This week I was in Miami for a few days to attend a meeting of folks who are considering creating a North American Urban Church Planting Network. Here are my highlights from the conversation:
- The attendance was deliberately small. This allowed great interaction with presenters and other participants. The content worked because we were able to tailor it with our questions to our particular needs. I loved that it was a conversation and not just presentations. These guys are asking the same questions I am asking– how do we lead sustainable, multiplicative movements that transform the cities where we live?
- I had a great conversation with Dan Claire, the pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Capital Hill. I really admire his vision to develop young leaders, to create collegial teams, and to keep multiplying churches in the city. I felt proud to be an Anglican with him.
- Appreciated this Tim Keller definition of a ‘city’– a walkable, mixed us, human settlement. A city is a place you can live, work, shop, learn, and be entertained within a 10 minute walk. (TK) I was renewed in my affection for car-light living.
- Got to have dinner with Scott and Meg Kelsey– great to catch up and hear about law school, marriage, and triathlons.
Tim Keller facilitated several of the conversations.
- First he talked about the future of cities– especially in North America.
4 opportunities/potentialities/needs: 1. increased hostility because of culture wars, and fragmentation of political forces 2. more opportunities for justice and mercy 3. surge of young evangelical believers who are interested in culture-making (like the ArtMusicJustice event or the Andy Crouch lecture at Arlington Cinema Draft House 4. a need for new apologetics. Christians are perceived as not good urban neighbors because if they increase, they will pass laws that take away rights.
- The second day, we had a great conversation about the spiritual formation of church planters. TK shared his ‘plan’ to renew his mind, soul, and body with a strong caveat that this is what works for him and we all need to find our own. Highlights:
- Reads 200 pages a week
- Specific parts of his thought life that he daily, numerically tracks.
- prays 3.5x a day [morning, mid-day, evening, with his wife]
- uses BCP psalms in morning and evening and the Mc’Cheyne bible reading plan
- sleep and exercise plan
- eating plan
What I appreciate the most from this is that Tim Keller is legit. The insights and leadership ideas and illustrations– they aren’t luck or genetics or some freak spiritual gift. Tim pursues God in a way that all of us can pursue God– with deliberate, dogged, perseverance. We hear God when we create space to listen. I was re-inspired in my desire to be still before God and to pray.
I’m looking forward to doing that with many of you during Holy Week. See you then! Thanks for letting me get away and be a part of this conversation.