Beyond "God's Plan"

This weekend I'm headed to Montreat Conference Center (aka God's Second Home) to learn, teach and play with the good folks of Trinity Presbyterian Church--Charlotte. Topic is The Improvising God: A New Theology for an Imperfect World. Through conversation, scripture study, video, and some interactive stuff, we're going to move from this:



To this:


Sometimes, the only way to discover who you are or what life you should lead is to do less planning and more living — to burst the double bubble of comfort and convention and just do stuff, even if you don’t know precisely where it’s going to lead, because you don’t know precisely where it’s going to lead.

This might sound risky — and you know what? It is. It’s really risky. But the greater risk is to choose false certainty over genuine ambiguity.

-Daniel Pink, in a commencement address to Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

I'll let you know how it goes.

Read more about the theology of improvisation here. Or join the Facebook group. Or heck, invite me to come lead a workshop or conference for your group! Get in touch.


*Mo-Ranch in the Texas Hill Country is God's True Home.

Agile Church: Beyond the Committee Structure

It's been a long fabulous day at Preacher Camp.

This evening at dinner I was sitting with a friend who is helping coordinate the NEXT Church conference in Dallas in just a few weeks. (Not too late to register! 400+ and counting.) He was fiddling with his phone as we all ate and talked, and I found out he was receiving updates as people have begun registering for workshops. "14 people are registered for your workshop, MaryAnn." A few minutes later: "Now it's up to 20."

The workshop is called "Agile Church" and will be partly about our experience at Tiny Church. When I got there, we had nine elders and eleven committees, many of which were committees of one---or zero. We have moved to something that is messier and still nascent but hopefully more agile. And no committees. We will be reading and working with the agile manifesto, mining this business/software development resource for wisdom in how we do our work as a church community. It's not all directly translatable, but I contend that much of it is.

But I need your help. I also want to talk about other churches that have moved beyond outdated bureaucratic structures into other models that are more effective and life giving.

Do you have ideas to share?

Do you know someone I should be talking to?

Failures and challenges are important to hear about as well. I especially need to hear from folks in larger churches. Are committees the worst structure except for all the others? Or can large churches also move beyond the committee?

Comment here or e-mail me at maryannmcdana at gmail dot com. I'd be grateful, and I know those 20 people (and counting?) will be thankful too.