1. The fragmentation of the previous chapter has had a number of very profound and positive impacts [and many tragic and sad ones too] - including the re-empowerment of elders. I met with eldership teams in Durban, East London and Cape town and was delighted by-en-large. There is a new robustness about the teams [with some exceptions]. Their ownership of the well being of the church is tangible. There is no reliance on another corporate anointing. They are defining their theologies. They are far more collaborative in leadership style. The process of eldership decisions seems to be more in a "togetherness" than ever before. It is producing stronger, healthier and maturing teams, yet several of the teams are still very young. Very inspiring.
2. I loved the passion I saw with the priority for "City impact" - especially from my friends Rigby Wallace and Nick Hardy. With a call to being a "community together, on mission, around the gospel to transform our cities", I loved the heart, focus, intentionality and desire to partner with others in the city. Fresh collaborations, including with brothers from other denominations and movements was refreshing and inspiring. Even how we see and use our buildings seems to have been affected by this new vista.
3. Honestly, the generic notion of "the team" rather than the full wonder of 'apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers' has lost the full edge of what each gift brings to the table. Of course, we must not overvalue any one of these gifts over the other - but then neither must we undervalue them either. The apo-gift has a strong 'sent one' factor. Besides whatever else they bring to the table, they certainly do stir Jesus lovers to the horizons beyond. They cannot help themselves. It exists in their gift DNA - they offer a bigger dream, a larger adventure and a lost horizon. The movement then becomes cautious, loses is apo viscosity and quietens down to the palatable, measurable and manageable. This, I am sad to say, was very evident in most of my RSA experience. If the apo and prophet voices are not empowered to operate, the once virile and wild train ride will grind to a slow, boring, repetitive mail train and the Father will need to raise up others to fulfill this necessary role.
Thanks for your comments. Delighted to be back in the USA convo again.