I just got off the phone with J. Shawn Landres, the primary organizer of the 24-hour gathering of Synagogue 3000 and Emergent this coming January. Synagogue 3000 (or S3K) is a leadership network among innovative synagogues throughout the US. They host consultations, sponsor congregational research, and engage the changing dynamics of culture. Periodically they invite outside speakers to dialog about issues concerning their work. This past June they hosted Rick Warren from Saddleback Community Church. With this January event, they are hosting two groups -- key leaders within Emerging Churches (Emergent and other like-minded practitioners) and key leaders in emergent-like synagogues throughout the US.
By inviting Emerging/Emergent folks to come to this gathering, S3K leaders hope to illuminate some of the issues they face as congregations in the 21st century. Similar to many of the conversations going on in the evangelical movement in the US, these synagogues wrestle with how to express their way of life culturally. The discussion among traditional (pre-1960s), modern (Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, Purpose-Driven, Seeker, Gen-X) and postmodern (emerging, organic, alternative, neo-monastic) communities is not limited to the Christian faith. Those in S3K have read the books on Boomer religion, on Gen-X ministry, and on Emerging Churches. They have questions and they are therefore inviting a dialog on these issues.
I will be joining Wade Clark Roof and Steven M. Cohen as academic "provokers" of conversation. During this evening presentation, we will discuss the dynamics of cultural and religious expression in the US. Other activities during the twenty-four hour consultation include diverse meetings of twos and threes for textual study interspersed by music and singing. The program is not yet complete, but the main activity will be talking, talking, talking, about culture and faith expression in the US. Of course, the back-channel activity will be relationship-building with the hopes of friendships amongst the participants.
My first impressions of Shawn Landres and the S3K folks are extremely positive. I'm so jazzed to be a part of this event.