Annual Consultation on the missional church 2012 

On the Road to Emmaus: Missional Church and Global Media Cultures

The Eighth Annual Consultation on the Missional Church
Nov. 9-10, 2012

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Plenary Presentations

Encountering Strangers on the Road: Transforming the Challenges of Media Estrangement with Missional Leadership
mary hess—Friday, 9:15 a.m.

When the Word became the Gospel in a Cloud era
rex miller—Friday, 11:30 a.m.

History has reached a convergence of forces that are reshaping economies, nations, culture and the church. Each week we read about another casualty to change. Mainline denominations have felt the pain of this transition since the mid-1960s. The church can reclaim its prophetic role and proclaim a transforming gospel by letting go of old wineskins and embracing wineskins designed for a world that lives in the Cloud. This presentation will provide a framework and map for understanding how to reframe our message and traditions without giving up our core identity. It will provide an introduction to “The Millennium Matrix, a manual for reclaiming the past and reframing the future of the church. If you understand the operating code behind this new era you can become a change leader and navigate your organization through the tsunami of forces that are reshaping our world.

Jesus Has So Left the Building: A Digital Missiology
elizabeth drescher—friday, 7 p.m.

Every day, more than 10 million people around the world gather for prayer, consolation, encouragement, inspiration and formation on a Facebook page called Jesus Daily, which has consistently out-ranked the pages of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and other pop culture luminaries as the most engaging locale on Facebook. As 2012 rolled in, Jefferson Bethke’s spoken word video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” was viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube, shared far and wide across the social media world and inspired hundreds of video responses from Christians of all stripes, Jews, Muslims, atheists and more. The newly developed Bible 360 project uses social media to engage Scripture readers and commentators within established and newly developed networks. Are these rapidly emerging digital expressions of faith “missional”? Do they intentionally, actively and meaningfully enable the people of God to more fully discern and participate in the mission of love and justice embodied in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which endures through the Holy Spirit? Or does new media, as Bethke’s video suggested, invite the presentation of faith to a wider public without genuine participation in its practical demands? This presentation will explore the relationship between digital culture, digital ministry and the missional church.

Portraying Emmaus: Hopes Dashed, Eyes Opened and Hearts Warmed
jolyon mitchell—Saturday, 9 a.m.

Discipling on Tape, on Air and online: Media, the Missional Church and the Shift of Christianity to the Global South
Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu—saturday, 11:45 a.m.

There has been much talk about the shift of the demographic center of Christianity from the northern to the southern continents. The factors accounting for this shift are many, including the processes of secularization that have been underway in the West for some considerable while. The shift in Christian presence has occurred at a time when the global church, ironically led by Christianity in the developed world, has gone very sophisticated in the use of media for Christian mission and church life. Churches in the global south, as with everything else that comes from the West, have embraced the use of modern media as important seeing them as divine tools for undertaking Christian mission. This presentation will explore the changing dynamics in the life of the church against the backdrop of the availability of media resources in the non-Western world and what this means for the life of the church in 21st century global mission.

What have we learned?
Gary Simpson and Gregory Walter —SATURDAY, 1:30 P.M.

Professor of Systematic Theology Gary Simpson, Luther Seminary, and Gregory Walter, Associate Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College will draw together the entire consultation, reflecting on the conversations and presentations and helping us to engage the "road to Emmaus" upon which we sojourn.