Here’s my first “report” on the event. This event was first dreamed up with a group I mentioned here. You’ll recall seeing it develop more here and here. I’ll be doing some more formal article type things and I’ll post them here as well, but this is my unedited responses to date:
1) Someone asked me if this was what I was hoping for. I answered, “when people walked through the door it was more than I was hoping for.” This is to say, who would have thought that a small group of Nazbo’s would have been able to bring others together for encouragement, hope and conversation in this way? I truly believe that this was a hugely important event in the life of the Nazarene church.
2) The first night we spent getting to know one another, sharing stories, etc. Two themes arose… the first, vitally important to our tribe: person after person recounted the Nazarene church as part of their life when they were young and their strong desire to see the Nazarene church be a place where they could continue to worship and minister in this emerging culture. The second theme was that the writings of Brian McLaren have given hope and encouragement to almost everyone somewhere in their journey. [I sent Brian a note thanking him for his faithfulness and how God has worked through his writings – which I was able to see in such a tangible way.]
3) Thursday morning we opened with a few ground rules and opening comments. I’ll try to figure out how to post my pics/powerpoint here for those interested. The title of the opening was “With Arms Wide Open”. Then we spent the rest of the morning in conversations. These were great! We asked people what they wanted to talk about and they responded. We had conversations on things ranging from theology to evangelism to practical how to start a church plant. Very rich conversations, very good people.
4) Thursday afternoon we spent kicking around a “white paper” on Nazarene’s and the emerging culture that a few of us have been working on (MORE TO COME ON THIS, BUT NOT YET). Also very good feedback. By the end of the day all of our brain’s had melted so we went out for some dinner and fun in small groups. Very good day.
5) Friday we spent meeting some of the people in the neighborhood and seeing some of Adsideo’s ministry… this included everything from an educational time with Father Slider the Catholic priest in the commmunity on symbolism in the church, to seeing the coffee house Adsideo is developing, to helping serve with them at the Portland Rescue Mission.
6) Friday night we worshiped together with the folks at Adsideo. This service was powerful in many ways. First, the authentic expression was incredible. Second, the stories. Jim Wicks had folks from the church come up and share their stories. It was so powerful. Tears flowed freely that night to be sure.
7) [no idea why I’m numbering these] Saturday morning we spent some time finishing up conversations and sending folks back into their communities.
8) Overall I loved the inclusiveness of the group towards each other and towards different thoughts, ideas. I also loved the gracious attitude that pervaded all conversations. There was no bashing going on here. This was all done with incredible respect for those who may differ in opinion. The overarching theme of people wanting DESPERATELY to stay connected to the Nazarene church was so hopeful, so encouraging.
9) Finally (for now), I want to thank Jim Wicks and all the wonderful people from Community of Adsideo for their incredible hospitality in hosting us for this event. Thanks for being present, for being open and for being you. Special thanks to the Wicks family; Teddy the handsome; Chad (the dodgeball commish); Chanelle; Rachel; Jen, Jen and Jen; Kacey Ann (love the spoken word!); Brian (love the song); Rick; and a whole bunch of others I’m sure I’m leaving out.