Some events in our lives are nodal – The birth of a child, marriage, death of a loved one,gaduating from school.
Each year Off The Map hosts an event- also called a conference and for some reason I think this years will prove to be a nodal event for many people who come.
Over the next couple of months I will be featuring on this blog the people who will be coming to the Revolution Conference.
I will intro this with a longer piece titled Why You Need To Be At The Revolution
Why You Need to be at The Revolution
As I see it, electricity is far and away the most significant invention/discovery in human history.
Like most significant ideas – electricity was known but not utilized until someone figured out how to harness or we might say “package” it. It was there but it was dormant. Eventually someone who needed for it to “work” in a practical way, someone who was tired of matches, candles and the inevitable fire created the light bulb.
Thomas Edison harnessed electricity by bringing together opposites – positive and negative poles. This creation shed light, power and energy across decades and generations. Look around you. If you live in a city or even a farm, virtually everything you can see or touch has been touched by electricity.
Innovation lies at the intersection of opposites
All Change begins with an idea. Ideas are crucial. Gandhi had an idea- get the British to “quit India” peacefully. Martin Luther King had an idea – “I have a Dream… where men are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.
These men had to bring together groups with different agendas and motives. They had to create dialog in the midst of difference and they had to do it without abandoning their core values.
Off The Map has an idea
We want the church to be relevant. We want onlookers to once again associate the church with Jesus instead of “Jesus Yes- Church No”. We want to help Christians be normal.
In order to do this we need to bring together serious Jesus followers – thinker/practitioners – from a wide variety of backgrounds who can help us see and mostly feel what this kind of church might look like.
Like all movements in their early stages these kinds of people identify themselves by a variety of titles. Some are called missionalists, some emerging and some revolutionaries. It all depends who you ask. Some try and avoid titles and leave it up to their enemies to name them – like the Quakers and Shakers.
You Say You Want A Revolution
Like electricity this church already exists its but lies dormant. Every year Off The Map gathers for a couple of days to consider, reflect, celebrate and learn what this new kind of Church might look like. We bring together people from opposite poles to think together and expose each other to the practices they find most effective in connecting with the onlookers – the people Jesus misses most.
This year we’ve invited Brian McLaren who is perhaps the kindest revolutionary thinker you will ever hear. We invite Brian not because he is smart (he is) or controversial (he is) but because he is kind. Anyone can be provocative but doing it without being mean, small minded, defensive or petty- that’s a whole different skill. if you want to learn how to do that you need to come to the Revolution and watch Brian work.
We are honored as well to have George Barna present at this year’s event. In fact the conference title was inspired by the name of his recent book – Revolution (with a little help from the Beatles as well). I have had the pleasure of working closely with George this past year and my respect for him grows deeper every time we meet. If you are unfamiliar with his work, he is the George Gallup of the Evangelical church. More than anyone else George can tell us specifically what the condition of the church is in our culture and why he thinks we need a revolution. It is a rare opportunity to get to hear George so you won’t want to miss him.
These two men represent very different poles of the church. Brian is without question the elder statesman of the latest trend in church –the emerging church movement. He is held in high esteem by young leaders for speaking the truth about the church and giving innovative direction for the future.
George has been the trusted guide for thousands of pastors as he has given them feedback about the direction (or misdirection) of the church in American culture. He has been the conscience of mainstream evangelicalism for the past twenty years. He is not an emerging guy. He is a conservative, passionate follower of Jesus.
The Conversation –Jim Henderson’s unique interview will bring George and Brian together on the same stage for a public conversation on how we can make the church a better place. Jim will also invite a number of young leaders to engage with these men as well.
Sundance for Christians
The Sundance film festival was the first film festival to focus on the lesser known but not less talented filmmakers in our culture. They started the independent film festival (indies) movement of which there are hundreds today.
Off The Map is Sundance for Christians. We feature not only well known people like McLaren and Barna but also the “indies”, the people who are not yet famous but whose ideas and practices need much wider exposure. These people are all over (and off) the map when it comes to their theological orientation but they are all passionate and heartfelt followers of Jesus.
People like Sunil Sardar from India who is leading the charge to end the 3000 year old caste system
People like Nancy Murphy – a leading advocate for the powerless and the invisible here and around the world.
People like Bruce Logue, a fifty nine year old church planter who is developing his church one conversation at a time
People like Dave Richards – by day a high tech entrepreneur and by night (and day) a leading proponent for the micro finance movement
People like Helen Mildenhall – once a Christian insider now almost an atheist (but still vitally interested in Jesus)
People like Spencer Burke – founder of the ooze.com – the cyber center of the emergent conversation.
People like 3 Lost people who will tell us what the Church, Christianity and you and I look like through their lens – fasten your seatbelts
People like Jason Clark, Mike Howerton, Chris Marshall. Jason Evans and Kevin Rains all young innovative church planter/thinkers
People like MaryKate Morse – a pacifist professor who is passionate about keeping spiritual formation grounded in reality
People like Christine Wicker – journalist, author and ex fundamentalist
Many people have told us that Off The Map is the very best conference they have ever been to. The secret is not the speakers. The secret is that we have more fun than you can imagine. Our 75 volunteers look forward to this event each year. They love being interested in others. They love asking people questions about themselves and most of all they love introducing people to each other. If you come to Off The Map alone you won’t leave without several new friends. Stand in one place too long and someone is bound to approach you and ask you “What’s your excuse for being here”.
You’ll meet people you would most likely never run into anywhere else and the most amazing thing happens. – you end up liking people you didn’t think you would like. And as we say “When people like each other – the rules change” And when the rules change anything can happen – We might even discover a way to harness all the electricity that is bound up inside the church and help release it to make the church and the world a better place.
August 30th, 2006 · 43 Comments
Categories: Doable Evangelism