i desperately want make a difference in my world. that’s why i got into full-time ministry and that’s why i continue to do it day after day.
at least, i think that’s why i do it. sometimes i’m not really sure.
the greatest tension in my professional/vocational/ministry life comes when i try to reconcile what is with what’s coming. what i mean is, i understand and acknowledge that we live in a pluralistic, post-christian culture, and that we (the church) need to radically re-think our positions and methods if we hope to avoid obsolescence. but i live in the bible belt and we are definitely not a pluralistic, post-christian culture. so when i talk to church people about (or, god forbid, attempt to initiate) changes that need to take place, people’s eyes glaze over and they zone out.
and still we persevere.
nevertheless, i am greatly encouraged by the missional church perspective and the writings of authors like alan hirsch and reggie mcneal and william beckham. i have become convinced that the next, great thrust of the church (and the answer to her current dilemma) is to mobilize christ-followers to serve in the community. we (the church) have forever believed that the best way to get new believers to “stick” was to get them involved in ministry inside our churches. this thinking has given rise to a church that is program-heavy and staff driven, and the people outside our walls still have no idea what we’re about. the missional church seeks to send new believers back out into their world to represent jesus–not in the traditional sense of “sharing the gospel,” but with a fruit-filled life and a servant’s heart.
i am energized by the stories where this is happening.
marshall shelley (reporting from catalyst on outofur.com) wrote about gabe lyon’s talk on some of the new ways the next generation of christians is engaging cultural tensions. this is one of those encouraging stories i was talking about…
Gabe told the story of the arrival of their child who has Down Syndrome. “Sometimes you seek your calling, and sometimes it comes to you,” he said. As they sought to understand their new life with this situation, they learned that 90 percent of pregnancies with a Down Syndrome child were never carried to term. All that these parents could see were expense and complication.
So the Lyons, along with others, developed a book showing through quality photography the richness and beauty that children with Down Syndrome can experience. This book has now been used by OB-GYN’s to explain to those who discover they’re carrying such a baby what this condition means and bringing hope.
i still desperately want to make a difference in my world, i’m just beginning to think that maybe my calling hasn’t come to me.