A while ago I posted the core values we have been working on... then I posted some thoughts on monastic-missional community based on thoughts from George Lings on the Northumbria community and some reflections on the journeying of Abram... well, processing some of these thoughts has led us to identify what we have called our DNA...
our : dna : that which is central to who we are as a community consists of three elements in relationship : community : pilgrimage : mission/al : we believe that all three are intrinsic : we need to be true community : warts and all : honest with and accountable to each other : we believe that as a community we need to be pilgrims : on a journey with god : in god's world : marking the thin places : the places of encounter (as Abram did) : and moving onward : it is in walking with god that we are missional : joining god in gods mission : mission as an attribute of god not an activity of the church : mission as shalom : reconciliation with god : restoration of community : reversal of oppression and injustice : sacrificial hospitality : so we hold in tension the three aspects of our dna on our individual journeys and together as a community within the wider community :The image represents this three-fold DNA, with the Cross of Brendan in the centre... reminding us of Brendan's inspiration, his setting sail with God, in Christ, into God's wild, chaotic, dangerous and beautiful world. A bit more of our foundational values etc can be found here.
It was really interesting to share these values etc. with others this weekend at ReSource... especially with Roger Ellis (Revelation Church, Chichester) and Mike Pillavachi (Soul Survivor)... Mike made the incredible statement that Soul Survivor was at its most creative, dynamic and missional in its first two years and that as it grew (partly by his own admission by Christians gravitating to it) it lost some of that sense of real community and has become too orientated for on 'super heroes'... on the leadership. He said when asked to reflect on the question of size and community, that they (Soul Survivor) had got the community thing wrong, but by the time they realised it was too late! TBH part of me really wanted to say to him; give it up! Let go of the big if it does not allow you to be the things you want to be; community, committed, missional, participatory etc. perhaps the accommodations made for the increasing size of a community; style of leadership, administration etc. are actually too great... perhaps it is 'better' to stay small ("Tiny" as Mr Jones suggests! BTW be prepared for some very interesting developments to the online presence of the tall skinny one!) and keep to the principles/values rather than adapting the values as the community becomes unmanageable in the way it began.
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