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I’m currently in Seattle, WA – at a training with mission developers.  My focus is on poverty and homelessness.  It’s been an interesting week so far.  A lot of great networking opportunities, hearing about great ministry, and learning some great stuff.

A few things I’m taking away as we move towards wrapping up the training:

  1. There are some great people in ministry.  People who are in mission development are a unique breed of people – very entrepreneurial.  That’s not really a new insight.  But it’s great to be around people like this.  It’s great to be around people who come up with as many ideas for ministry as I do and not think it’s insane.
  2. Even while I’m away, ministry continues to happen – and sometimes there is no escape.  Ok, often, there is no escape.  As I was listening in to a conversation on homelessness and prison ministry, I was busy trying to help a friend find some kind of shelter for a few days.  From three-time zones away.  Technology makes this possible.  Which is incredible and amazing.  And it also is a constant reminder that there is no break for those caught in poverty and homelessness.
  3. We in the church need to have more fun.  We get so wrapped up in our work and so stuck on being serious for worship that all to often we forget to have fun.  Where there is life, there is fun.  There is fun where there is health.  Yes, the institutional church is in decline, but where are the things we can celebrate?  Where are the things we can have fun with?  There’s enough crap in the world to bring people down.
  4. There are plenty of things in the secular world that the church can learn from.  I was in a bar last evening with friends.  This was an incredible place.  More than just a bar.  It was a brewery.  It was packed.  I would estimate there was over 200 people inside.  It was open and movement was easy.  There were large tables, specialty groups (we saw a camera group, a medical group, a Birthday, and more).  Dogs were welcome.  And there was even a kids section.  Games were available for guests – for free.  Bathrooms were even different – one entrance with separate very private individual stalls, with a central hand washing station.  It was packed – did I mention that?  We sat and wondered what church would look like in such a location?  Or if a church took on aspects of this.  What would it look like?  How would it be different?  There was great life in the place, and a sense of openness and welcome.  And it wasn’t forced.  It felt natural.

As we wrap up, I come away with plenty more ideas and enthusiasm.  I look forward to being back home, seeing my family, and trying out the ideas that have been learned.  And seeing what God is up to and how we are creating environments where people will encounter God in unique ways.