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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Joy of Prairie Table

This ministry is a true privilege to be a part of, and I wish all my colleagues could have the experiences I do as a missional pastor in a non-traditional new start. I'm not quite sure how I got to this point, but huge amounts of thanks go out to Rev. Chris Alexander for getting the idea going with the Rev. Rueben Duran in Chicago; the efforts put in by Pr. Keith Zeh, sadly moving to a new call in February, but we will always remember him; our former Bishop Duane Danielson and his staff, especially Monroe for his continued work with PTM, and our current Bishop Mark Narum. A whole bunch of people make this ministry possible, and God is truly a generous...if slightly off-center, God.
I mean, who thinks something like this will work? I mean, most "emergent" (whatever that means, see my post from last year about that) congregations are where people are...and Bismarck, although we have people, we also have one church for about every 700 people or so, we're not Charlotte, NC (I think that was one church for every 250 people), but we're not too far away. It's not like we needed another "church," but we do need ministry. (Hence, we're known as Prairie Table MINISTRIES not Prairie Table "Church"). Jane, our erstwhile soup-maker, once asked early on what was my plan for this "school." (To be fair, she works in a school, so she might not have done this intentionally.) But I am thinking Prairie Table is much more like a "school" than a "church" these days. I don't have a lot of trouble at this point with that analogy. (Though I probably will eventually, and we'll get a post about that!!)
It is fun to teach people about the faith, and to try and answer questions...Our Wednesday group will have read the entire Gospel of Matthew by the end of Spring, without skipping one word or verse. It takes about a year to do something like about peoples' dedication! Some folks have only missed a handful of times...WOW! Our Thursday group has spent time learning about the Nicene Creed, and now we're studying the Lord's Prayer. 30-40 (bad weather 20) people a week pondering some of he great symbols of our faith...Amazing.
For me, PTM is more than fun, it is fulfilling, it creates relationships, it makes friends, it shows me the best of our brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ...I guess it is joyful. What pastor wouldn't want that? Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, to those who comment (and to those who think about commenting but don't...I know you're out there!). Thank you for the joy in being on the prairie (both in reality and in cyber-space) with me, and with God.


Anonymous said...

Well I, for one, appreciate this Prairie Table blog.

I am 'churchless', but far from 'Godless'.
Quite the contrary, actually.

Your comments help stretch my mind in various directions--a good thing!, but they center on the love of God and Jesus Christ, our Foundation.

We can each view Christianity and ministry in various ways, and that's ok. I believe there is a little bit of ministry in the everyday things that we do and live. Sometimes we may forget that....but it's there!

Being a Christian doesn't mean one has to worship in a big fancy building. Sometimes, for me, anyway, it is the simple things, the simple moments, that bring it all home to the heart.
That might be through the smile a harried young mother with her arms laden with children and bags as we get the door for her at the store, or by asking a heartfelt "how are you?" to a friend, and taking the time to really listen to how they be there for them, as Christ is for us.

Thank you.....for what you do in His precious name.

letitbe said...

Good going Scott and every one else at PMT. I am a little green because of that whole idea of "school" and "ministry". I think that those 2 things are two of the main needs in the "Church" right now. So keep on "emerging". I' using Living the Questions 2 right now which is getting really good discussion.