Monday, December 15, 2008

taking a leap

well, i have done it. i have discerned, for better or for worse, for what i hear God calling me to do. i have been serving as an interim/transitional pastor simultaneous to beginning the flagstaff abbey an emerging expression of church. last week i notified the bishop, council, call committee, all to their surprise, that i will not be submitting my name as an interviewing candidate for the traditional parish. that means i'll only be serving for a few more months as an interim in this setting. i am discerning what to do, but very much feel called to put old wine in new wineskins, not for the sake of an ecclesiastical beauty contest, but for being true to the kind of leader i hear God calling out in me.

i feel too schizophrenic to be living in two completely different cultural realities. the best example, although i know they all break down, is this. i feel i'm not the leader to restore a 1964 vintage mustang, but do feel called to work on hybrids and push even further into the future with the very way we build and use transportation. this is the best expression for helping to share the divergent and vexed reality i have continually found myself occupying.

i've got to say at another level but very much related, i'm also concerned about the professional aspect of church leadership, lay and clergy alike. i don't know how it will all work out, but i just know that the perception from those supposedly outside the church, don't really give a flying shit that there is a professional and many won't actually and financially support such an effort. what this doesn't mean however is that they aren't concerned about generously contributing to good causes for the sake of serving the common good. but the church is loosing its ground on how to sustain itself. which in and of itself is a telling reality. i realize this is a huge generalization toward mainlines and that they will vary, but when i think about 20-30 somethings here in my southwest context, i am not seeing an interest and enthusiasm in financially supporting and sustaining such communities with full time paid church staff. this doesn't mean that there won't continue to be churches who have people willing to pay their pastors, but i believe there is a decline happening, with attached suspicion toward this whole venture.


Pastor Doug said...

So do you perceive what you are doing as a church plant? If you do, I'd like to chat with you a bit. We have many churches in this town, even some new church plants that are "just another church."

What you are proposing is different and I think would be worth planting well, planting it right.

let me know.

dave said...

yea, this is different than anything in town. this is different for many reasons. have you checked out the flagstaff abbey ning site i created? you can get to it by clicking on the right above to go to the link. you'll find a lot of information there and some papers i've put together about this community. this is not a corporate market driven community. you should look at some of our community values too that we put together last summer. this is a postdenominational community, which means we aren't non-denom, rather we celebrate the differences and allow them all to co-exist at the table. this is an exercise in loving and radical hospitality.