I remember when I knew what missions meant… and what reaching the lost meant. Then I started having these experiences – not flashbacks or flash forwards or flashes to an alternate universe. Just experiences… experiences which started to change the way I thought about things. These experiences were with people who saw things differently, responded differently and somehow escaped the status quo for very good reasons. This is my journal of how I began to see things differently. It’s a photo album really. It includes 16 snapshots (I may add a couple) – glimpses which radically changed my thinking. The shift happened slowly and over time, but this important shift is something which I believe Christians in North American really need to think about.
Why is it important for believers in North America? Let me ask you a question posed to me by someone you will meet in my photo album. “How long does it take to erase Christianity?” He let the question linger before responding, “One generation!” That’s all it takes. The children forget and their children are never told the story. Europe has seen and experienced this erosion. We really need to look at them and learn how they lost their way and how they are finding their way back. Perhaps that is why much of my photo album includes pictures of theologians and missionaries from Europe, or their friends and followers.
It’s not how to do church cooler or how to have sexy evangelism. It’s not gimmick driven nor based on methodology… but it is about faith – about what you believe – and I mean that in a more specific way then believing in Jesus. I hope to snap us out of our juvenile faith so we can think in a mature way. But this takes some work – to see the world, and our place in this world, in a new way.
When I was a college pastor I remember having the realization that I didn’t know how to lead this ministry from a missional perspective! I could write a good sermon (some will disagree), I knew enough about setting up a worship team, starting small groups and developing leaders but I didn’t have a roadmap. I didn’t have a clear way forward. I needed to know what to do!
We do need a way forward. Candles on tables do not give us a way forward as nice as they may be. At the end of the day we are travelers with great hopes and only when the end is in site do we realize how short the journey was. Without a roadmap – even if it just includes a general list of places we want to see – we risk missing out on a trip that proves itself to be much shorter in retrospect. I offer you a roadmap – my list of must see places should you desire to visit the land of missional thinking. I offer you a way forward.
I hope you enjoy the show… and I hope you come along.