Sunday, January 04, 2009

Needing a New Map

The numbers are in for 2008 giving to Montecito Covenant. We made 92% of the budget goal after years of ending with either a balance or a surplus. I've talked to a number of other pastors who told me if they got within 90% they felt good. 2009 and beyond will require a new map for ministry based on new assumptions and new realities. The map pictured above once worked fairly well for explorers. It is clearly out of date now for the USA. We constantly update our maps today. The church needs some new maps. The question is where to get those new maps. Whose making them? Who understands the new boundaries and contours of our culture and the Body of Christ?
This is not a rant on the traditional church, denomination or organizations. They have been faithful servants for years, decades, and centuries. But the map is changing, or better yet, the old map is not as accurate as it once was. Who are the cartographers? Are they those classically trained or those out in the field? Are they from the the ancient church, the reformation churches, the revivalist communities, the emergent or post-emergent?
The first real maps that we will see emerging in 2009 will be proposed operating budgets that will reflect new, reconfigured priorities. It would be helpful to have someone as astute as Dave Olson analyze what this could look like.


At 8:15 PM , Blogger Kalon L said...

Dear Don-

I am grateful for your open heart and the obvious desire to try to understand your (our) circumstances as framing the context for God speaking to us.

But I admit to finding this all a bit curious, that somehow a significant budget shortfall is the call to a new thinking about ministry and calling. It seems like this should be one of the lesser "guideposts" on our journey, and that there are far better ways of measuring whether our programs (our lives) need changing.

This has been, from my earliest days as a Christian, something of a sorrow, that the church does (generally) a rather poor job of performing reality checks. Does what we are doing really conform with what we say our values are? And why can't we use objective metrics to evaluate this?

So, if a budget shortfall causes us to revisit what we are doing, that's no doubt a good thing. But my point is simply that a dispassionate analysis of this sort should always be part of our trying to be faithful to God.

We so easily deceive ourselves ...

Kalon L

At 9:01 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

I think your later point is more of my sentiment; to revisit what we are doing. Some cultural assumptions creep in under the door over years/decades. It's not so much about the church budget in one year. It's more about the global economy and what it is doing to lives of the most marginal. I will gladly yield to your seniority of experience in the church over varied economies. Is this a unique time in your perspective or something more cyclical?

At 6:55 AM , Anonymous kent said...

WSho gets to draw the map can be critical. Friedmann once spoke on the maps of the new world and how those who drew them altered perceptions to fit the political climate of the day. This is true of churches as well. Does the budget reflect abundance? 90% of a million dollars is a lot of money by anyone's counting. Or do they signal warning of troubled waters ahead? Maps seem to always contain a subjective quality to them

At 2:59 PM , Blogger Dan said...

"post-emergent" already?


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