Dan Kimball is on staff at Vintage Faith Church, a church in Santa Cruz, CA planted in 2004. He is the author of books including They Like Jesus, But Not The Church and the forthcoming Adventures in Churchland. He has joined George Fox University in a part-time capacity as professor of missional leadership and as leader of a new center focused on the future faith of young Americans.
Here are some excerpts from the message he shared at the Organic Outreach Conference:
When Dan first walked into a Christian gathering he noticed lots of pastel colors and the music sounded like commercial jingles. His 2nd experience was very formal with a pastor wearing robes like Hugh Hefner speaking in hushed tones. Not sure why they were supposed to be kneeling at the front and not sure what they were supposed to say when passing the communion cup. Dan’s friend passed the cup saying: “the cup of wonder.” So much of what we do doesn’t make sense to someone who is new!
Principles to apply to be on mission:
1. If we love Jesus , we must love the church despite our messiness. Too often we have unrealistic expectations. Leaders are people too. We need to create space for people to ask questions.
2. We need to listen more than we talk. So much damage has been done in the name of Christianity that we need to regain credibility by listening and serving before we do anything else. Are we asking the young people in our churches if we are communicating in which they can connect? If the church would biblically judge the judgmental Christians then the church wouldn’t be known as judgmental.
3. We can hold the church’s historical view of the Scriptures and not be a fundamentalist or hateful. Do the people we serve understand how to interpret and apply the Scriptures (rather than quoting verses out of context)? We should be teaching about difficult issues proactively.
4. We need to rethink our roles and move from leading a church to leading a community of missionaries. We need to make decisions based on the people not yet connected to our community rather than for what we want.
5. Church leaders need to avoid getting sucked into the Christian sub-culture. When is the last time you spent time with someone who did not believe the same things that you do?