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Monday, October 29, 2007

What's New?

So, people have been telling me I need to get better about sharing some of the cool victories around Westwinds. Here are a couple of recent things:


The common questions anyone has when coming to a church are "how do I get involved?" "what does God want us to do?" "what does God want us to be?" and "how does our church work?". Many churches have a variety of ways in which they strive to answer these questions and we certainly have tried a few things. Small groups never worked for us--for some, yes. On the whole, no. Large programs never produced many results in response to these questions either. Not that either of those are bad, we just felt God calling us to something different.

After months of preparation, discussion, prayer, bantering, etc. We believe God is carving out something for Westwinds unlike anything we have ever seen tried anywhere.

Every two months we are leading our church through a wave of spiritual experiences we are calling “Causemology.” We get together on a Monday evening gathering (called Station XV [taking a cue from the 14 stations of the cross in Catholic theology) where we guide the church through a series of spiritual competencies and habits, disciplines and activities that will help us all better experience God in our daily lives and train us to be more involved in what we have identified as four key areas of Christian spirituality.

Something for your soul (a.k.a. a spiritual discipline)
Something for your relationships (a.k.a. keeping you in community)
Something for your church (a.k.a. serving at Westwinds)
Something for your world (a.k.a. outreach and service, justice and mercy)

Our people then have the opportunity to meet with a coach and discuss many options they will choose to participate in over an 8 week period. We provide them with many options and divide those options by time commitment and proxemics (is it a personal option? An intimate option? A social option? A public option?).

Over the course of a year, our church will have involved itself in a wide cross-section of brand new ways to explore and investigate what it means to be a lover and a follower of Jesus.

Causemology is not a program. It is a new orientation. It is the way we now do things. We are not a church of small groups and programs. We are a church of imagination, permission, authenticity, and community. Causemology is helping our people get elbows deep in the Jesus-life. We are also promoting what we call the “wildcard” option wherein people can choose to do whatever they want in those categories over the 8 weeks if they think all our ideas blow. No problem. They don’t even have to participate. But the ones who are? Man, the stories are encouraging.

Causemolgy is also not a plan to make us busier. It is a tool--a yardstick--a barometer to help us determine how we are spending our time for things that matter in eternity. If you are interested in learning more (I just skimmed the surface) email me or make a comment on this blog.


As part of doing “something for our world” I recently had the opportunity to go to one of the local public schools and do an assembly on music. I brought in a few guitars, a mandolin, a Dobro, a harmonica and a bunch of eye candy for the kids. We sang, wrote songs together, and asked questions about music. It was a hit. So much so . . .

It went through the grapevine. Another local school invited me to come the next week. I did the same assembly for a new group.

Then, I had and idea. We did a county-wide songwriting contest where the kids submitted lyrics to songs and the teachers picked the best song (s) out of their classroom and gave them to me. I wrote music for the songs, brought the band in and the whole Experience team and Westwinds hosted its first ever Music Experience event for the public schools. The energy was incredible as hundreds of kids unloaded from the buses and came in to Westwinds for a concert where we performed all the songs that won the contest. It was amazing. Hands in the air. Clapping, screaming, jumping. And some of the songs were amazing for third graders. Dang! Here is my favorite:

In some place inside you have an open mind
You have a good day and a bad day to leave behind
Someday your dream will come to you
Your imagination will pull you through
So let go of the chains and open your mind
Open the world in you that is wonderful and kind

Every one of those kids then got a tour behind the scenes of the church and got to operate equipment, play instruments, work the lights, explore the studios.

The next week, I got hundreds of thank you notes from kids writing about their experience here.

The following Sunday, I started seeing families show up at Westwinds because of the event that had never stepped foot into a church in Jackson . . . until now. Go God.


Anonymous said...

What an AWESOME idea!