An invitation to discuss Radical Welcome

From David R.:

I am posting this blog as an invitation to early discussion.

I have just started reading the book Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other, and the Spirit of Transformation by Stephanie Spellers. This is the book Trinity Lutheran church council is using as a “jumping off” point to encourage new growth in God’s life for our church.

Below are some quotes from the book that I want to ponder more deeply:

“Radical Welcome Is . . .
Hospitable • Connected • Centered • Open to conversion • Intentional • Comprehensive • Becoming (an ongoing change) • Beyond diversity • Faithful • Compassionate • Real”

“Radical welcome is not . . .
an invitation to assimilate. • Radical welcome is not feel-good ministry. • Radical welcome is not reverse discrimination. • Radical welcome is not a conventional church growth strategy. • Radical welcome is not political correctness or a haphazard, reactionary throwing out of the baby with the bathwater.”

Already I look at this and then at me, and marvel at the size of transformation in me this change will require.

I like to think God is molding me, and I see the idea of accepting all people to the house of God.

And then I say to myself “Him too, God? That one too? But she hasn’t been… (fill in the blank.) He has never…. (another blank to fill in).” Already I am challenged to stretch, and I am not through the first chapter yet.

Some really early thoughts:
…we cannot do this by ourselves – it won’t work unless the triune God is actively leading us to change.
…we would need a fair amount of prayer and discussion and teaching and “buying in” to get this moving.
…this is not a 6 week, or 6 month, or 2 year journey. I feel there is a degree of inertia in our congregation that would have to be overcome. Implementing full scale radical welcome will require more than a passing interest in the idea (see “buying in” above).
…there may even be the danger of losing existing members along the way if we pursue this. If we could lose members over the “pipe organ or not” debate of the past, a full-scale change like this proposal could potentially cause more members to go elsewhere.
…our focus will need to change from the everyday concerns to “how does (fill in the blank) action advance God’s Kingdom in the areas Trinity Lutheran is accountable for?”

I invite you to obtain the book on your own (less than $10 through Amazon Kindle) or to leave your name with the church office to borrow a copy. Then drop your thoughts and comments on this blog as you read or re-read the book.

David Rust

From the editor: You may also be interested in Hannah’s article about the book Radical Welcome: “What’s so radical about welcoming people to church?”

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2 Comments

  1. Check out Natural Church Development. It offers congregations a process to make these kinds of changes and much more.

    Reply
    • Andrea

       /  Saturday May 4th, 2013

      Hi Tim:
      Thanks for this suggestion! We actually are combining our Natural Church Development efforts with this focus on Radical Welcome. You could say it grew out of our NCD work. –Andrea (moderator)

      Reply

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