Here’s a quick recap of the major highlights from the missional conversation last week:
- Shane Hipps announced his impending departure from the Mars Hill Church community in Grand Rapids, Michigan (a.k.a., Rob Bell‘s former church). The church’s elders decided to redefine the Teaching Pastor role to preaching 40 Sundays per year (instead of the 25 Sundays Hipps had originally signed on for). Hipps plans to move on once a new Teaching Pastor has been hired. He has two new books in the works and is developing a “leadership development company” that will seek to “unlock the inner life of leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, and activists by helping catalyze their creativity, align people with their deep purpose, and enact their highest potential in the world.”
- I had the privilege of hearing Jim Griffith speak last week, and he mentioned that pastors of large churches (like Mars Hill Grand Rapids) often only preach between 20-30 times in a year, so Mars Hill seems to be going the wrong way on this. Hipps’ friend and former parishioner Zach Lind tweeted, “It will be interesting to see who @marshillorg chooses as a new teaching pastor. I predict a right turn with a more conservative perspective.” We shall see …
- My post on the missional mainline was the most shared post on the blog last week, with a lot of good comments posted, as well. I’d love to see what the numbers for the United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, or other mainline denominations would look like in similar charts. But after speaking with Taylor Burton-Edwards last week (one of the wisest United Methodist friends I have), I’m grateful for his enthusiasm for missional and his reminder that the most exciting statistics are not about decline but about demographic shifts that will be affecting our churches for years to go. His advice: Start learning a second language!
- Kurt Willems has a nice Memorial Day meditation that emphasizes a kingdom theology (with an Anabaptist flavor): “Remember … that radical Christians during the Reformation rediscovered the subversive nature of the kingdom of God. This is a way of enemy love, nonresistance, integrity, and countercultural community.” He also reminds us to remember soldiers returning from war zones with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I would add “moral injury.” I’m grateful for the work of Rita Nakashima Brock and the Soul Repair Project of Brite Divinity School, which will be studying “moral injury” and training faith communities in how to respond. This is some very important work for our time and our place, which will benefit many for years to come.