Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ethos of the Gathering

I have something I would like to share with everyone. It is part of a "manifesto" of a group called The Gathering written 1/18/2006 by David "Trigger" Steinbrenner. As I understand it, it was an attempt by David to explain who The Gathering was as a community. When I read this, I see alot of things that I currently hold as greivances against the church (at least through my experiences with church). Purhaps, these should be nailed to a church door somewhere.
And, not unlike the "What Could Be" posts by Kathy Escobar (http://kathyescobar.com/2008/11/17/what-could-be/) these statements put into words what I can't. I read them and I think...That's what I feel...That's what I believe...That's what I'm looking for...When/Where??? What I also find encouraging is that they are a very good description of the Emergent Desert. Thank you David for writing and sharing:
  1. Honesty and transparency—We believe in the necessity of honesty and transparency on the individual and corporate level of how we function as people and as a body. We do not believe it is healthy to cover up issues or to spin problems so as to make them appear positive simply for the sake of image. The Body of Christ is not a corporation and the church ministries are not consumer products to be pitched. We are a family and all families have problems. Openness to these problems is arguably the best way to bring reconciliation and healing.

  2. Church as Counterculture—We do not see the Church as a refuge from the world, but rather as a different cultural way of living that is counter to and an alternative of the world’s. This means that our faith in Christ should not be one aspect of our lives. Instead it should be the means through which we live our lives and the lens through which we see every aspect of our world.

  3. Embodiment of the Kingdom—We are not an organization that exists to meet needs. We exist to embody the Resurrection power and life of Jesus Christ which will inherently result in needs being met.

  4. Priesthood of all believers—Clergy and laity are equals in Christ’s mission and are to work together in ministry. We believe that the clergy and laity should be united in common ministry and that in some sense that one of clergy’s main roles is to encourage, equip, and support the ministries of the laity.

  5. Community driven ministry—We believe that the ministry of the Gathering should greatly be community driven rather than leader driven. This means that rather than ministries primarily reflecting the vision of a charismatic leader, they should primarily reflect the community’s sense of vision and direction as guided by the Holy Spirit and recognized through general consensus.

  6. Broad understanding of leadership and authority—We believe that leadership and authority in many cases should not be limited to paid staff and paid clergy.

  7. Importance of narrative—We believe that life and theology should be understood not only through propositional truths, but greatly through stories. At the Gathering we focus on communicating God’s story and asking where we fit into it as opposed to asking where He fits into ours.

  8. Relationships over quantification—While we recognize that quantification of many ministry outcomes can at times be important for the sake of accountability in managing time and resources, we do not believe that quantity is always the most important thing in ministry. We do not believe that numeric and monetary growth are intrinsically signs of a healthy church. Numbers and budgets may reflect health at times and at other times not. Fruit in the lives of the clergy and laity determine the answer. We believe that the quality of relationships in our community is more important than the quantification of ministry projects and programs.

  9. Nature of Success—When picking lay people to lead and help make decisions, we do not believe that success should be defined or confined to people that have been successful in the consumer marketplace. We believe that in looking for successful responsible people to lead, we believe that wisdom and consistency of heart and character are extremely important.

1 comment:

Yard said...

These are well put. I believe that we've chased these ideals with and without knowing it. Thanks for sharing Jim.