There is always a chasm between what is biblically accurate and what is culturally understandable. So seeking to be biblically accurate can at times, alienate us from cultural impact. Similarly, seeking to be culturally connected as the highest value, can equally alienate us from remaining true to the text.
When we stepped from the NCMI team, we gave ourselves time to:
1. Applaud and re-own the NCMI best practices. This has been very easy, especially thinking back on the earliest years, pre-NCMI when we actually learnt the most from Dudley. They were certainly remarkable years, with some weighty life changing lessons learnt and values defined - those days were very organic, fun, uncertain, adventurous.
2. The next thing we did was to put all our desires and convictions back on the table and revisit them through the lenses of scripture. There are times that we all have to admit that we are deeply influenced by our prejudices, biases, traditions and history. That was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be.
3. Third step was to be very honest about who Meryl, I and our friends are, what we can do, cannot do, strengths and weaknesses. I suppose we were rather amazed at the vulnerability you experience when you step out from the role you have played, are known by - 27 years of leading 2 churches on 2 continents, as well as 25 years of being a key player in the unfolding of a church planting movement. Step from these 2 roles and one has to face the reality of who you are as opposed to the traction that you carry by being in a very defined leadership space.
4. As these matters became clear, we were then stuck in the biblical / cultural dilemma. When we studied the New Testament and became more than ever committed to reflecting that, we realized there was no cultural framing for that understanding. People asked me: "So are you a missionary?" or "Is this the Chris and Meryl ministry?"or "Are you a guest speaker in these churches?" or "Are you a mentor, a coach or consultant?". It was then that I realized that we needed to give verbal empowerment to those who desired to understand what we do. Hence the name...
genesis - I love going back to the very beginning whenever I set out on a new study. In a perfect world, what do the first 3 chapters of Genesis teach us? It was here that the call to Adam empowered me to see that God's created order was defined by - "increase, multiply, fill the earth..." Gen 1:28 This is the fundamental framework that should fashion the way we do life, so too our marriages, families and churches. This is the very essence of being apostolic.
collective - The ascended Christ left his ministry on the earth, not just with the priesthood of all believers [and that is wonderful] but also, through his fivefold gifting as seen most beautifully in Ephesians 4. The forgotten gifts that history keeps trying to write out of the church's story, remains one of the major keys for these, the last of the last days. The apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are still gifts to the church, not to dominate or dictate but be servants to empower each church in their unique story.
So, we are a group of mates who desire to see the nations discipled by planting New Testament churches, each on their own journey by serving them through the E4 gifts that Jesus has given for their adventure. We love being a grassroots church planting movement that works with new plants laying strong foundations, secondly revitalizing and recalibrating churches that have grown stagnant, and thirdly helping large churches become movements through church planting, multi-siting / planting campuses as well as leadership development.
That is what the name stands for...