I am a homer for Ecclesia Network. I admit it. In a country dominated by large mega conferences for mega church wanna be’s, where traditional denominations are struggling to deal with the big cultural questions, where you’re either a conservative Reformed person or a liberal something or other, where gender women issue is either hierarchicalized or obliterated, I have found myself most comfortable as a pastor in Ecclesia Network. Here we talk. We deal with tough questions (we birthed Missio Alliance for this very reason). No ego’s, no illusions.
I’m not saying it’s perfect. We struggle for diversity. But I can testify to much work and effort and some progress in this regard. And like any place, if you’re brand new, it will take some “presence” among us to get to know us (could it be any other way?). But ecclesia network is an usual place where if you’re willing you can find a place for the support encouragement and comradery for missional church ministry.
Mission is the central theme of the people who gather here. How do we engage and be present in this culture for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom in Jesus Christ? This question drives us. This is yet another reason why I love this place.
At the National Gathering I have met and talked with Dallas Willard, Alan and Deb Hirsch, Don Coleman, Todd Hunter, Jon Perkins (John Perkins’ grandson who took his place when John got ill), Mary Kate Morse, Mike Breen, Bob and Mary Hopkins of Fresh Expressions UK, Darrel Guder. At this year’s National Gathering 2014 we have Scot McKnight, Many Smith, Al Tizon, and William Webb all collaborating on the issues of Scriptural interpretation.
At Ecclesia National Gatherings we really don’t come to hear a group of scheduled performative presentations in a large crowd. It’s only about 150 of us at the most. We sit around and engage theological, cultural and practical questions with theologians and practitioners. We’re not trying to get big, but are seeking to make an impact locally, wherever we may be found.
Ecclesia Network is a unique ministerial family. We are comrades in ministry, learners together, askers of hard theological questions, leaders of congregations into Mission. Evangelical, charismatic, driven by God’s vision for justice and reconciliation of the whole world, realizing the church cannot be led by the Spirit without women in ministry. We’re NOT perfect. But we’re listening.
So, does this place fit who you are? If so, and you (or your church) can afford it, will we see you at this year’s National Gathering 2014?