Cutting Edge Red Tape Church
who dream the most are those who are most awake.
Ron Martoia, lead pastor at one of the most awakening new church
plants in AmericaWestWinds
Community Church in Jackson, Michigan.
is awake to the needs of postmoderns. People today arent complaining,
I dont have a church life. But they are complaining,
I dont have a spiritual life. WestWinds offers
postmoderns a common spiritual life through the adventure of a sacred
pilgrimage with Jesus.
is awake to the arts. Everything about the church is designed to
help postmoderns have artistic and aesthetic spiritual experiences.
The original Greek meaning of aesthetics refers to things
that are perceived by the senses. WestWinds is awake to the changing
ways postmoderns experience meaning and evaluate realitythrough
a multisensory, multimedia, multilayering tapestry of gesture, symbol,
word, and metaphor. Worship at WestWinds isnt high-techits
high aestheticsdeploying artists and designing space for God
to be experienced in sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.
is awake to the Spirit. Preferring spirit descriptions to job descriptions,
the WestWinds team competes with each other in risk-taking and permission-giving.
Martoia takes team-based, not solo, continuing education jaunts.
For their team the question isnt, Whats wrong
and how can we fix it? Instead the cutting question is, Whats
possible here and whos going to give it a try? This
impulse to create and innovate is whats behind the phrase
cutting red tape. Thomas Edisons laboratory in
Menlo Park, New Jersey was the worlds first great R&D
facility. In six years, the invention factory at Menlo Park secured
more than 400 patents. The U.S. Patent Office watched and waited
for packages that were wrapped in a certain kind of red tape. They
knew these came from Edisons lab, and they cut these first.
WestWinds is an invention factory for the postmodern church.
is awake to the future. When one enters the building, what leaps
first into consciousness isnt the stunning graphics on the
walls or the original sculptures on the floor, but a waist-high
row of tiles that riddle the walkwayobviously designed by
children. WestWinds takes seriously Jesus rebuke of his disciples
age bias (Matthew 19:14). Just as Jesus integrated children into
his sermons (Matthew 18:2-3), so this church integrates children
into its very mission. Instead of honoring its founding fathers,
WestWinds celebrates its founding children. Each colorful
tile tells of the hopes and dreams of the 130 charter children of
this 22nd century church.
Sweet is dean of the theological school of Drew University in Madison,
New Jersey. (LenISweet@aol.com)