Five keys

Evangelicalism at its best

Stuart Piggin Stuart Piggin gets it.

I bumped into him in Sydney last week and picked up a copy of his history of Australian evangelicalism, Spirit of a Nation.

He contends that true evangelicalism is experiential, Biblicist, and activist. It is concerned with the Spirit, the Word, and the world. It aims to produce right-heartedness (orthokardia), right thinking (orthodoxy), and right action (orthopraxis). It calls for the consecration of heart, head, and hand.

Where these three concerns were held together in synthesis, evangelicalism was strong in itself and made a significant contribution to the shaping of Australian society and culture. But where one was promoted to the neglect of the the other two, or even two at the expense of the third, the movement lacked vitality and was even divided against itself.

His history of Australian evangelicalism is centred around the idea that evangelicalism is best understood, not as a theology, a party, or an ideology, but as a movement concerned with three major elements Spirit, Word and world and where these three synthesised the movement is strong, and when they are separated the movement is weak.

The starfish and the spider

StarfishAnother book I haven't ready yet but it comes highly recommended by Neil Cole, and he should know because Alan Hirsch told him it was great book. Alan didn't tell me because he says I read too much. That's not true. I buy too much but I don't read too much! There is a difference.

This from a review of the book:

After five years of ground-breaking research, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom share some unexpected answers, gripping stories, and a tapestry of unlikely connections. The Starfish and the Spider argues that organizations fall into two categories: traditional “spiders,” which have a rigid hierarchy and top-down leadership, and revolutionary “starfish,” which rely on the power of peer relationships.

The Starfish and the Spider explores what happens when starfish take on spiders (such as the music industry vs. Napster, Kazaa, and the P2P services that followed). It reveals how established companies and institutions, from IBM to Intuit to the US government, are also learning how to incorporate starfish principles to achieve success.

The book explores: * How the Apaches fended off the powerful Spanish army for 200 years * The power of a simple circle * The importance of catalysts who have an uncanny ability to bring people together * How the Internet has become a breeding ground for leaderless organizations * How Alcoholics Anonymous has reached untold millions with only a shared ideology and without a leader

I've ordered my copy. Might even read it.

“The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations” (Ori Brafman, Rod Beckstrom)

Back to the wall

Steve@Work-1

Spent last Saturday working on a stone water feature in the backyard and thinking about the rise and fall of movements. As you do.

I've had the walling bug ever since my mentor Adrian taught me how to lay stone. Since finishing the last project I've been dreaming of a water feature: a fish pond beneath a solid stone wall. Maybe a waterfall effect or perhaps just a small fountain. According to Adrian, the problem with the waterfall idea is that the water hits the cracks between the stone and goes everywhere. Hard to trap it in the pond for recycling. But I digress.

The foundations for the wall go deep. Concrete and steel reinforcing. There's a birch beside the wall (Adrian advised against the location) and the roots play havok. You don't want the wall to move. Rebuilding it would not be pleasant.

The pond is different. Daryl—a mate who builds hospitals—advised me to put the pond in sand with rocks around the edge. That way the pond can flex with any tree roots that come its way. If it moves too much it's pretty easy to pull up and reset. The wall has to be immovable, but the pond has to be flexible.

Now here's the connect with movements.

The key to sustaining a dynamic movement is to know what elements must remain immovable. The culture shifts and you don't budge an inch. Expect ridicule, resistance, persecution. You don't move. Concrete and reinforced steel.

You also must know what elements will need to move. You build in as much flex as you can and every few years you pull them up and lay them down again. No drama, you expected the ground to move. Build it in sand.

Movement leaders have to know the difference. What's a wall and what's a pond? Everything depends on it.

Movements

Back to the wall

Steve@Work-1

Spent last Saturday working on a stone water feature in the backyard and thinking about the rise and fall of movements. As you do.

I've had the walling bug ever since my mentor Adrian taught me how to lay stone. Since finishing the last project I've been dreaming of a water feature: a fish pond beneath a solid stone wall. Maybe a waterfall effect or perhaps just a small fountain. According to Adrian, the problem with the waterfall idea is that the water hits the cracks between the stone and goes everywhere. Hard to trap it in the pond for recycling. But I digress.

The foundations for the wall go deep. Concrete and steel reinforcing. There's a birch beside the wall (Adrian advised against the location) and the roots play havok. You don't want the wall to move. Rebuilding it would not be pleasant.

The pond is different. Daryl—a mate who builds hospitals—advised me to put the pond in sand with rocks around the edge. That way the pond can flex with any tree roots that come its way. If it moves too much it's pretty easy to pull up and reset. The wall has to be immovable, but the pond has to be flexible.

Now here's the connect with movements.

The key to sustaining a dynamic movement is to know what elements must remain immovable. The culture shifts and you don't budge an inch. Expect ridicule, resistance, persecution. You don't move. Concrete and reinforced steel.

You also must know what elements will need to move. You build in as much flex as you can and every few years you pull them up and lay them down again. No drama, you expected the ground to move. Build it in sand.

Movement leaders have to know the difference. What's a wall and what's a pond? Everything depends on it.

Movements

The new faces of Christianity

29Miss.3.184 I spent most of last weekend walking around the gardens of Werribee Park Mansion hand in hand with Michelle.

The rest of the time I spent wondering about the decline of the Catholic church in the West and reading Philip Jenkins new book: The New Faces of Christianity.

The spread of Christianity throughout the developing world has been unprecedented. In Africa between 1900 and 2000, the number of Christians grew from 10 million to 360 million, from 10 percent of the population to 46 percent.

How is this happening? According to Jenkins, at least three factors are at work: 1) the Bible as a living Word from God; 2) a supernatural worldview 3) the adaptation of the faith to the culture of the recipients. They own it.

Jenkins writes:

While missionaries began the process of Christianization, they had little control over how or where that path might lead. As we trace the spread of Christianity across Africa and Asia from the nineteenth century onward, we see the role of grassroots means of diffusing beliefs, through migrants and travelers, across family and social networks. As it passed from community to community, the message was subtly transformed. Missionaries might introduce ideas, but these would only succeed and gain adherents if they appealed to a local audience, if they made sense in local terms. . . . Missionaries could successfully introduce the Christian framework and the texts that supported it, but once they had done so, these beliefs acquired lives of their own.

As Jenkins has shown in his earlier book, Next Christendom, the future of Christian movement is African, Asian and South American.

“The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South” (Philip Jenkins)

Christianity moves southMovements

The new faces of Christianity

29Miss.3.184 I spent most of last weekend walking around the gardens of Werribee Park Mansion hand in hand with Michelle.

The rest of the time I spent wondering about the decline of the Catholic church in the West and reading Philip Jenkins new book: The New Faces of Christianity.

The spread of Christianity throughout the developing world has been unprecedented. In Africa between 1900 and 2000, the number of Christians grew from 10 million to 360 million, from 10 percent of the population to 46 percent.

How is this happening? According to Jenkins, at least three factors are at work: 1) the Bible as a living Word from God; 2) a supernatural worldview 3) the adaptation of the faith to the culture of the recipients. They own it.

Jenkins writes:

While missionaries began the process of Christianization, they had little control over how or where that path might lead. As we trace the spread of Christianity across Africa and Asia from the nineteenth century onward, we see the role of grassroots means of diffusing beliefs, through migrants and travelers, across family and social networks. As it passed from community to community, the message was subtly transformed. Missionaries might introduce ideas, but these would only succeed and gain adherents if they appealed to a local audience, if they made sense in local terms. . . . Missionaries could successfully introduce the Christian framework and the texts that supported it, but once they had done so, these beliefs acquired lives of their own.

As Jenkins has shown in his earlier book, Next Christendom, the future of Christian movement is African, Asian and South American.

“The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South” (Philip Jenkins)

Christianity moves southMovements

Breakfast with John

Sat down with John for breakfast yesterday at Mocha Jo's. He's planting a church. I think it's his second. It's delicately poised at the moment. They've gathered a team and have begun connecting with people in the community. I've planted churches and I've been around planters for a long time. Not everybody makes it through this stage. So I ask John, "How do you feel right now? Nervous?" But no, John hasn't given it a second thought. He just knows he's called to do this. He feels excited.

You wouldn't want to be a church planter without a healthy dose of faith. I guess that's why it's the movements with faith that plant the churches and the denominations with the resources that maintain them.