Welcome to the wilderness. Churches didn’t ask to be here. Our navigational devices don’t work. Trends and disruptions we thought were decades off are now on the doorstep. And despite all the talk of reopening church buildings, we aren’t going back to “normal” any time soon. What is God up to here, and what are the holy possibilities, adaptations and challenges we could embrace together? Join Stephanie Spellers, Dwight Zscheile and special guests for a limited digital series that combines Zoom webinar, Facebook Live chat, and podcast to engage the big questions today’s wilderness church must face.
Session Five: In the Face of Death
We shudder in the face of death and loss. How might we lean into the mystery of Christian faith and discover where God is moving … even when it looks like the end?
It’s utterly human to run from death and loss, whether our own death or others, the loss of a community or a tradition. That may be part of why the Christian story is so countercultural: Jesus suffered, died, rose and promised the same resurrection life for us. In a society and culture that want to banish death, how might we follow Jesus in reframing the experiences of death that are so much a part of life? With guest Rolf Jacobson, Professor of Old Testament and the Alvin Rogness Chair in Scripture, Theology and Ministry at Luther Seminary.
Session Four: The Gospel in the Neighborhood
We don’t know how to share and receive the gospel with neighbors who might be discovering God for themselves. How might we speak authentically of faith and listen for God’s voice in surprising people and places?
The COVID pandemic has pushed churches beyond comfort and opened up new relationships with our neighbors online and in person. Many churches are surprised to discover just how few people are familiar with our insider-language. Many others find the real test is learning to listen deeply to our neighbors and not just talk at them. How do we build the bridge and trust that God’s voice shows up in people and places we least expect … including in us? With guests Nancy Frausto, associate rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach, CA, and evangelism consultant to The Episcopal Church; and Stephanie Williams, co-lead pastor of Mill City Church in Minneapolis.
Session Two: The Church Scattered
We know how to go to church (i.e., the building), but we struggle to be the church (i.e., the people of God on the move). How might we rethink church as a network of distributed communities living Jesus’s Way of Love?
We’ve focused “being church” on gathering in consecrated buildings for rituals led by consecrated people. Now that is disrupted--and will likely be so for some time. What does it mean for the church to be dispersed across our cities, towns, and villages in local neighborhoods and homes? How can we equip and empower people to be church in their homes, local places and daily lives? What might we learn about how to rethink church as a network of distributed micro-communities living Jesus’s Way of Love in relationship with their neighbors? With guests Michael Beck, director of re-missioning for Fresh Expressions US and co-pastor of Wildwood United Methodist Church in Wildwood Florida, and Katie Nakamura Rengers, staff officer for church planting, The Episcopal Church, and former vicar of The Abbey in Birmingham, Alabama.
Welcome to the Wilderness
We don’t know how to embrace the wilderness—its uncertainty, suffering, and loss. How might we follow our biblical forebears and trust God’s lead?
The current pandemic is a disorienting and disruptive experience for the church and world. We find ourselves having to navigate unfamiliar terrain without a clear map. There is widespread suffering, loss, and scarcity. Like the people of Israel in its wilderness sojourn, we must learn how to trust and be led by God anew. This episode will explore the biblical wilderness narratives as a framework for the present situation and explore what it means to experience disruption and deliverance through the agency of God. With guest Dr. Michael Chan, assistant professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.