, to be trusted with a ministry role, or to secure a salaried ministry position only to find that, for all her new-found freedom, authority, and seeming equality, she is only rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?”

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Nice stuff from daniel t. over at Jesus Manifesto on living in God’s kingdom.

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Very cool summary by Scot McKnight of a chapter in Divine Embrace by Robert Webber at Jesus Creed. I now want to read this book. He also asks some serious questions about intellectual Christianity in chapter 6. This was me ten years ago. Nicely done.

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For readers of Kamp Krusty, this is a stunningly beautiful confession about the struggles of what it means to take medication from one of the funniest guys on my blog reader. The follow up is awesome too. It’s good to see the heart of people.

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Alan Hirsch asks some hard questions about reformed theology and the tendency to become religious Paulinism.  Nice.

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Chances are if you clicked on this, it was the title that grabbed you. Why? Because we all want the next big thing. We’re all looking for something that works, and if it will work fast, then that’s better. If it works instantly, then that’s the Holy Grail. The next big thing usually falls into the last category.

We do this don’t we? We constantly search for something someone else has done the hard work on. I saw this in business when I worked in Silicon Valley, the land of the next big thing. The latest leadership fads sent everyone running to the nearest convention center at a $695 bucks a pop looking for the latest guru’s next big idea. We bought the authors books and attempted to convert entire divisions over to a “new and improved” way of doing things. And for some reasons, only those who were in the trenches could see the underlying problems in all of it. You see, they were the ones who had to DO the thing. But the moment we didn’t see immediate results we went back to the next conference and started the entire process all over again.

Churches have done the same thing. Seeker sensitive, gen-x, worship evangelism, emerging, alternative church in a church, video, etc. Did it work? Maybe for a while. But even Willow Creek is admitting they didn’t get it all right. In fact, some of their basic assumptions were completely wrong. Yet 12,000 churches signed up to follow them. Did they mean well. Absolutely. It was obvious. But was it costly? Maybe.

Noted author Sally Morgenthaler (ht) and founder of the worship evangelism idea expresses her insight on what happens when we chase the next big thing. She says,

“Several asked me to help them crack the unchurched code. One wanted to invest in an expensive VJ machine and target twentysomethings. The others thought a multisensory, ancient-future, or emergent twist might help. However, when I visited their congregations, it wasn’t hard to see that the biggest barrier to reaching the unchurched had little to do with worship technique or style. It had to do with isolation and the faux-worship that isolation inevitably creates.”

So did all that chasing and time consuming cost work? Morgenthaler continues…

“The upshot? For all the money, time, and effort we’ve spent on cultural relevance—and that includes culturally relevant worship—it seems we came through the last 15 years with a significant net loss in churchgoers, proliferation of megachurches and all.”

15 years and a net loss.  Not the best return on investment they’d say on Sand Hill. And when we think about it, it kind of makes sense.  If our entire focus has been on getting people in the door, which is what Willow and most churches have done, someone is getting left in the wind on this one.  And what Willow found was that it were those who had reached a depth of faith.  In other words, the farther we go up the ladder the less they pay attention to us.  And what Willow found is that these people become disgruntled.  And when newcomers come in, why would they want to be like that?

But my question is why do we do that? Why do we chase the next big thing? Could the answer be that we just don’t want to do the work? Is it that we simply want someone else to do it for us. Maybe. A friend of mine wants to be Tiger Woods but he doesn’t want to practice like Tiger. He wants to be famous like Tiger, but he doesn’t want to put in the long grueling hours AFTER the long tournament. I saw Tiger play the 2000 US Open at Pebble. And on Wednesday, he played his practice round and then spent almost an hour and a half after the round hitting buckets of balls with his coach. We forget about that part. But is it simply laziness, or is it something deeper?

Morgenthaler’s comments hint at the what might really be the underlying problem. She elegantly describes the hidden meaning behind all of this chasing.

“But by 1998 something had shifted. The set-up crews weren’t looking quite as fresh as they once were. Why would they, playing “portable church” 52 weeks a year, year after hopeful year? Of course, they were waiting for the “promised land”—the gleaming megaplex their pastor had envisioned on those 20 farm acres south of town. The savviest start-ups reached that promised land. Most did not.”

Could the real problem be that we’re looking for the next big thing, the thing that provides all the answers, to validate what we’re doing, to validate who we are? The next big thing has the potential to make us look like rock stars. It allows us to step up to the plate and look like a hero, basking in the applause that comes with hitting the home run. Look at us. See what we did.  Yes, God was involved but we led the charge.

But the interesting thing is that Jesus didn’t invite us into the next big thing. He invited us into a missional discipleship journey; a long, hard, sweat of our brow, richly rewarding, time consuming, I want to quit right now but I won’t kind of journey. He didn’t invite us into the next big thing because it was too easy and easy wasn’t worth it. Easy didn’t give us what we really needed. It didn’t require anything of us. It didn’t reveal who we really are. It didn’t reveal what was possible. It didn’t reveal love.

I like where Morgenthaler is going. She’s dropping her own next big thing and shutting down her website to support it.  She say near the end…

“To this end, we will be focusing on the radically different kind of leadership practices necessary to transform our congregations from destinations to conversations, from services to service, and from organizations to organisms.”

It doesn’t sound like the next big thing but it does sounds like something love would do? But then again, isn’t that what we’re really looking for?

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