Digesting the Mid-Councils Commission Report

March 19, 2012

The Mid-Councils Commission Report came out over the weekend, and I am digesting it. A few brief comments today, and then I will elaborate on some specific areas of importance as the week goes along.

There is much in this report to be very excited about. The topic of missional leadership is dear to my heart, the subject of a class I will be teaching at Fuller Seminary starting next week. As I have been reading the report, there are many sections I think would be excellent conversation starters in the class, “The Missional Church and Its Leadership.”

The paper is well organized, easy to track, and narrative in style. The documentation is excellent. I am impressed with the breadth of reading and research done by the commission. The endnotes are a valuable resource to the church.

While one is tempted to react to the piece in one of many possible ways, I am going to have to let some points sink in. I noticed that a knot grew in my stomach as I read. I am pretty sure this is not because I was being critical of the content, but because I felt the challenge of it. Some doubts rise, some dearly held concepts are validated. Bottom line: it seems quite possible that the adaptive change the commission is promoting will not necessarily be easy for me. In some ways this surprises me, since “they’re talking my language,” but my hesitation in responding too specifically too soon is because I want to be attentive to this challenge without dismissing any part of it too hastily.

One of the most interesting concepts to me was the idea of “theological friendship” (p. 42) as a different approach to the building of trust. The basic idea suggested by Barry Ensign-George is that we might expect trust to grow between us mortals if we each willingly participate in the transformation made possible by conversation about and with God. This is one of the ideas I will unpack in an upcoming post, because trust is a huge issue.

A personal note: My new work schedule is doing a number on me, and I’m fighting off a “bug,” so I have been having trouble keeping up with my commitment to write daily. I would suggest that my readers look to the right-hand column of this post and click on “Subscribe,” to be notified by email when I post. Those emails are very easy to ignore or jettison if need be, but at least you’ll be alerted when I put something up. In the meantime, I am very energized by the comments and the growing readership, and trust that the blog is stimulating not only your thinking but also your faith!

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