alternatives for change

On his website,, Kent Anderson has written up the gist of a conversation we had over lunch today.  (We both had deli-meat sandwiches ,by the way… and I bought!)  Kent is a "teacher of preachers" at Northwest Baptist Seminary and the Associated
Canadian Theological Schools (ACTS) of Trinity Western University in
Langley, BC.  I’m honored to say that he is becoming a trusted friend as well (though he has used a nasty photo of my face on his site!).

Kent has agreed to be the primary advisor for my doctoral thesis… which revolves around developing a way for existing churches to be missional in the years ahead.  Said more boringly, I’m trying to develop a strategy for creating alternative expressions within existing local churches that optimizes a united missional effectiveness through generational transition.  Yikes.  I still haven’t yet found the right way to state this project… but Kent has helped articulate many of my wandering ideas on his blog.  Please check it out!  Here’s a sneak peak:

"I had a conversation over lunch with Ken Castor, one of my Doctor of
Ministry students, and a pastor at Brentwood Baptist Church in Calgary,
Alberta. Ken is beginning work on his dissertation project, trying to
think about how to stimulate new directions in an existing, traditional
congregation. His frustration is that many emerging young leaders like
himself have given up on the traditional church, opting instead to
create fresh new expressions of church, in essence writing off these
older churches as unredeemable relics of the modern world.
The problem with this kind of thinking, Ken suggested, was that…"  [more…]


  1. there is something special about a church body which knows its generational roles. i’m no scholar of inter-generational unity, but i do know that each generation has a lot to offer the others, both older and younger.
    at this point in my life i cannot speak for the older generation, but i do desire a connection with them. why? because they are older, often much wiser, and have seen more life than i have. i have a respect for them simply because of their age, but i also desire to honor them through a partnership of inter-generational mission as a church.
    i believe that part of the struggle with “older” generations is that much has been lost in empowering them to leave a lasting legacy with and through younger generations. i find it sad when the opportunity of older generations to invest in younger generations fades because of a fear that passing the torch will only result in a “slippery slope” syndrome whereby the younger generation somehow dumbs down the gospel which they worked so hard to hold onto.
    i think my generation needs to honor and respect the older generations for who they are and what they have to offer before we can encourage and empower them to invest in our lives as a generation who is worthy to have the torch passed to.
    what is difficult is knowing when that torch passing ceremony should take place. there are many “older” people who have so much wisdom and energy but have never been tapped into. on the other hand, there are also many “older” generation persons who are so afraid of passing the torch that they make it almost impossible to have respectful conversations about the matter itself.
    It would be my hope that somewhere in your dissertation, if there is any strategy or methodology that can be applied across cultural and contextual lines, would help churches develop an “encounter” of some sort whereby the generations can respectfully engage in conversations which help the local church continue effective ministry through generational transition.
    some have suggested multi-generational leadership models (church boards and the like), and that may work for some, but i would think that there would be too many differences and levels of maturity and experience that some would feel inadequate and others feel under-utilized. but what do i know…
    have fun on this one ken…i’m looking forward to the developments you make for the health and mission of local churches striving to be effective witnessses in their community without having to split and re-invent the wheel for every generation.

  2. Ken,
    The challenge before you is to separate your beliefs about the message you are called to proclaim and the delivery of the message.
    The paradox of the message is that it is:
    a) ancient and contemporary
    b) timeless and relevant to today
    c) love and condemnation
    d) global or to a community and individual or personal
    e) truth
    The paradox of the delivery of the message is that it is:
    a) impossible – as a result of the tower of Babel – communication is challenged. Gen 11:7 “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
    b) impossible – you are preaching to hardened hearts (Mark 8:17-18)
    c) possible – “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
    d) simple – a miracle – Acts 2 – “…Each one heard them speaking in his own language … and about 3000 were added to their number that day”
    So your doctoral dissertation needs only to be one page – showing that on the one hand it is impossible for the church to be missional and cross generational in the years ahead, and on the other hand, since the Church is God’s chosen instrument, through the reliance and obedience to the Holy Spirit the Church and your ministry will be missional to the people you are called to preach to in the years ahead.

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