Comings and Goings is a blog written by Theology, Formation, and Evangelism Director Charles B. "Chip" Hardwick as he travels throughout the church. God is on the move out and about in the world, working to redeem all things in Jesus Christ. As we join this mission, by the power of the Spirit we see God on the move. This blog contains glimpses of how Chip finds this to be true in his comings and goings.
You can follow Chip on twitter (@chiphardwick) or find him on Facebook (Chip Hardwick).
As I mentioned in my last post, I had the opportunity earlier this week to attend a short course at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University called “Leading a Vibrant Faith Community.” Twenty students from the Lutheran, Salvation Army, Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Jewish traditions came together to learn about topics as diverse as change management, negotiations, conflict resolution, strategy, and succession planning from Kellogg’s world-class professors. Rather than trying to summarize my perspectives in only one post, I will be adding a post for each day’s session over the next week or so.
This post gives me a chance to synthesize some of what I have been learning over the past couple of weeks through my travels. I have recently traveled to both the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and the Presbytery of Northern Kansas to facilitate the marriage study published by the Office of Theology and Worship (which is a key part of my ministry area). This study is explicitly designed not to drive participants toward consensus or toward problem solving, but rather toward allowing everyone who participates to hear the others’ points of view, so that they gain empathy and understanding.
Earlier this month I visited St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, to lead an officers retreat, preach, and teach Sunday School. On the first night of the retreat, I helped the officers and staff come to grips with the changes in our culture over the last couple of decades. We discussed the postmodern, post-Christendom, post-Christian, post-denominational nature of our current culture, and the challenges and benefits of these changes to the church.