• pmc-logoPARTNERSHIP FOR MISSIONAL CHURCHES

    SOUTHERN AFRICA

Wes-Kaap cluster

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UNISA BYEENKOMS 2006

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About us

Written by webmeester on . Posted in About us, PMC

 

 
Administrative
Divine Robertson
Tel: (021) 808-3265
Cell: 
E-mail: dr@sun.ac.za

 

 
Chairman
Andrew Esterhuizen
Tel: (021) 987-4063
Cell: 
E-mail: ajesterhuizen@absamail.co.za

 

   

Etnographical Research
Corrie du Toit
Tel: (021) 880 2992
Cell: 084 602 5492
E-mail: badt@lantic.net

 

   

Project Leader
Frederick Marais
Tel: (021) 808-3265
Cell: 
E-mail: jfm@sun.ac.za
   

Mentor and Presentation
Johan Kotze
Tel: (021) 975-5983
Cell: 
E-mail: jkotze@kingsley.co.za
   

Program Developer
Nico Simpson
Tel: (021) 982-1249
Cell: 
E-mail: nsimpson@lantic.net
   

Switchboard, Receptionist and Bookshop
Sharon Naude
Tel: (021) 808-3381
Cell: 
E-mail: snaude@sun.ac.za
   

LEADING FROM THE MARGINS – PART 1: LEARNING POETRY IN A PROSE FLATTENED WORLD

Written by webmeester on . Posted in PMC Articles

There is an age when one teaches what one knows.

But there follows another when one teaches what one does not know…

It comes, maybe now, the age of another experience: that of unlearning..
(Roland Barthes)

These are times of unparalleled opportunity: times of great unrest
and great risk. These are times of great insecurity where “love is now
mingled with grief” (Galadriel in “The Fellowship of the Ring” by Peter
Jackson.)

The legacy of Constantine and of the Enlightenment gave us a church
of the center, a church allied with the dominant forms of economic,
intellectual, cultural and social life. This dominant text was marked
by compromise. The church made claims to certainty, but also had to
accept responsibility for certitudes in support of the empire. We ended
with compromise, and rationalization of the Gospel that was “worldly
wisdom,” devoid of life and power. Walter Brueggemann comments that

“We all have a hunger for certitude, and the problem is that the
Gospel is not about certitude, it’s about fidelity… fidelity is a
relational category and certitude is a flat, mechanical category. So we
have to acknowledge our thirst for certitude and then recognize that if
you had all the certitudes in the world it would not make the quality
of your life any better because what we must have is fidelity.” [1]

In this postmodern transition we are increasingly suspicious of the
scripting of reality that has been transmitted to us by a church
immersed in culture. We are becoming aware that the most faithful
expressions of faith are not at the center, but at the margins of
society, and that power subverts faithfulness.

We shouldn’t be surprised; it has always been so. When the
scholastics (represented by Anselm) were busy making dogmatic
formulations, the monastics (represented by Bernard of Clarivaux) were
declaring that love was the only path to knowledge. As the late
medieval period witnessed the full marriage of the State/Church, Peter
Waldo, the Lollards, Wycliffe, Francis and Claire, and others arose,
largely as lay movements (i.e. without the stamp of approval of the
Church/State): the Waldensians, the Lollards, the Brothers of the
Common Life and others.

When Luther stopped short of certain reforms, the radical reformers
kept moving. As the “emergent” church of their day, the Anabaptists
arose on the margins, stepping outside the Constantinian/Christendom
web; they relied on many of the insights of the previously mentioned
groups, especially the Brothers of the Common Life. By then the
Enlightenment was on the rise as the Religious Society of Friends came
on the scene in Great Britain.

From the Anabaptists we learn that God’s kingdom is opposed to the
powers of the world. In Resident Aliens, Hauerwas and Willimon state,
“We are not suggesting that all Christians from 313 to 1963 have been
unfaithful…Moreover, we are aware that from 313 to 1963 many Christians
have found ways to dissent from the coercive measures necessary to
ensure social order in the name of Christ. What we are saying is that
in the twilight of that world, we have an opportunity to discover what
has and always is the case – that the church, as those called out by
God, embodies a social alternative that the world cannot on its own
terms know (pg 17ff).” [2]

From the Center to the Margins

What if the highest destination

of any human life

Was not a place that you could reach if

you had to climb

Wasn’t up above like heaven

So no need to fly at all

What if to reach the highest place

you had to fall

“Fall,” by Peter Mayer, from the CD “Million Year Mind”

As ministry decentralizes.. moves to homes, malls, pubs.. the
internet.. fractal networks and reduced structure… and as we move
away from positions and roles and titles to functional leadership, we
are learning to lead from the margins.

Greater numbers of people are providing leadership today because
they are leading from unusual places. They often lack resources and
formal training, but are willing to risk responding to the call of God
in their lives. They often lack the legitimation of established
structures and well-funded organizations, but they have the approval of
God.

While this movement to the margins is outwardly a shift in
position, it is also a shift in the locus of authority. The choice to
abandon worldly status is clearly articulated by Mark Strom in
“Reframing Paul,” as a call to a new social reality:

Academic, congregational and denominational life functions along
clear lines of rank, status and honour. We preach that the gospel has
ended elitism, but we rarely allow the implications to go beyond ideas.
Paul, however, actually stepped down in the world.

Paul urged leaders to imitate his personal example of how the
message of Jesus inverted status…. He refused to show favoritism
towards individuals or ekklesiai. The gospel offered him rights, but he
refused them. Christ was not a means to a career. Yet the agendas and
processes of maintaining and reforming evangelical life and thought
remain the domain of professional scholars and clergy. Their ministry
is their career.

Dying and rising with Christ meant status reversal. In Paul’s case,
he deliberately stepped down in the world. We must not romanticize this
choice. He felt the shame of it amongst his peers and potential
patrons, yet held it as the mark of his sincerity. IVP 2000

Where once leadership was seen to come from the front, from
appointed persons in defined roles, from paid professionals, and from
the few to the many, now leadership often comes from the one walking
beside us. Instead of the Wizard, it is Dorothy who has wisdom. Instead
of Aragorn or Gandalf, it is Frodo whose obedience may be the fulcrum
for change.

The implication is a relocation of authority and the
disentanglement of leadership from authority. We won’t attempt a
definition of leadership; rather I invite you to come along on a
partnership in discovery. We are searching for wisdom from the margins.

“Fresh expressions of the church will come from the margins of
society, where they will radically reshape both our understanding of
the church and the gospel” [3]

As we live out new ways of leading faithful communities,

  • Instead of leading from over, we lead from among.
  • Instead of leading from certainty, we lead by exploration, cooperation and faith.
  • Instead of leading from power, we lead in emptiness depending on Jesus
  • Instead of leading as managers, we lead as mystics and poets,
    “speaking poetry in a prose flattened world” and articulating a common
    future
  • Instead of leading from the center, we lead from the margins.

NOTES:

  1. Brueggemann, Walter. Source Unknown.
  2. Grenz, S. Beyond Foundationalism. Westminster John Knox Press, 2000.
  3. Van Gelder, Craig. “Response to The Haze of Christendom,” ALLELON.ORG, May, 2004
 
 
Article written by Len Hjalmarson ~ 19 April 2006

EXPLORING MISSIONAL AND COMMUNAL CATECHESIS

Written by webmeester on . Posted in PMC Articles

Background to the challenge – why is it important?

Almost everyone acknowledges that the church in North America is
not as it should be. There are many symptoms of this chronic trouble.
They are voiced in comments such as “My children don’t go to church –
where did I go wrong?”, “Why has the church lost its passion and energy
for social witness?” and “How can so many people claim to be Christians
but live no differently than anyone else?”

Allelon in partnership with the Gospel and Our Culture Network has
initiated a conversation for those who care deeply about the church and
who realize that these concerns need to be taken seriously – that it is
not business as usual for the church in North America. It is a
conversation for those who hear the call to learn ways that form
Christians as citizens in the kingdom of God and whose life together
bears witness to God’s purposes and promises (the “missio dei”) in
contemporary cultures.

Shared assumptions

This conversation is grounded in these shared assumptions:

  • Formation in the Way of Christ – catechesis – is not simply a
    matter for each individual but is a crucial communal practice for
    congregations. Our formation in Christ – individually and collectively
    – involves us in practices of learning to pattern our lives and life
    together according to the ways of life in the kingdom of God. This is a
    rich and complex journey of apprenticeship undertaken by novices who
    are prepared to learn the unfamiliar rhythms of a different way of
    life.
  • The church’s formative work takes place in the midst of a
    powerful, though largely unconscious, “catechism” that schools us to be
    entertained consumers who look to technique and technology for our
    salvation. The question before us is not “Will we be indoctrinated?”
    but “Which indoctrination – which outlooks and practices, which
    allegiances and doctrines – will shape us?” Learning to see and hear
    these competing claims for our loyalty and affection is a critical step
    in forming communities whose primary allegiance is to Jesus Christ.
  • We have come to realize that we do not know how to solve the
    catechetical weaknesses and failures that plague the North American
    church. Our current methods of Christian formation are largely
    unexamined and ineffective. These habitual patterns of passing on the
    gospel do not seem to be penetrating the veneer of “culture
    Christianity”.
  • Because these are problems that are shared across ecclesial
    traditions and denominational identities we believe that God’s call to
    the church will also be discerned across these old walls, divides and
    barriers. We notice signs of this call – and an emerging response – in
    parallel movements, networks and conversations among disparate members
    of the Body of Christ.
    We are eager to bring the wisdom of scholars from a variety of
    disciplines – theology, Bible, ethics, sociology, education – into
    conversation with the wisdom of pastors and lay leaders from a
    diversity of congregations and cultural contexts. We want to learn from
    – and with – each other by growing in our awareness of the cultural
    context we inhabit and in our knowledge of exemplary congregations
    whose stories may inform our common journey.
  • We assume that there is much at stake in the subject of our
    conversation. Christian formation lies at the heart of Christian
    witness – both social and personal. In our generation the church we
    know has largely lived off of the capital of Christian formation
    undertaken by our grandparents and great-grandparents. The capacity of
    congregations in the coming generation to generate energy and passion
    for the gospel depends in large part upon this generation’s capacity to
    form its life in accord with the Way of Christ. We believe that this is
    a matter of huge importance. We also believe that we need not take
    ourselves too seriously, that we can learn from our glorious failures
    and that we can lose the struggle in interesting ways because our
    redemption lies in the God we meet in Jesus Christ and not in our
    capacity to save ourselves.

Ways we’re framing the conversation

At this point, we imagine that our conversation together will host at least three chief questions:

  1. How are we being formed in the world?

    “Who Are We? Identities, Dispositions, and the Work of Culture”

    “Whose Are We? Naming the Loyalties and Allegiances of Our Time”

    “What’s At Stake: Formation and Social Justice, Evangelization, and Transformation”

  2. What are we called to as God’s people in the world?

    “The Church as Called and Created: Formation as a Unique Responsibility of the Church”

    “The Shape We’re In: Problems in Christian Formation and their Consequences”

  3. How is the Triune God experimenting among us today?

    “New Directions in Christian Formation: Examples, Experiments and Resources”

    “Where Do We Go From Here? Reflections for Continuing the Journey”

Article supplied by www.allelon.org

BREAKOUT CHURCHES, DISCOVER HOW TO MAKE THE LEAP

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Books

Thom Rainer en sy span het navorsingsmateriaal van 50 000 gemeentes
in die VSA gebruik om die karaktereienskappe te identifiseer wat
gemeentes gehelp het om merkwaardig te groei. Die projek is geïnspireer
deur die boek “Good to great” van Jim Collins. Slegs 13 gemeentes is
geïdentifiseer wat ’n plato of afname beleef het en daarna gegroei het
sonder dat die leierskap verander het.

Die vraag is:”Wat het aanleiding tot die groei gegee?” Hoe het
hulle die sprong gemaak terwyl 90 percent van die vergelykende
gemeentes dit nie kon regkry nie? Die span het die groeipatrone,
geskiedenis en leiers bestudeer om te bepaal wat die groei voorafgegaan
het en wat aanleiding tot die groei gegee het.

Faktore wat na vore gekom het was onder andere:

• ’n nederige, moedige en passievolle leier wat bereid is om stappe
in die geloof te neem wanneer ander nie daarvoor kans sien nie;
• leiers wat daarna strewe om ander toe te rus vir die bediening,

• ’n gemeente wat ’n kultuur van uitnemendheid(excellence) ontwikkel,

• visie word bepaal deur te fokus op die snypunt van die leiers se
passie, die nood van die gemeenskap en die gawes van die gemeente

Die boek verskaf beginsels en voorbeelde hoe leiers hulle gemeentes
kan help om ’n sprong te maak van middelmatigheid na uitnemendheid.