A Personal Update: My mother-in-law, Charlene, has been able to leave Duke Medical Center for possibly a couple weeks until the next round of chemo. She will be in Tennessee living with Mimi's older sister. We're so thankful that she is getting this respite from the hospital and constant treatment. Thanks so much for all the help, friendship, prayer, and kindness we've received from so many. Understanding and experiencing our place in community has been one of the true gifts of this season.
As I've written throughout the summer, I have been leading an emerging culture initiative for our church. This initiative is now moving into a much higher gear. Our vision community had a wonderful time presenting our dream to the Chapel Hill Bible Church's Elders. As an initiative leader and as an Elder, I've been able to listen in on both sides of the conversation in regards to these plans. I have been so encouraged to see how enthusiastic our church's leadership has become for the possibilities of this mission. In short, the leadership has encouraged us to not only continue dreaming but to take action.
Our plans now call for the formation of a missional community in downtown Durham. We have not closed the discussion on whether this community should eventually become a separate church. But, for now, we hope to development a mission that is distinct from the Chapel Hill Bible Church (authencity requires it) AND uniquely connected to CHBC. We hope to continue to in partnership with CHBC. We will have so much to learn from the many of years of ministry experience of this unique fellowship. We will need their love, support, and blessing to truly address our calling. We also hope to help shape and influence the future of CHBC by stepping a bit faster down the path of cultural change. We truly hope that our exploration, mission, and embodiment of the gospel will be an act of blessing to CHBC.
One of my dreams for the church as it moves into the emerging culture is an explosion of diverse partnerships. The Christian community has been marked by separation, competition, and a broken communion. Much energy has been exerted as fellowships seek to replicate themselves in new (and often distinctly different) contexts. What we need, I believe, in the emerging postmodern, post-Christian, post-individual, post-rational, post-Evangelical, post-liberal, post-Reformation, post-consumer (to name of a few of many relavent "posts") culture is a new manifestation of community among those who follow the way of Jesus. I am excited about the opportunity to express this in a small way in our own community. I will look forward to many opportunities to hear how others express this need in their own communities.
In regards to this dream, I want to share a great sound-byte. To shape and guide this mission, a community of friends have begun to gather on Sunday evenings to pray, dialogue, dream, and share communion. For our first time of communion, I had asked my son, Keenan, and another 4th grade friend (Morgan) to help distribute the elements. After everyone had been served, my son was left with a still full of platter of warm bread. Instead of setting it down, he (with a flair for the dramatic, don't know where that comes from....) bowed in the center of our group and held high the plate over his head and exclaimed, "More Christ!" We laughed and immediately realized that this blurb had the potential to become both a rationale and organizing principle of our mission. Isn't that what we need? Seriously, anyone, "more Christ."