les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

But how strange the change

from lumper to splitter...

I hope you'll excuse the technical terminology from taxonomy, but I think the meaning will be pretty clear as we go on.

Many moons ago, when the world was young, or at least when I was, I was Senior Pastor and Global Leader in a church in a small, post-industrial town on the very edge of civilisation in North Wales.

We belonged to a Wales-wide group of churches, the AECW, to which we were wholeheartedly committed and in which we invested seriously.

We also belonged to a UK-wide group of churches, the Grace Baptists, to which we were half-heartedly committed and to whose meetings we never went. (Well they were sometimes held in London during the week, though I frequently went to the Grace Assembly.)

We then decided to join a wider fellowship of churches, and opted for the FEBE, the Federation of Evangelical Baptists of Europe. They held conferences in exotic locations like Poland, Mallorca, etc. I never went. Predictable.

At that time I was a lumper. You join. You belong. Locally, nationally, internationally.

Here in France my lumper tendencies have greatly diminished.

This is partly because of a certain feeling of not being entirely on the same page. For example one national protestant body held its annual meetings recently, devoted to the challenge of climate change. I feel like saying, "Hey, come on guys, we're pastors." I studied biology to degree level towards the end of the last century. Our carbon footprint is really not bad now, but I wouldn't dream of thinking I can make a major contribution to the challenge of climate change.  One pastors' conference I attended was addressed by a Cambridge cosmologist. I reckon more than half the folk present didn't understand anything he said. Certainly their questions and remarks bore that out.

Then there's the proliferation of tribes with which I feel at least some measure of affinity (no pun intended). Should we join Acts29? City to City? Why would we choose Acts29 over City to City? Perhaps we should join both? But then we'd have to go to conferences in Paris and in the UK, and even possibly in New York. That would be great fun but we'd have to place ourselves in penury to do it! What if we're not quite where Acts29 are and not quite where City to City are? And what about the French movements (though they are fewer)? Maybe we should start a new movement for folk who think exactly like us? Then we could have our annual conferences in Bordeaux, and save a packet!

So in the end I've ended up in a position very similar to one of my old tutors who lamented the profusion and proliferation of conferences. You can't go to everything. So you have to choose very carefully.

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