The second day of Ministers' School 2010 is in the books, and I'm really happy! I think it is going very well, and I hope people are getting as much out of it as I am. Here are some highlights.
- How Methodist are we? Are we all about the form of religion and not the power of the Gospel?
- Is the UMC more like the old Church of England in Wesley's day or the Methodist movement that he started?
- Wesley preached a sermon called "The Almost Christian" - are we even almost Christians? Maybe we're more like "Not Even Close Christians."
- People are able to get excited about things, just not about Christ.
- If we had followed Wesleyan principles on money over the past fifteen years, we would not be in the dire financial shape we are now as a society.
- We need to reach people who are not in the church and allow "them" to change "us."
- Organizational decline is the result of arrogant neglect.
- Evangelism is comprised of more than just things a committee can vote on.
- How can clergy get outside of the church in intentional ways, taking initiative to be active in the community in ways that bring us into contact with many people?
- Who are the "doorway people" of the congregation - people who really get it when it comes to living invitationally?
- "...it's not 'holy' in some spooky way..."
- An important part of a pastor's role is the power to convene - bring people together and equip them for ministry.
- The institutional layer is important, but the relational layer underneath it all is the most important thing - it's about people, not policies.
- "And my next two points were important, too."
In the afternoon, the Methodist connection was alive in our conference room. 15 ministers from around the state scattered to tables around the room and other participants moved from table to table, hearing about a ministry idea. We called the session "Hey! That's a great idea!" It was kind of like speed dating except about ministry. :) I facilitated the event, so I got to sit in the midst of it all and listen to the excited bubble of ideas floating around. It was pretty cool!
Then we had smaller workshops we called "Skill Sets" where five different Missouri ministers gave their thoughts about sharing Christ in particular settings. We had sharing Christ .,,
...in a hospital room (led by Sally Schwab).
...in preaching (led by Emmanuel Cleaver III).
...in conflict resolution (led by Melissa Bailey-Kirk).
...with soldiers and their families (led by Scott Moon).
...with strangers you hope will become friends (led by Shawn Franssens).
I got a chance to hear three of them, and it was great! The presenters did each workshop twice in a row, so participants could pick two of the five. Thank you, thank you, thank YOU!!! to all of the presenters, the five "Skill Set" presenters and the fifteen "Great Idea" presenters. You all were awesome!
We had quite a bit of the "Wednesday afternoon trickle" this year. That's the perenniel situation in which about one-third of the participants sort of "trickle" away. They skip out and do other things. Lots of people have work that they brought or writing to do, or reading. Lots of people just take the chance to rest. Some go shopping. It's cool. we had 160 people here this year, and I counted about 110 present this afternoon.
So we are just one Thursday morning away from being done for this year. I really hope that people are going to be taking a lot of good stuff home with them. The feedback I've gotten so far has been really good.
Many I've spoken with are very disappointed that we are taking a year off in 2011. But I'm excited about the possibility of what this event might become in the future. There are some really cool, young people on the board of managers right now and they are so creative and willing to try anything! It's great.