On Monday night, I went to [re]generate, with Steve Taylor sharing about his experiences with church and mission. I really like the model of church they have at Opawa Baptist – many congregations under one umbrella. They have a shared seven practices, as opposed to shared doctrine, which along with mission activities, teaching opportunities, and shared meals for the congregations and/or leaders, give a sense of ‘unity’ as one person at dinner tonight put it.We talked about the need to shift the understanding of the congregation about what church growth is – away from the idea that the church is growing if there are more bums on seats on a Sunday morning, towards the idea that the church is growing if the people are growing in their faith, their relationship with God, their discipleship; the church is growing if those who attend worship are engaging in the mission of God in new ways, are discovering God in the world outside, sharing this experience with those who worship in their congregation and those who don’t; the church is growing when more congregations form, offering authentic worship, teaching, expression and nurture of faith, and community to more; the church is growing when we send more people out, thereby losing bums off seats, but offering hope, healing, community to those who do not find their way to church, because we should not expect people to find their way to church in order to find God, to find healing, to find community – God is with people where they are, so we should go and be with them also. That is where Jesus said he would be, with the sick, the poor – when you feed them, clothe them, visit them, you do this for me. Some of this we didn’t actually talk about tonight, I’m just going on with my thoughts.