Well, the Origins conference just ended (although I’ll be attending the Ethos training tomorrow), but instead of giving a session by session overview, I’ll give some overall impressions:
#1 – They aren’t perfect – Mosaic is not a polished community in anything that they do. They use a term that I liked: raw beauty. It fits. They want to let you see the process. It comes off as very authentic.
#2 – They are passionate about the big stuff – They are Nazi’s about their core values and are much looser on the rest. I saw this in every staff member or volunteer I heard or interacted with.
#3 – They are change machines – They have made change part of their culture. Someone told me recently, “The reason you don’t have a lot of old people in your church is because you guys are highly creative and you love change!” That’s true. I love changing things and trying to improve them. When you can’t change things, all the creativity goes Elvis and leaves the building!
#4 – I felt affirmed – Sometimes I think I’m crazy for trying new things, but I connected with Mosaic so much in many of their thoughts on ministry. I love their focus on the arts and media, while holding the scriptures in high regard. Too many churches view it as an either/ or deal. Why can’t we celebrate the arts, use whatever medium to communicate the Gospel message and be taught by the Scriptures.
#5 – Erwin is a monster leader – This guy is the Albert Pujols of leadership! I was blown away by the level of buy-in by his volunteers. I’ve been around church long enough to know who’s faking it. They aren’t! They love the work of God at Mosaic and live it with every breath!
#6 – Erwin’s not mad – One of the things I see with Mega-churches is that they’re mad at Emerging churches because they aren’t liked by Emerging churches. The Emerging guys are upset at mega-churches because they’re big! They say other stuff, but that’s what it comes down to. I love Erwin’s approach to simply rejoice in what God is doing in each community and not get in the middle of it. I have always tried to have a Deuteronomy 10 approach that says not to cut down a tree that’s bearing fruit.
(As an aside, what I do find funny is that while the Emergent-types want to be open and inclusive to everyone, they don’t want to include large churches into this inclusive pow-wow. It’s like, “If you don’t believe in the same God as us, that’s OK. We can learn from each other. But if your church has more than 500 people in it, we don’t like you. I know this is a generalization, but it fits some guys I’ve read. Just a weird observation)
All in all, a great experience! I highly recommend the conference!