The first question that was asked of us was to articulate the purpose or saving message of our church. I think we were all struck by the openly spiritual statements which were made. This group of 12 ministers of growing churches all believe that the purpose of their churches is spiritual growth of individuals and transformation of the world, in that order. Words like "community" and "like minded" didn't, as far as I remember, figure in the mix at all. The statement I made is my own purpose, I want to offer people an opportunity to deepen their lives within a theologically diverse community. I had considered this boldly spiritual but nearly all of my colleagues had even more specifically spiritual statements to make about the saving message of their church.
I've always had a hunch that one reason my church is a vital religious community is because our worship service, no matter who is leading it, is noticeably worshipful, our program is definitely heavy on spiritual growth opportunities, and our language spiritual, religious, and not dogmatic. I was hoping that that hunch would be confirmed in this gathering, which it was. It's an interesting experience to think you're "way out there" and discover that others of your successful colleagues are even more "way out." Very satisfying.