Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lifespring Community Arts and Cultural Centre Church

Lifespring Community Church in Calgary is affiliated with the Alberta Baptist Association, within the North American Baptist Association. In the fall of 2009 Lifespring had the following under Our Mission Statement...

Lifespring is a community where we meet, journey, explore together and share the amazing stories of love and acceptance of Jesus Christ.

This has been revised and expanded (as of the date of this post) under WHAT WE VALUE . . . (emphasis in original)

Lifespring is a caring, fun and real community, where you can be yourself.

Together we journey, explore, share and experience the amazing stories of Jesus Christ and his love for all people.

We are about reaching out (connecting) within our sphere of influence and our church community in finding the heart of God in a broken world and leading each other to an authentic relationship with God and others.

We share an Informal, welcoming and safe environment.

Where we worship God, each with our unique gifts that form the creative ministry and culture of Lifespring Community Church.

The reader will notice the emphasis on stories instead of on expository Bible preaching. Notice as well the emphasis on self. Unfortunately, the links no longer exist for all of Lifespring’s initiatives in "creative ministry and culture," but in the fall of 2009 these included a barn dance and hog roast (how distinctively Christian) on October 3 and a presentation of Ten Lost Years on October 17. Ten Lost Years is a dramatic presentation of Barry Broadfoot’s book, originally published in 1973. I heard about this on CKUA radio:

Ten Lost Years
Relive true-life accounts of the Great Depression, as Barry Broadfoot’s acclaimed book comes to the stage.
Vancouver’s Seacoast Studios presents Ten Lost years - Saturday, October 17th at the original site of Calgary’s Loose Moose Theatre.
Hosted by Lifespring Community Church – a proud member of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta. For tickets, call 403-620-5560. More at
7:00 PM

As an aside, I’ve never read the book, but my father, who lived through the Depression, did, and he didn’t like it at all. He thought that Mr. Broadfoot had just interviewed the "rubby-dubs"--people who would have been down and out even if times were good.
Ten Lost Years has nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Lifespring. The CKUA ad is correct in mentioning that Lifespring is a proud member of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta. You’ll find the logos of both organizations on Lifespring’s home page. The reader will also notice that Lifespring’s location was formerly used as a theatre--more evidence that if you locate your church in a theatre, you’ll end up with theatrical worship. And as far as "creative ministry" is concerned, I've been a Christian for almost 35 years, and I have yet to see anything creative from evangelicalism. Instead, we always get an evangelical imitation of popular culture (e.g., "Christian rock," "Christian aerobics," Promise Keepers, etc.).

Lifespring posts a "Thought for the Week" at the bottom of their home page, and in October they posted the following from Richard Rohr: "The spiritual world is hidden and perfectly revealed in the physical world." Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest who founded the Center for Action and Contemplation. For more on Richard Rohr, go to More Books and Things and Apprising Ministries.
Lifespring may be on the cutting edge when it comes to how they refer to their leaders. Perceptive readers have probably noticed that the title "Senior Pastor" has been replaced by "Lead Pastor" in many churches, especially churches whose leaders are under 40 years of age. Lifespring, however, has dispensed with the title "Pastor" altogether. Their leaders are all referred to as "Navigators," a title with no apparent connection to the campus ministry of that name. I don’t find that designation anywhere in the New Testament, and I find the title rather ironic, because while the "Navigators" at Lifespring emphasize the "journey," they don’t seem to know where they’re going. I have a suspicion where their journey will end: Rome.

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