Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting it Right

Recently I met with faculty and staff of one of our schools in Canada. Mennonite Church Canada is fortunate to have several schools to educate our children and prepare our leaders.

I had been asked to share what I have been hearing or experiencing in my visits across Canada. So I explained the appeal of Anabaptist principles that I had sensed especially among students and young adults.

"The emphasis on discipleship and community is very attractive," I explained.

The quiet nods of assent indicated the broad agreement to my assessment. Then one of the faculty broke the silence.

"Actually," he said, "I think it is Jesus they are drawn to and the high view of Christ found in Anabaptism fits well with the appeal."

I blinked back across the table. How easy it is to forget the obvious.

I smiled and thanked God for the gentle but important reminder.

"Sorry Jesus," I silently prayed, and quietly promised to get it right.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Items of National Concern

I sipped my coffee and listened intently. This was an important beginning to an important task. I sat across the table from the MP and his Communications Assistant waiting for his insights to my question.

It seems to me that one of the responsibilities of a denomination is be the collective voice to our government. This is a task that no other part of the Church can do. Only the denomination can represent all 225 congregations within 5 Area Churches. So I began with this meeting to try and glean some perspective from one of our MP's.

"What are the concerns of a national scope that you think the church should have a voice in," I asked?

Together, we identified three items of concern that transcend across Canada. These items affect every Area Church and most likely most of our congregations. The three items of national concern are: Aboriginal Relations, Multiculturalism/anti-racism, and Poverty.

I indicated that I was hoping to meet with other MP's as I visit congregations across Canada, and he offered to furnish me with some names and addresses.

It was my first inquiry. One I hope to repeat several more times across the country. It was a good meeting.

Before I left I was also encouraged to offer a positive voice on behalf of the Church. I was invited to remain in dialogue and to offer concerns.

"But we also need to hear when government gets it right," said the MP.

So true.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Facebook Hesitation

I thought I had a wonderful idea. But when I tried to implement it I found it wasn't such a great idea after-all.

I wanted to ask young adults/youth what they liked about the Church and videotape their responses, which I would post on my Facebook page. However finding willing participants was very difficult. Only those who already knew me were willing to be video taped. And some of them were quite hesitant as well.

This could mean: a) youth and young adults do not like the church. b) youth and young adults may like the church but do not want to associated with it in a public forum or c) youth and young adults do not want to be associated with me in any public forum.

Whatever the reason, this experience has caused me to question my understanding of Facebook. It appears to be much more relational than I had realized. Association is still seen as important.

As a church leader, it caused me to appreciate and value more deeply being accepted as a Facebook friend. This association is a gift that must be respected and treated carefully.