6:45 p.m. Major internet outage. Here are my notes from the afternoon celebration:
Rev. Dr. Gary Nelson, a Baptist:
1950’s 75% of people thought it was a good idea to go to church.
Less than 10% of urban Canadians now attend
Now, Canadians not mad 80% believe in God but 83% believe in God.
The church needs to reintroduce its self to the community
Luke 19 – Zaccheus
- Jesus is in the crowd, not synagogue (God is a seeking God)
- Jesus knows him by name (Walmart syndrome: greet people at the door, greet at the church)
- Jesus identities with this man.
Are you willing to be in the crowd? We are not to judge what has been.
Differences between Canadian and US? – Context Urban vs. Country – Still a sense to go to church in US, not so much in Canada.
“Borderline Church” – book
How do I challenge people to cross the cultural border?
Faith, unfaith, and other faith intersect – Borders
Don’t change a congregation that you don’t love.
“Missional church conversation occurs with 50 year old white guys.”
2:00 p.m. “What is the lifespan of a church? When should a church die?” – Good question
Question: Where are the young people in ministry? (My public comment: Young people are going into ministry but the future of the traditional M. Div program is changing and seminaries and churches need to know the new changes.)
1:45 p.m. People still flowing in. About 75 in the room now. Glad I found a spot by a power outlet.”What are the current trends and needs in culture that need to be addressed?”
Comment: “Have faith” from the pulpit not working any more.
Comment: Communities are changing with diversity. How are we to change?
Comment: “My church is growing and have young and old.”
Comment: Emerging and missional churches are future. Moderator: How many are a part of an emergent church? A few people raise their hands.
1:30 p.m. Statement of Concern: Envisioning Our Church in the 21st Century. This gathering is an open conversation on declining attendance and income for church budgets, changing societal norms and needs, the struggle to be relevant to younger generations, waning denominational loyalty, and inability to recognize and respond to new opportunities for ministry.
Good mix of young, old, culture, and geography.
Awaiting moderation and comment.
10:30 a.m. The San Juan convention center is new and beautiful. You are greeted with local music. Very festive in here. Great to see many American Baptists. There are few kinks to work out with registration and arrangements. The expo room is open. Check back for more posts. 3:00 p.m. starts off the celebration time. This location is wonderful. Remember to use the hastag on twitter #celebrate11 for updates and interaction with others.
Looking forward to the “The New Normal” event which will feature Dr. Peggy Kendall, associate professor of Communication Studies at Bethel University, and author of Reboot: Refreshing Your Faith in a High Tech World. Dr. Kendall also hosts a website on Technology and Faith (http://pkendall.squarespace.com). Friday morning’s session will feature Dr. Gary Nelson. An urban missiologist, Dr. Nelson is President of Canada’s Tyndale University College and Seminary, former General Secretary of Canadian Baptist Ministries and author of Borderland Churches: a Congregation’s Introduction to Missional Living. Both sessions of “The New Normal” will encourage conversation among Dr. Kendall, Dr. Nelson and those in attendance.