When I attend a conference I always try to come away with several ideas or concepts that help change my own thinking or that of the institution I am leading. Although I was unable to attend all the sessions of the Q Conference, what I did hear and experience helped me personally and professionally.
So, here are my own takeaways from Q Portlandia 2011:
- We live in an interesting and perhaps increasingly post-Christian age in the West. Rick McKinley reminded us that Christians are called to live in the midst of the culture. It may be more comfortable to form subcultural communities where we reinforce our own understandings of the world, but it is not our calling or mission. We must interact and speak into our culture.
- For many in our culture (including many inside our own congregations), our ancient faith has little to say to the world of the 21st century. The Christian community must be willing to honestly and thoughtfully dialogue about the questions that are most important to the culture of today.
- The church exists to prepare disciples and disciples exist to live out Christ’s calling on their lives in the midst of culture. The Christian university has as its primary mission the task of preparing young (and older) people to clearly understand their gifts and vocational “callings” in order to reflect and live out God’s grace in the culture. George Fox University is a partner with the church in an effort to prepare Christian “culture-makers” for our world.
- Cross-generational relationships are important to our culture. Adult mentors guiding young people are as important today as they were ages ago.
- Christ calls us to humility in our work with the community. When we honestly interact in culture, we learn more about ourselves and our most important theological commitments.
- God created humans to work, and honest work is valuable to the development of the kingdom. In that context, preparing for “work” or career is a vital part of ministry.
- Technology is part of the human creative experience. The answer to “bad” technology is not less but “better” technology.
- Give thanks to the Lord in and through everything; his love endures forever.
Q happens once every year and next year will be in Washington D.C. in late April. In case you are interested in further reading, check out:
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons
A Kingdom Called Desire: Confronted by the Love of the Risen King by Rick McKinley
What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelley
Adventures in Churchland: Discovering the Beautiful Mess Jesus Loves by Dan Kimball
The Fabric of Faithfulness by Steve Garber