Contextualizing Not Franchising

Mosaix 2013
Mosaix 2013

On the way to the Orange County airport this morning the van driver, a member of the church that hosted the conference, asked what stood out to me about the Mosaix Multi-Ethnic Church Conference. I’m working on a short article recapping the conference for Leadership Journal  so I’ll save most of my reflections but there was one theme that I found especially refreshing. I don’t go to many Christian or church leadership conferences but I’ve been to enough over the years to notice at least one commonality. These conferences tend to elevate certain models and systems that have worked (at least by someone’s definition of success) and offer them up as templates that others can apply to their ministry settings. This kind of thing drives me nuts as it almost completely ignores the many, many contextual factors that ought to be considered when deciding how to go about ministry.

The many speakers, preachers, and presenters at Mosaix 2013 mostly avoided this sort of one-size-fits-all approach to the ministries of our churches. Instead we heard good theology which underpins the multi-ethnic movement and good sociology and social science that illuminated some of the challenges facing those of us within multi-ethnic churches.  I can’t tell you how refreshing this was! It’s as if most of us shared the assumption that our churches and ministries need to look different from each other- that cultures, neighborhoods, and history all matter. The franchising of American Christianity was hard to spot at Mosaix and it made me exceedingly hopeful.

 

Mosaix 2013

Multi-ethnic Church Conference

This week I’ll be at the Mosaix 2013 conference in California. As the pastor of a multi church, there aren’t a lot of conferences where I can show up and assume that folks share my commitment to multi ethnic (racial, cultural) ministry. Mosaix 2013 will be that kind of a conference. I’ll be wearing a few different hats while at the conference. Primarily I’ll be there as a learner, looking for good theology and methodology that will benefit New Community Covenant Church. I will also be there in my role as Director of Church Planting for the Central Conference of my denomination. I’ll be paying attention to church planting trends and noticing the different ways church planters talk and think about diverse community. (We don’t all think the same way!) Finally, I get to spend some time representing my friends at Leadership Journal. I’ll write an article about the conference for them and connect with some of the speakers on their behalf.

There will be a lot of folks at the conference who have been long-distance teachers and mentors to me: Paul Louis Metzger, Christena Cleveland (whose blog you should follow and whose new book is quite good- I’ll post a review soon), Soong-Chan Rah, and many others. I’m glad for the chance to continuing learning from these women and men.

Will you be at the conference?