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The problem

December 1, 2009

I am still working out the problem statement for my dissertation and a book I intend to write. Julie Gross is forcing me to put it down in what Anne Lamont calls a “shitty first draft” format. Those are not typically shared. I, however, have nothing to lose by sharing my s-f-d and everything to gain by others feedback so here goes…

The problem: there has been no consistent means of spiritual transformation and leadership formation in the Brownhouse or other attempts at discipleship in a community house context in years past at Vineyard Central. Furthermore as people would come to live with us for training (we offered a free one year internship in local church based, urban ministry) they would often not clearly know what they were getting into which made room for a lot of wrong assumptions and false expectations. In short there was no orientation to what our life, ministry, and expectations were. Lastly when we tried to birth new communities it felt like we were constantly reinventing the wheel and starting from scratch rather than following a clear model or design that had already been proven. We lacked a template for replication.

After studying monastic movements and religious orders it became apparent that the ones that survived and thrived had a written document (Benedictine rule or Jesuit constitutions etc) that not only informed and oriented prospective members before they joined but guided each individual’s formation and development and also  provided a template for establishing future communities.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2009 12:37 pm

    i really like this…one of the things that i love about this sort of managed expectation is that once in place, the community kind of “live’s outloud” and witnesses to what the guiding orientation and underlying essence; this makes it easier for those interested in joining or observing to do just that…one question that i’m sure you have wrestled with/are wrestling with has to do with the tension inherent in replication: the incarnational aspect. how are you understanding “essence”? are you seeking to make plain what is incarnational about norwood and VC and what the essence is as you consider the template-aspect and how establishing future communities can connect and plant the “essence” – the seed so-to-speak – and have this template grow in different soil incarnationally?

  2. December 1, 2009 12:54 pm

    Very well stated. Some sort of rule/trellis/practice that everyone agrees to live with reference to solves a lot of potential problems. Ours is extremely minimal, but it’s saved our asses more than once in only 4 years.

  3. December 2, 2009 8:35 pm

    Thanks for posting, Kevin. I sent my comments to your personal email, not because they were too intimate but because the were too long.

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