Here are my notes from day 3 of the 2009 Q conference. Overall Q was, again, an amazing experience. I was challenged in a variety of ways, but here are a few specific things I’m thinking about as I return to Denver:
- In what ways am I “privileged,” and how can I leverage that for creative power not for my own benefit.
- What would it look like for a church to pursue community integration and sustainability (social, economic, and environmental)?
- I was awakened to the reality that the existence of nuclear weapons should be morally reprehensible to the world. A world with any nuclear weapons is not safe.
- I need to continue to be reflective with my use of technology to ensure I use it and it doesn’t use me.
- How can I support the arts in Denver, and how can New Denver Church embrace and empower artists within our community?
- How do I embrace counter-cultural living personally, and how can we lead people at New Denver to do the same – to see themselves as shaping culture within their sphere of influence?
Same deal as yesterday – I may come back to edit and add my thoughts, but for now here’s my raw notes.
Dr. Stephen Graves – Ensuring Social Entrepreneurship Success
- Four stages for enterprise development: Concept –> Launch –> Prove –> Scale –> Concept…
- Concept: Language the Dream
- They can come at anytime. Usually it is when we come face to face with a real need.
- This phase is about first capturing the words around the idea.
- We also have to size the dream.
- We then have to monetize the dream. There is no shortage of good ideas, but there is a shortage of people who have figured out how to monetize them.
- Launch: Put Some Resources at Risk
- Launch alert 1: Don’t be impulsive and shallow in the pursuit of your dream.
- Lanch alert 2: Don’t be presmptive and arrogant about your self-contrived plans.
- Prove: Determine if you have something that will endure
- You don’t have to prove everything, just the right things.
- Scale: You don’t always have to expand.
- Think health, not size.
- Add a new multiplier.
- The bigger the vision, the more talent required.
Mike Rusch – The Cobblestone Project
- Began with a question, “In a community where there are a few belivers, is it possible that everyone there could live without need?”
- Ideas birthed: Neighborhood food drive, haircuts for women/kids in shelters, laundry for love
Chris Seay – The Irony of Church Marketing
- Began with a concern that the church had compelled people toward faith with fear for too long.
- We have now replaced motivation of fear with a motivation of consumerism. We have bought into the sin of our culture – greed and consumerism. The air we breathe is consumerism. We need to look around and ask ourselves as the church how we’re contributing. E.g. A church in Houston advertised on cartoon channel that they were giving away a Wii on Sunday.
- Desire is a normal part of reality. The question is what we desire.
- Some churches have gone to sensationalism and played on people’s desire, and it may work temporarily. But in the end it’s a gimmick, and people will see through it.
- “How can it be that we [the church] can utilize marketing, which is at its core much like pornography. It plays on the base desire of people. Marketing is the pornography of consumerism…People want to give their lives and resources to something that matters.”
Heather Larson – Justice in the Suburbs
- What would it look like if all our churches woke up to the issues of compassion and justice? What if everyone in our church, not just a passionate few, woke up and became concerned with the needs in our world?
- Heather began with the Red Cross and became convicted that if she was going to be part of meeting the needs of the world she wanted to do it through the church.
- opening the church for the homeless, Safe Families (program to supplement the foster care system), celebration of hope (focus on need for food and clean water)
- At celebration of hope 14 people committed to buying a solar-powered water system that will provide water for a village for a decade.
- My thoughts/questions:
- What is the long-term impact of symbolic/educational gestures (solidarity diets, events for awareness, etc.)? Does it really help build a culture of compassion?
Gabe Lyons – Being Countercultural
- We are now in the middle of a post-Christendom context. The church has moved to the periphery of culture. Tolerance and embracing all religions is the value of the day.
- Relevance – relating to present-day events or current state of society. Relevance has been the goal of the church the last 10 years. The problem with relevance is that it is a followership mentality. It puts us in the pursuit of culture.
- 1980: Business drives culture, churches take on business principles.
- 1995: Arts, entertainment, and media drive the culture. The church reacts – focusing on media, professional musicians, etc.
- 2010: The social sector drives culture. The church is reacting, pursuing a desire to engage in social needs.
- If we are constantly chasing culture, we will never catch up.
- The alternative to being relevant is to be countercultural. Counterculture – A culture that has ideas and ways of behaving that are consciously and deliverately different from those of society.
- The advantage of being countercultural is it allows us to be authentic to who we are – to be grounded and centered.
- “He who marries the spirit of the age today will be a widower tomorrow.” -William Ralph Inge
- Ways Christians have tried to be countercultural
- Separate and form a subculture. Often we’re not creating anything new, just copying the culture.
- Dissent and condemn culture.
- Being countercultural for the common good. “The church against the world, for the world” – The Hartford Declaration
- Recognize the world’s natural inclination towards decline (Rom 8:21-22).
- The Christian works to restore and renew all things in a world of decline. Wee seek the common good – the most good for all people regardless of race, class or religion.
- Attributes of Christians who are countercultural will focus on:
- Being restorers.
- Being sacrificial.
- Thoughtful about technology adoption.
- Concerned with the public good.
- God-centered transformation.
- Living counterculturally gives people a physical expression of what they long for spiritually.
- Instead of following culture, we move toward the church leading culture. This is what the world longs for – to be made right, to restore what is broke, to experience being fully human, the way God created us to be.
Max Kampelman – The Power of Ought
- The human mind has the power to build or to destroy. Our challenge is to protect ourselves from the power we have created through the understanding and master of the atom.
- Our safety and the safety of all civilizations requires the total elimination of all nuclear weapons. That must remain our national goal.
- It is simple to state what “ought” to be.
- The Declaration of Independence is the shared common set of ideas in America. Yet when it was written not all people enjoyed the rights of the declaration. The ideas set forth there must have seemed idealistic and unrealistic in the face of slavery and the supression of women’s rights. The Declaration of Independence became the “ought” for our country.
- Our current goal should be to establish a common “ought” for the human race. This should include the elimination of nuclear weapons.
- An effort of sanity on our part will communicate to the world that we must all be part of trying to achieve a common peace. This must be what America represents. We have the swords, but we seek a world without swords. We must lead the world into developing a decisive strategy to move from a world that “is” to a world of “ought.”
- “The church must express its commitment to the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God.”
Rick McKinley – Where do we go from here?
- An economy of scarcity is driven by fear and desire.
- “For so many years we’ve tried to meet kingdom needs with empire values.” We run our churches through the values of perform, produce, and be popular. As you use your power to achieve some kingdom value, you wonder why you’re tired.
- In a global recession, has God heard the cries of the oppressed in the world who serves the desires of our consumer culture.
- God’s invitation in the Exodus narrative is to lead Israel out of bondage and into freedom. This is a scary journey. Leaving the imperial values of production, performance, and popularity forces supernatural dependance on God. In Exodus God provides daily through manna.
- We find ourselves leaving the empire, leaving the scarcity and entering into God’s abundance.
- Our story is not about meeting kingdom needs with imperial resources but abandons ourself to God. The world needs Jesus, not another program to fix it.
- The dream moves beyond the invitation and creates a radical new humanity.
- Jesus is alive and in the midst of the community. In that community there is his abundance.
- What would our organizations, our families, look like if our response to the world was, “Silver and gold we do not have, but I give you what we have. I give you Christ.”