Kids hearing a story often ask, "so what happens next?"
"So what happens next?" is a question many of us in the PC (USA) are asking. We're realizing that the structure and organization that served us well in mid-twentieth century America are no longer effective in 21st century America. We've accepted the fact that "how we do church" has to change -- but the looming question is, "what changes do we make?"
Brian McLaren visited PC (USA) headquarters in Louisville a week ago and talked about his vision for the church. "Don't bring folks to where you are," he said. "Don't leave them where they are. Go with them to a place neither of you has been."
To me, "go with them" is the key. We need to figure out, with each other, where the church should be going, and, with each other, go to that place together. We need to move beyond polarizing arguments and talk, together, about how to create and sustain a church that proclaims the Gospel effectively in a pluralistic, post-Christian society.
So what happens next? The "Next Event," in fact. The "Next Event" is a conference to be held Feb. 28-March 1 at Second Presbyterian in Indianapolis. This conference is not sponsored by the denomination, or by any advocacy group, or by any other "official" entity. It's being planned and organized entirely by folks who simply want to stimulate and encourage discussion among all of us -- regardless of whether we identify with the Covenant Network, or with the Presbyterian Coalition, or with Presbyterians for Renewal, or with More Light Presbyterians, or if we have no connection at all to any of those groups.
The "Next Event" will consider such issues as: how do we live and work together as a connectional church? How do we engage the gifts of our members in Christ's mission? How do we identify and nurture leadership for the future of the church?
I plan to be there. I encourage everyone who seeks an answer to the question, "so what happens next?" to be there as well. Registration and other information can be found at www.secondchurch.org/next.