A Day of Encouragement for Bay Area Church Planters
A Day of Encouragement for Bay Area Church Planters
As we more fully emerge from a difficult season of life and ministry, we want to encourage and inspire Bay Area Church Planters to continue on in faithful ministry. To that end, we planned a day of fellowship, compelling speakers, and corporate prayer. Stratum also provided an update on the TBC/Stratum grant program and how Bay Area church plants may be able to receive funding for ministry in the future.
We heard from Abe Cho (Senior Director of Training at Redeemer City to City), Cindy Collister (Executive Director at Current Silicon Valley), and Bart Garrett (Lead Pastor at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church and Stratum's Director of Training). We were honored to also have John Ortberg share a message on, "Why NOW is the best time to do ministry in the Bay Area."
Location: The Skywalker Room @ Letterman Digital Arts Center (1 Letterman Drive, San Francisco, CA 94129)
God, the supreme power, uses power to bless and serve. It is tempting to view human power as irredeemably negative—but unwise, because if we do so, no one will admit to having it and both stewardship of power and accountability for power will be undermined. Instead, the truth is that power is a gift, intended to increase creativity and flourishing and to interrupt exploitation and oppression. But how do we handle this gift in light of the evident damage done again and again by those entrusted with power—even and especially those whose journey to power began with the best of intentions?
Andy Crouch is the former executive editor of Christianity Today, and the author of numerous best-selling books including, The Life We Are Looking For and The Tech-Wise Family.
Does Church still matter? Does someone need to attend and participate in a local church to flourish as a Christian? James K.A. Smith answers these questions and joins us for a Q & A following his talk.
Drawing on his books, On the Road with St. Augustine and You Are What You Love, James K.A. Smith shares about how our deepest longings can only be fulfilled in an embodied, local community that practices disciplines in community and in place.
James K. A. Smith is a professor of philosophy at Calvin University and serves as editor in chief of Image journal, a quarterly devoted to “art, mystery, and faith.” Trained as a philosopher with a focus on contemporary French thought, Smith has expanded on that scholarly platform to become an engaged public intellectual and cultural critic. An award-winning author and widely-traveled speaker, he has emerged as a thought leader with a unique gift of translation, building bridges between the academy, society, and the church.
The early Christian movement became known as the Third Way because Christians rejected both accommodation to culture and isolation from culture. Instead, Christians immersed themselves in the culture as followers of Jesus. Christ ushered in this new way of living, which in turn spawned a new moment--new in theology, in story, in authority, in community, in worship, and in behavior. Christian belief was so new, in fact, that it required Christians to develop a process of formation in the Third Way to move new believers from conversion to discipleship, from outsider to insider, from observer to full-fledged member, which produced generation after generation of believers who, established firmly in the faith, were able to grow the movement over a long period of time.
Gerald Sittser specializes in the History of Christianity, Christian Spirituality, and Religion in American Public Life. Currently, he serves half-time as a Professor of theology and half-time as a senior fellow and researcher in the Office of Church Engagement at Whitworth University. He has written nine books, his most recent being Resilient Faith: How the Early Christian "Third Way" Changed the World.
Makoto Fujimura is a leading contemporary artist whose process-driven, refractive “slow art” has been described by David Brooks of New York Times as “a small rebellion against the quickening of time”. As well as being a leading contemporary painter, Fujimura is also an arts advocate, writer, and speaker who is recognized worldwide as a cultural influencer. A Presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003-2009, Fujimura served as an international advocate for the arts, speaking with decision-makers and advising governmental policies on the arts. Fujimura is the author of several books including Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering, Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life, and Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture.
Fujimura also shares an affinity with church planters--artists and makers in their own ways. For this talk and discussion, Makoto shared with us from the themes of his latest book, Art and Faith: A Theology of Making.
Politics have never been more polarized. The “politicization of everything” often leaves us angry, anxious, and grieving. Still in the throes of a Global Pandemic, still submerged in a current of racial trauma, and now feeling grief-stricken, resigned, relieved, ecstatic, elated, ambivalent, apathetic, apoplectic, or some combination of all of these things, well, where do we go from here? What does it mean to be the Church in America at this juncture in history? We need to talk!
Enter Justin Giboney, who has emerged as a faith leader in the public square and political sphere. An attorney and political strategist in Atlanta, Justin is a co-founder and President of the (&) Campaign whose mission is “To educate and organize Christians for civic and cultural engagement that results in better representation, more just and compassionate policies, and a healthier political culture.” He has recently co-authored a book entitled, Compassion and Conviction: A Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement, a book that calls Christians to a faithful witness that is both full of compassion and grounded in conviction.
Church Planting and Church Pastoring in the Bay Area can feel like tilling concrete. Our culture is rapidly secularizing, and in Post-Christian contexts, our faith and our churches are often viewed as problems rather than solutions. We need a companion! We need a co-pastor like St. Augustine to help show us the way. St. Augustine, as prescient today as he was 1600 years ago, has much to say to us about pastoring out of our whole selves and about ministry in secular contexts. Dr. James K.A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy at Calvin University, and the author of several wonderful books including You Are What You Love, How (Not) To Be Secular, and On The Road With St. Augustine, joins us via ZOOM to speak on such matters, and, following his half-hour talk, Stratum founder and director, Nick Parsons, and Director of Training, Bart Garrett, facilitate a conversation with James.
A teaser from St. Augustine’s Confessions:
“Look, you’re here, freeing us from our unhappy wandering, setting us firmly on your track, comforting us and saying, ‘Run the race! I’ll carry you! I’ll carry you clear to the end, and even at the end, I’ll carry you.’”