Too many random little thought running through my little brain so I will try to keep things useful. For any of my new Pais friends please don’t take anything in a critical nature, these are just my observations and people back home are curious.
I really didn’t know what to expect at all. The only possible expectation I had is that it would be bigger. That isn’t a criticism because I had no real basis for a large gathering either. Pais is still new in the US. It’s still at ground floor here. I actually really like that. I’m hoping that I will be able to contribute to it’s development in the US particularly in the area of the life of the church.
A number of people asked me what I hoped to get out of being at the conference. They were surprised that someone would come all the way from Oregon without really knowing anyone already in it. My answer was that I really don’t know what there would be let alone any particular things I hoped to get out of it. After having read Haverim, listened to the Talmidim audio series twice, watching the Haverim 1 and 2 videos through twice, gone through the various websites a few times, I had some idea of the philosophy of Pais. But I really needed to be around it, to experience it somehow. I guess that’s what I came here for. I do expect to develop some specific questions to ask some specific people. I already have some and hope to have a couple of meetings tomorrow between sessions.
The three days of the conference are built around the three Pais distinctives. It is the simplicity of these distinctives, and how they put into form some things I’ve long thought but could never put together, that has me really attracted to Pais. Each day opens with a keynote session. The rest of the day there are three more sessions. Each session opens with a 20 minute talk related to the distinctive for the day followed by 40 minutes of small group idea generation on ways to demonstrate that distinctive. The idea generation process usually involves some kind of creative dynamic to help.
One thing I should point out is that it is all mostly youth ministry focused at this point. I’m having to take the concepts and keep them in mind for youth because I want to develop that aspect of our church, but I’m primarily interested in carrying things over to whole church body life stuff. The reason it’s mostly youth oriented is because that’s how Pais started, reaching out to kids in schools. But they are working on developing their philosophy to apply to the church and reaching into the business sectors as well. It’s about building the kingdom, the whole kingdom, and nothing but the kingdom. I mentioned that I hope to contribute to Pais. It is specifically in the Pais Collective (the life of the church) that I hope to do so and perhaps see that area be more of a part of future SWAP conferences.
Today’s distinctive was Mission. The statement they use to sum it up is, “Beyond Attraction to Application” I’ve given up on attraction to the point of almost being anti-atractional. What I think I need to do is redirect any attraction energy from what is typical; making the church as an organization look appealing for consumers, and direct it to reflecting what we want to be as a group of people that makes of the church, one incarnation of the local body of Jesus. So much church marketing is directed at Christians. It’s kind of gross really. If we expend any energy and resources in this area I don’t want it to be about promoting programs but people. People need application. That’s what I want our church to be about.
As good as they were, I don’t have any notes from the worship presentations. I’m sure the audio from those (from all the sessions) will be online. I did take some notes during the keynote from Paul Gibbs.
I really like what I’m seeing and hearing. I’m hoping that the meetings I would like to have tomorrow do happen. I think that’s where I’ll get the most out of why I cam here. But no question it’s really cool to be around it all in action, even for this extreme introvert.
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