After several weeks of church-hunting, and 5 or 6 churches, we have decided to attend Vanguard Church, which is just a short drive from our apartment and new house. Part of their vision for ministry, from their website is very compelling:
Vanguard Church endeavors to be on the cutting edge of reaching the population who has given up on church and God. The people of Vanguard are attempting to do new things in a REAL and refreshing way as we go into the frontlines of battle to rescue those in spiritual, emotional, and physical need.For those of you who remember San Antonio Metro with Todd Phillips, this church has the same feel. The music has a little more edge than your typical "contemporary" service. The pastor goes verse by verse and makes it very practical (he's a DTS grad, after all). The church has a very strong Great Commission vision, a focus on building community and reaching the lost through relationships, and a set of aggressive ministry goals. They drew us in with their friendliness and a free cup of hot chai tea (free for first-time visitors).
We had a meeting with Scott, the small groups pastor today. We found out that the church is, as we hoped, a "ministry to postmoderns" rather than a "postmodern ministry." He said that he recommends people read The Universe Next Door by James Sire (who also wrote a good book on my shelf called Scripture Twisting: Twenty Ways The Cults Misread the Bible). Some of the good things about postmoderns are that they understand that theology is done in community, the importance of relationships, and the power of narrative, or stories. The major weakness of postmodernism is when it makes relativism an absolute, and Truth becomes some variation of "it's true for you, but not necessarily for me." Vanguard appears to be a ministry that emphasizes the good parts of postmodernism while rejecting the bad. In the midst of it, they reach those who would not feel comfortable or even welcome in the most well-meaning average church. They're not afraid to make waves, like when they used Harry Potter as an outreach tool. (Scott said they have several families still in the church who were brought in when their kids attended the outreach.)
We're looking forward to joining a church that keeps us from being too comfortable, that challenges us to grow and to take ministry to a new level. God has been teaching me in the last couple of years that I don't dream big enough. I can't wait to see what big things He has in store for us at Vanguard.