Another wonderful weekend

We’ve officially passed the half-way point in our Everything Must Change tour … we had a rich and meaningful time together in San Diego, hosted by the good people at Missiongathering.
Along with Southern Californians, we had people from the Central Coast, Bay Area, and Northern California, plus others from Colorado and Arizona.
At our 7:29 a.m. Saturday breakfast with the local emergent cohorts, we had a fascinating discussion about the size of the gatherings. (We’ve had between about 150 and 325 in each city so far,) Some participants were amazed that this many were coming, and others were a little disappointed that there weren’t thousands present. The discussion has stayed in my mind since Saturday, so for what it’s worth, I’ll share a few thoughts on the subject …

… First, because I believe the issues we’re talking about are so important – global crises, and how Jesus’ good news of the kingdom of God helps us address them – in one sense I want the crowds to be as big as possible. I think everybody needs to be informed, inspired, and involved.
… But at the same time, we’re making a big ask: we’re asking people to devote a Friday night and full day Saturday to a deep and unhurried engagement with issues. If we simply wanted bigger crowds, we could make a much smaller ask. But that would have a smaller impact, we believe, long-term.
… We see these gatherings not simply as communicating a message, but as recruiting and equipping people to be catalysts of an ongoing, growing, transformational conversation. A few people, properly equipped, can have a disproportionate impact over time.
… So I don’t think there is as clear a relationship between big crowds and effective outcomes as people might think. Jesus frequently compared the kingdom of God to a small thing with a big long-term impact – a little yeast in a big lump of bread dough, a little seed in a big field, a little light in a big darkness, a little flock sent out as sheep among wolves who will turn the big upside-down world rightside-up again.
… Which is why I think our gatherings have turned out to be just the right size for what is supposed to happen through us at this time.
… On a personal note, one of the best things for me has been the chance just to hang out, interact, and get to know people, during breaks, over meals, during Q & A sessions, and so on. With gatherings of this size, that kind of interaction works very well.

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