Church In the Wild

“Church in the Wild” |
Rethinking Community &
Becoming a Church for the World

Aka: “PRAXIS: Bridging the Divide”

Format/Length:  
Workshop (2hr–full day, though ideally ½ day)

Synopsis:            
What does it mean to become a “church” that exists for the sake of the world, rather than framing the world as in service of the church? In today’s increasingly secular and anti-institutional context, this often means being a church in the wild. This workshop is an interactive forum to re-imagine how we follow Christ in this post-Christendom context. It’s about becoming a community characterised by wisdom and truthful action as we learn together new ways forward to love the world. Picture a diverse group of participants seeking wisdom to squarely face one question: “How do we faithfully bridge the divide between church and culture?”

The day starts casually: we’ll pray for wisdom and read the beatitudes, that we may keep Jesus’ way at the core. Then we’ll move through a practical theological cycle:

  • Describe what’s going on, at the nexus of church and culture.
  • Interpret why this is going on, drawing from Scriptural, social/scientific, and experiential perspectives.
  • Seek from Scripture wisdom for what should be going on … what is the church; what is culture; and what principles should direct how they relate?
  • Respond with an action plan in our local educational context for more faithful practice.

Your questions and stories are centre-stage. This should be a dynamic half day together, more of a workshop in wisdom and a dialogue among diverse people and less like a lecture. We’re seeking God’s leading for how to love in the midst of brokenness.

On the way through, you’ll spend time squarely facing leading social data around what is happening to faith in Australia (e.g. McCrindle + “Faith and Belief Report“, NCLS and ABS census data), in turn considering what we as the church should and could do about it.

Resources:

  • Handout, Powerpoint Slides, and Detailed Facilitator’s Notes/Process
  • Padlet (live on web + sample summary) capturing a group’s impressions on the nature of the relationship in a local context between church and culture, and where the gap is widest and narrowest
  • Video/Audio of a sample workshop, “Church in the Wild: Bridging Church and Culture”, run by Dr. Dave Benson as part of the Malyon College intensive on Church Planting (January 2018). It follows a practical theological cycle: Video 1/Audio 1 covers what is going on and why, describing and interpreting the gap between church and culture. Video 2/Audio 2 seeks to understand what should be going on, discover the common ground between a diversity of perspectives, and finally change the situation with more faithful practice toward the church being a community of reconciliation in a post-Christendom context. The footage only covers the facilitator’s presentation, largely excluding activity time and group interaction.

  • For a related 1 hour lecture, “(Un)Common Good: Peaceable Dialogue for Partisan Times,” which I delivered for the 2016 Annual Tinsley Lecture, see here (manuscript here). See also the slides for the workshop, “Touring Adolescent Athens” here

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