Your response to Session 3?



So, how'd you do with that last session? While it was uncomfortable at times, I think it's really healthy that we went after some very complex issues and didn't wrap it neatly with "three steps to a brighter future" at the end! Instead, we were really wrestling with these issues as we enter into a post-Christian era.

In brainstorming this session several months ago, we grappled for several hours on whether the drama scene would work without the context of an entire service dedicated to exploring homosexuality. During the Willow service when the scene was first used, Gene did a masterful job of expressing a clear Biblical worldview on the issue; if you are struggling with how the Church should respond to this issue, I'd encourage you to download Gene's message as another avenue to explore the topic.
Ultimately, we landed on using the scene in the conference because of its raw honesty, the profound way that it moved us and the picture it painted of two people struggling with this issue....it took homosexuality out of the realm of statistics, labels and stereotypes and into the messiness of everyday life and relationships.

The rest of the session continued in that same vein: moving away from platitudes and easy answers and into wrestling with truth. For example, I resonated with the whole "Christian subculture bubble" that Dan talked about...the church plant we were a part of in Orlando really grappled with that: how do you clearly define the line between cultural traditions and biblical truth? I know in my background, there wasn't always a clear distinction between stylistic choices and a sound theology of worship.

I loved Efrem's emphasis on knowing who we are naturally as well as supernaturally, leading into the turn at the end of the session to discuss being the Church outside the walls...as David put it, not just being attractional but also missional in nature. And Brian solidified that thought for me with his comment: every week, people in the church should get fired up to love the world more.

What was your take-away from the various speakers? Hopefully, it led to lots of animated discussions around the dinner table. What stands out?

15 comments:

ragu said...

I am glad you cleared up some confusion for us...many I talked to thought the drama didn't do it for them and was just out there. I am sure with a full service geared toward this topic, including a clarifying message, it made more sense. Personally, I think this session didn't hit it. Dan and the emerging church was awesome. The "bubble" exists and that really hit me hard, the drama distracted my thoughts somewhat. Finally, the panel did not live up to the billing.

Anonymous said...

I loved Dan's talk, but felt like the panel didn't address the issues that he brought up. As a 21 year old worship leader working with the kinds of people he talked about, I was very much looking forward to more conversation about practical ways to reach this people... I guess I just felt like the panel ended up proving his point... it was a completely introverted conversation.

Anonymous said...

I think the other comments are exactly what I am also feeling.

I thought that Dan was excellent and his message was incredibly intriguing and it seemed he knew exactly what I am experiencing in my world. I wish he talked longer.


But the panel didn't then help us know what to do with what Dan said. I wish it was more Dan, less panel and more what do we do next.

Thank you for all you are doing, and I know you are trying!

Anonymous said...

i agree with the other comments regarding the panel. the drama brought up some important issues that i feel needed to be addressed. i have a sister who is a homosexual and absolutely love her and consider her one of my best friends. i wish more would have been talked about as to how the church should respond and felt that point went unaswered. as far as the comments made on worship, ie needing to be multicultural and such, we need to stay focused that worship is first and foremost to please God not us and if that point is remembered much of the conversation between panelists is irrelevant. thanks for the great conference!

MilePost13 said...

I had been looking forward to this session, knowing who Dan is and what he's doing, and being in the middle of planning an event to reach and build relationships with the emerging generation. Dan did not dissapoint, and I'm going to be buying a few of his books while I'm here.

But, the panel totally dropped the ball...discussing issues that I and other church leaders have been beating like a dea horse for the past decade...Dan presented too much good material. I was especially dissapointed that Nancy Beach, instead of being a true moderator and keeping the discussion on topic, actually encouraged and pushed the beating to continue...apparently, I'm not alone in my frustration...

Sarah said...

I agree as well. Dan was fabulous as usual, but I felt the panel needed to be focused on the topic of the session. I loved the multi-ethic, multi-generational talk going on in the panel, as it needs to be discussed...but...it should have been a break out session where people could go indepth with the concepts. Anyway, thanks Dan and great job conveying these changes going on.

Ray Pelletier said...

Hey MilePost13 and others, this is Ray from Willow. Your comments are exactly the kind of honest interaction we were hoping for. It's painful to hear, but we are a growing community learning along with everyone else. Thanks to all the commenters for "keeping it real".

After my thoughts here, I'll post part of Nancy's reflections on the service from her blog post last night. I think she "gets" what was imperfect about the panel, but sees the session as part of an ongoing conversation and not the whole ball of wax.

One cool thing about the Online Experience is that after each session, we asked the speakers to answer a question or two from the comments on the blog or to just share what they would have if they had a few moments more. We'll post Dan, Sally, & Shauna's videos tonight & tomorrow and the rest of the panel next week. I think they do an awesome job of getting to some of what felt like it was missing. I would go to a whole conference of just listening to these great leaders talk and process some of there where we go from here questions.

As we at the WCA keep learning & growing, we want to meet your deepest needs as a leader and not just almost hit it. So I'm wondering...

What lingering questions do you feel like were left on the table AND can we talk about them here a little bit? In your ministry context, what do you most need help in processing, re-imagining, or just moving forward? Where are you wrestling the most?

Ray Pelletier said...

Nancy's reflections from her Blog Post last night...

The biggest risk of the day was the panel discussion and drama in session 3. I came away mostly wishing I was a more gifted moderator, and wishing we could have dug deeper into some of the issues we raised. But I’m thankful for what we were able to hear from Efrem, Sally, Shauna, Brian, David, and Dan. The concerns raised by Dan Kimball are a wake-up call to the church. I can only hope we contributed in some way to the ongoing conversation that MUST take place if the church is ever going to effectively reach our current culture and reach our redemptive potential. I’m thankful we can honestly wrestle with these difficult issues, and truly hope that church teams are still mulling over what we explored together as they dialogue over meals, in the van/cars, etc.

ragu said...

Ray,
Thanks for your honesty and "keeping it real". In ministry there should always be a discussion after the fact to see what we could do better. If we don't then did we really care in the first place. No question that WCA cares! I am a first time conference goer and can't wait to plan to attend next year.

Last thoughts since you asked...how do we begin by staying in our current church and make the "bubble" more transparent? Not exactly the way I want to compose this question but give it a try and thanks for the week.

MilePost13 said...

Thanks, Ray...I hope you'll invite Dan again and give him more time to speak...

Nate

muggs1 said...

Dan's talk had me on the edge of my seat and I was anxiously awaiting the panel's insight regarding the "bubble" he spoke about. The drama set us up to think we were going to hear a discussion regarding homosexuality in the church or, at least, topics that are difficult to discuss because of the bubble, we as leaders, may be living in. Nancy Beach also asked for questions (sent via email) and not one was answered. I think, had it been a one-on-one with Dan (answering email questions) it would have been a lot easier to follow and would have made this entire session clear. I respected your panel; however, they didn't belong here. As far as your team "wrestling with these issues," please know that I don't believe that was the issue for the audience. I believe the confusion came because we wanted to hear more about these issues and we were led down another path after the drama....I think if you review the tape, you'll see that Dan also believed you got "off track." Thank you for "listening" and being brave enough to hear perspectives. We love Willow and know, that as a church, we would not be here if it weren't for the vision, strength, and encouragement you continue to offer the local churches.

Bethany said...

Question: The video at the end to the song "Unwritten" - is that currently available for purchase on ServiceBuilder - or could it be in the future? It was great.

Bethany said...

Wanted to add a couple comments too:

-If we only got to see 1 Willow creative piece at this conference, I'm glad the drama was the one we got to see. It was so honest and true to both sides of the issue.

-Dan Kimball was great. Would love to hear more from him in the future at the Arts Conference.

-The panel was about what I expected when you get that many people together with something they want to say. Morgenthaler was my least favorite. I appreciated those who were leading in the context of local churches the most (Efrem, David, and Brian).

livingpalm said...

I agree with Bethany that I expected the results to be similar to what they were with that many people on the state. I could have listened to both Dan and the panel for much longer and am thankful for this 'virtual' place to extend the conversation.
Truthfully one of the reasons I made the last minute to attend the conference was when I heard that Sally Morganthalar was added to the panel. For years our church has referenced her book Worship Evangelism in our ministry vision. Then she kind of 'disappeared'. I so respected her thoughts in the Rev article. A comment she made during the panel discussion about the current praise and worship ("Dave Matthews band" approach) being about a decade behind change was such a telling description of the whole christian bubble Dan Kimble spoke of, but I felt like her comment hit dead air and was not picked up again by anyone else on mainstage or in any comments I've heard since. Boy, oh boy, I think that comment should be explored carefully -- INMHO there's a lot of punch to that statement that we ignore at our peril.

Ray Pelletier said...

Hello all, just wanted you to know that we've started (finally) posting the backstage moments with the panel that we recorded right after their session. These are soooooooo helpful! They really address some things that many were wishing to see explored during the session.