Original post at http://umonfire.blogspot.com/2013/02/relevance-lead.html
by Anthony Fatta
Wondering what your friends in the Western Jurisdiction were up to last week? Check out Relevance LEAD, and see Anthony's explanation on why it is important!
The Relevance LEAD conference was not your typical best practices, build it and they will come, young adult outreach conference. It was a little more cerebral than that. We know dressing, teaching, and preaching in one particular way is not the answer to reaching more people. Instead of the typical coffeehouse preaching or film-based sermon series, we had workshops that really focused on our development as ministers like: how to be authentically you in ministry, how to affirm lay ministry as equal to ordained ministry, and to be creative even if it means losing our pensions...because, let’s be real, they will not be there anyways.
In terms of social justice, that is what young adults are hungry for. They want to plug into a tradition that has a strong social witness, but not one that has become a rotary club. Needless to say, this conference was a great one to attend. I think the Western Jurisdiction (at least those at this conference) recognizes that church as usual does not work anymore. We need to let the Spirit move us somewhere else. It’s scary, but it’s a lot better than bemoaning a slow, painful decline. The Gospel is a message for all people, but how it’s shared with people needs to be changed! I look forward to being a part of that change.
Anthony Fatta is the Youth Director at Los Gatos UMC in the Bay Area of California and is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt Divinity School.