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It has been too long since I posted here. Please forgive this long absence. I will be sharing several brief posts over the next several days to, hopefully, make up for my absence.
Recently I attended a YWAM North American Cities Conference in the beautiful French Canadian city of Montreal. My friend and colleague in the University of the Nations leadership team, Jeff Fountain, was the keynote speaker. I gave a couple workshops on Missional Collaboration, which were surprisingly well attended.
That YWAM leadership team and the community of city missionaries I have had the privilege to engage with on several occasions continues to inspire me. This expression of YWAM is doing deep theological reflection as a matter of daily living in their respective city ministries. This network of ministries teams in North America is doing more theologically because they are concerned with more than the “seed”, the Word of God; they are also concerned with the “soil”, the context in which they are ministering. Typically, missionaries will reflect deeply on their context, the people and the cultures represented in the place where they are ministering. But far too rarely do ministers in the North American context reflect with true missionary intent on the theology of place.
Our Student Mobilization Centre team plans to follow their lead in a couple ways.
- First, we plan to have several of our class lecture times for our mobile School of University Ministries & Missions (SUMM) in a dozen cities in N. America in coffee houses and student lounge areas.
- Second, rather than fly speakers to us, we’re going to the lecturers, campus ministry leaders, in their context. We’re inviting them to exegete their university community.
We’re starting the first week of the SUMM at the URBANA Student Mission Convention (Dec. 27-31, 2012), where all participants will also be representing YWAM Int’l at our exhibit booth. We’re partnering with YWAM Emerge, traveling with their band, doing mobilization events in cities in the Midwest and Northeast USA. So all SUMM participants will also be recruiting on this mobile mobilization school.
We welcome you to participate with us according to your ability or calling:
- YWAM: If your YWAM ministry team needs a recruiting boost, and you are praying about engaging the colleges/universities in your city, this mobile SUMM may be just right for you or a member of your team. Go here for details and application.
- Ministry/Project Leaders: If you could use interns at your ministry location, the mobile SUMM will be recruiting students for internship around the world. Go here for details and an online application.
- Student Group: If you are with a student ministry or church interested in having us do a missions mobilization and/or prayer event with live band and an awesome challenge to respond to the Call of God and you are in Madison, WI, Minneapolis, MN, East Lansing or Ann Arbor, MI, Boston, MA, New Haven, CT, Williamstown, MA, Charlotte, NC, Pittsburgh, PA, or anywhere near those major cities, contact us. We would love to invite you to an event.
UofN Student Mobilization Centre
Have you ever heard this complaint? “I don’t understand my son. He never listens to me.”
The trouble, sir, is that you need to listen if you wish to understand your son. Conflict inevitably comes when we do not listen.
If you have been breathing for any longer than a few years, you’ve seen conflict. My hometown, Madison, Wisconsin has been the epicenter of conflict over the past few months. During his campaign for Governor, Scott Walker’s symbol was a “Brown Bag” with promises to balance the budget and return to fiscal responsibility. When Walker came into office, he set out to accomplish that goal by submitting a bill to limit the collective bargaining powers of public employee unions. This is a classic example of what is called a “political moment”; it’s when you have limited resources and varied interests. The trouble with political moments is the partial understanding; people on either side refuse to listen to each other.
Thousands came out in protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol, but few listened to each other. Fourteen Democrat senators fled the State to avoid the inevitable vote on the bill. Most of the protesters were against the Governor’s bill and the Republican controlled Assembly and Senate. The Tea Party came out one saturday to show support for the bill. Since then committees have sent around petitions to recall sixteen elected representatives, both Democrat and Republican. Each side is convinced they are right, which means the “others” are wrong. But can both sides be right? Could there be something both sides are not seeing? Will we listen? Will we learn? Do you think our leaders should set a better example of listening, learning, and leading through collaboration?
Speaking out with personal opinion is natural; it’s easy. Following people with strong opinions is easy too. My outspoken preference for important things like my political or religious views may encourage some people to change their views, to “follow” me. However, some may feel somehow diminished for their different view. How do we communicate what we value without devaluing the values and beliefs of others?
I must admit I do not have a full understanding on these matters. I do not see everything. I do not understand everything. This may be the point. In order to learn, we must admit we do not know everything. I think most will agree that Jesus of Nazareth was a master teacher. But just how masterful was his teaching?
Consider with me how Jesus teased out the implications and consequences of his disciple’s narrow views. These first century Galileans had a narrow monocultural myopia, they did not see the need to show love and mercy to people from other cultures. But Jesus leads them through their world as if it were his classroom.
Jesus alludes to the disciples sense of privilege as Israelites. He says the “children’s bread” should not be fed to “dogs” in response to the plea of the foreign woman who asked Jesus to free her daughter from an evil spirit. (Mark 7:27) Jesus spoke aloud the inner thoughts of his disciples’ religiously bigoted views. Probably satisfied that the woman would leave them alone, the disciples were likely surprised when she replied to Jesus, “Yes, but even the dogs get the crumbs.” What humility! Jesus responded and healed the girl.
Did the disciples learn? Could they confess, albeit with stammering lips, what they learned? Jesus, the master teacher, then heals a deaf and mute man. Do they still not understand?
Jesus then immediately leads the disciples into Decapolis, the Roman/Gentile cities nearby, to continue to tease out the implications of their narrow worldview. He displays compassion on the foreigners and tells the disciples “you feed them.” He’s now telling them to share the “children’s bread” with foreigners.
The Pharisees ask for a “sign,” apparently not seeing the “seven loaves” which became “seven basketfuls of broken pieces”. (Each basket required two men to carry them.) Jesus says there will be no sign. Huh? He tells those he heals to go home, not to tell anyone. Why is he withholding this important information? Did he need a publicist, someone to keep his popularity ratings high? What sort of politician would Jesus be?
Jesus then makes another point with this extended lesson. While on the boat crossing the sea, Jesus warns of the “yeast” (teaching/worldview) of the Pharisees and of Herod, but they had an incomplete revelation/understanding. They thought he was speaking about lunch.
Jesus said, “Do you still not understand?” Clearly not.
To demonstrate his lesson further, Jesus heals a blind man, but only partially at first. He saw people “like trees walking around.” A complete healing came when he prayed a second time. Do you see the point of his lesson? We do not see everything. We only have a partial revelation.
Capping off the master teacher’s lesson is a question (of course, he’s asked several questions all along): “Who do people say that I am?” Various replies. He doesn’t criticize or correct them. “But what about you?”, he asks. Peter jumps all over it, bursting with revelation. “The Christ!” Wow!
Trouble foretold. It’s only a partial revelation.
I think about words a lot. Bible believers should know how important words are. Unfortunately, we live in an age when words often do not carry the meaning they once did.
To say a leader is “one among equals” must have true meaning in the day to day push-comes-to-shove political moments, when resources are few and opinions are varied. In a church community, a leader who is “one among equals” has a commitment to a value that must be backed up with words that translate into policies and decisions. Those decisions will produce the fruit of the community’s ministry. The “soil” from which this fruitfulness comes is the worldview of the leaders of the community. Without the soil of faithfulness to the Word of God, the fruit of the ministry of the church community will be limited.
To be “one among equals” is to be a team player, committed to the value of team, the value of every individual, the value of the words themselves. I know of a church community that is wrestling with this “promise” to have a “team leadership.” Such a promise represents the possibility of deeper relational and missional commitment to Jesus, to his Church, and to the world. It has promise for a new season of fruitfulness!
The re-formation of a church community is possible! However, in a community words of good intention must be backed by written policies. The power of a leader facilitating a team must be limited in the language of the bylaws of the organization so that “one among equals” is not merely a slogan. Good intentions are not enough. Words must be backed up by a true commitment to the stated values of the community. It is not difficult to operate as a team when roles are defined and power is distributed, checked, and limited.
On a personal note, our visit to China and Hong Kong has ended. We took our daughter Becca (13 years old) to see the foster mom and village where she was cared for before she was adopted. And we took her to the spot on the steps at the government orphanage where she as left in a box. Needless to say this has been an emotional journey. Hard as it has been, it’s been so important for her identity, the story of her life.
I just completed a week-long strategic development process for the Hong Kong Master’s Beauty Ministries staff team. They are learning the beauty of team ministries. Our return to Madison comes after being away for about eight weeks. We depart from Hong Kong in 2 hours.
I just finished brushing eighteen inches of heavy snow off our overwhelmed evergreens. They’re a bit bent over, but I’m hopeful they will return to full life again in the spring. This week’s massive snowstorm was the sixth largest two-day snowfall on the city of Madison in 60 years.
Digging out was an all day affair. Our neighbor, Margaret, needed help. I thought I had troubles. Our little snowblower wasn’t cutting it. Our corner lot has 100 yards of sidewalk and the snow plows piled a three foot barricade of heavy ice chunks in front of our driveway. My back ached at the thought. Then I looked over at Margaret.
Margaret is an 81 year old widow, survivor of triple-bypass surgery. She was trying to dig out of her corner lot by herself! I left my son Nathan at our driveway to go ask Margaret if I could help. She smiled and her eyes twinkled, “Sure!”
Margaret sang out show tunes as she worked. “Smile, while you’re heart is breaking,” she sang to her neighbor who was wondering where to start. I tried to encourage her not to work too hard. “Your heart, Margaret,” I pleaded, “take it easy.” Margaret told me about her husband’s death two years prior. “I’ll never move. He died in this house,” she said. “He’s in heaven and that’s where I’ll be soon. I’m ready to go.”
When Margaret’s house was dug out, I returned to help Nathan. Thanks to one of Nathan’s friends who came over with a heavy snow blower, we finished at about 4 o’clock. We still need to rake the heavy snow off our roof. This is Wisconsin. Winter’s officially here.
I drove through the snow to three different post offices yesterday to mail a few packages; one was actually closed. I listened to a radio talk show host up in arms that the roads weren’t cleared yet. The headline of the Wisconsin State Journal today quotes the Mayor: “I apologize.”
As I uncovered those evergreens, I thought about the life that is buried under all that cold snow. I thought about the promise of life eternal, which is of little value if that life is not also full of love.
There is a way through the toughest times. Just like our 100 yards of sidewalk buried beneath the deep snow of winter, there is a path marked out before us if we will get out there and find it. The path alone is of little value unless it leads us to love our neighbors.
Pope Innocent 12th, 1243 AD said, “Universities are rivers of knowledge that feed and fertilize the universal church.” The attitude of the church toward universities, including the UW – Madison, was at one time positive. “We do not want to repeat the errors that have come from not revisiting the theological and biblical underpinnings of our mission.” (Taylor 2001:7) The mission for the Church in Madison is to make disciples of all nations, including the powerful institution of the university.
“The way of the Christian leader,” Henri Nouwen writes, “is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross.” (Taylor 2001:9) The challenge of the cross today, is to enter the halls of the universities as reformers. Luther, a professor in a university, never intended to be a reformer. Christian professors at the UW may be unwilling, however these professors may be called to be the leaders in a reformation that is as significant for the university as Luther’s was for the church.
Prophetic engagement with the university is underway through various agencies, such as New College in Madison led by Vern Visick. The challenge is to allow that prophet call to stimulate apostolic response. The apostolic call to the Church in Madison is to engage global issues. With effective church partnership, for example, a challenge could go out to the Church in Madison in response to the global HIV/AIDS crisis: “If you adopt an HIV/AIDS orphan (of which there are over 10 million today), the church in Madison will sponsor that child’s education.” “If the Church of Jesus Christ rises to the challenge of HIV/AIDS it will be the greatest apologetic the world has ever seen,” writes Ravi Zacharias. The Church in Madison’s acceptance of a new apostolic call to engage the university with its influential role in the world, it will present a powerful apologetic of the love of God and the love of our global neighbor.
Why is it sixty-two percent of the churches in Madison, including ten congregations with one thousand or more weekly attenders, identified no missionaries serving on mission fields? (Jericho 1997:7) Perhaps the lack of significant cross-cultural engagement is the result of an insufficient biblical model of the church. Perhaps the weakness of the “modern” church is the preoccupation with growth and size as a measure of success. Many say that “bigger is better”, but this has no biblical foundation.
The church is a complex system, “a living organism.” The church is called to bear fruit. Jesus taught us the “mustard seed” principle, which like complexity theory “illuminates the long-range significance of small actions.” When individual decision is made the foundation of church identity, the fruit that is borne is a culture of individualism. Individual choice and personal need becomes ultimate, rather than the unswerving purpose of God to share his mercy with every person in every culture. To begin to overcome this culture of individualism, one must first deny self and then lead a community of believers to do the same. Only then will the church fulfill her mission.
With no epistemological base on which to build, the secularist in Madison grasps for a utopian future in which tolerance is the ideal. This ideal, however, is inconsistently applied to those with fundamental Christian beliefs.
Since September 11, 2001, the UW has created opportunities for dialog with the world of Islam. The vision and history of Mohammed contains the implication of violent Islamic expansionism; non-Moslem territories are Dar Ul-Harb, or the “Sea of War.” From the Maghreb to Pakistan, the jihad, properly translated as “struggle,” for a new world order is underway. How should the Church in Madison respond? Several families in Madison, some of whom are Christians, befriend and/or host Muslim students who come to the UW or seek to learn English at the Wesli school. Christian mission has always been the expression of the gospel across cultural barriers, including hospitality to strangers. The opportunity for such gospel witness in Madison is significant, since over 4000 international students attend the UW.
The secularized Madisonian may fail to recognize the conflict within a pluralist culture is more than modern, economic, political, or ideological. William Taylor writes, “We cannot seek harmony by revitalizing the truth claims of religions. We (must) commit to be agents of reconciliation.” As agents of reconciliation, we must see that we are in the midst of a spiritual war with amazing biblical promise:
“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria (modern day Iraq). The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isa. 19:23)
Rather than react to the forces of secularism and pluralism, the Church in Madison has opportunity to proactively respond by loving our neighbors in the public arena of the university community.
The Madison Senior Pastor Survey conducted in 1996, found eighty-four percent of the congregations placed “some” or “a lot” of emphasis on meeting the needs of the poor. (1996:7) Madison area Christians may disagree, however it is obvious that their standard of living has gradually increased so much that they are blind to the influence of materialism. Living in the comforts of Madison, it is difficult to see the effects of materialism. Until we are shocked into awareness by a trip to a country, and not to the confines of a typical tourist hotel, where the annual income is less than an American child’s allowance. Those who earn more than ten thousand dollars per year share the top ten percent of the world’s wealth. (Barret 2001)
Michael Budde writes, the “Protestant ethic is dysfunctional in the consumption-driven postmodern era.” Budde adds that the apostle Paul’s admonition has been turned on its head in our materialist economy; it “dictates that if people will not eat (and drink, and buy compact discs, the latest in fashions, and home appliances) in sufficient volume, then no one will work.” If the Church in Madison does not allow herself to be shocked out of her slumber, she will fail to be effective confronting the desperate human needs of the world.
The good news is that technology has opened new vistas of communication and broken down centuries old barriers to the gospel. “The Information Age is boundary blind,” William O’Brien writes in his article “Mission in the Valley of Postmodernity” (from the book ‘In Global Good News: Mission in a New Context’). O’Brien adds, “There are no unique continental or regional areas identified exclusively as ‘mission fields’.” Easy access to people of every nation and culture is suddenly made available through the world wide web.
This access provides opportunity for the flow of up to the minute information for prayer, generous giving, and a deepened understanding of the plight of peoples around the world. However, as desperate needs cascade across our computer screens, there may not yet be sufficient spiritual equipping for the Church in Madison to respond appropriately.
How do people react to individualism, environmentalism, and poverty in Madison? These forces may be at the same time subtle and powerful. Globalization is having a paradoxical effect, connecting people and resources through technology and isolating people in reaction to the enormity of global needs. “As the [global] demand for water continues to increase, there is greater pressure placed on an already shrinking water supply,” says Joel Pedersen, a UW-Madison environmental chemist. “More people are considering the reuse of water.” While most expect individual freedoms to continue, others are sounding the alarm to warn us that individualism in Western culture is a major contributor to global problems. In Madison, research on water resources, HIV/AIDS, and global poverty is churning in the laboratories of the University of Wisconsin. How should today’s Jesus follower respond? Followers of Christ believe in community, but most have so aligned with the culture of individualism that they take little notice of urgent global human needs. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Perhaps, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, evangelical believers in the 21st century should ask “Who is my neighbor?”
Secularism and pluralism present a problem for the notion of progress. The Wisconsin State motto is “Forward,” calling all subjects of the state toward progress, including the university. But how can a society move forward without acknowledging its own history and knowing the core beliefs that produced it. If the core of belief is supplanted by the state itself, it will soon fail to produce the “good” it purports to do. In his book, “The Spiritual Situation in Our Technical Society”, Paul Tillich writes “education without a determining center is impossible. The nation became the ideological center that demanded absolute devotion, though itself was above criticism.” (Tillich 1988:17)
Once the state became the central defining institution, all religious influence was sequestered into the private arena, hidden behind stained glass windows. Os Guinness writes, “Secularization is the process by which religious ideas, institutions, and interpretations have lost their social significance.” How shall Jesus followers in Madison respond? Do they stir up their confidence in Jesus’ victory by redoubling their spiritual exercises, attending to religious duties, and gathering in religious settings? Or should they instead return to the God of their fathers who interpreted the words of the Lord for a public arena?
In that public arena, we no longer find the predominant values of a society informed by Biblical principle. Madison is home to many religious groups with very different values. Pluralism is what exists when there are “a competing number of worldviews available to its members, but no worldview is dominant.”
With no roots or absolutes, people in Madison represent “all religions and no religion;” they are “seeking for a sense of roots, an affirmation that there is something bigger than the existence we know-something of ultimate value.” In his book, “The Soul of The American University,” which traces the history of the secularization of American universities, George Marsden calls for academics of religious faith, including those in Madison, to re-think the connections between their faith and their scholarly endeavors.
Madison is progressive, leaning forward into a vision of the future with little reference to Biblical values. Without that Biblical reference and religious values, what should we expect to be the result of that progressive vision?
Marsden’s challenge is to re-think, and re-interpret a progressive vision of the future by reviewing the vision of those who have gone before us.
Scientific advances are the fruit of discovery, however the need for direction is just as great for a poor society as it is for an advanced to society. While “technical reason” guided the first cultivation of embryonic stem cells in a lab at UW, the “reason” provides “means for ends, but offers no guidance for the determination of those ends.” (Tillich 1988:6) ”Progress is measured in terms of growth, scientific and technological progress, and the amassing of means.” (O’Brien 2001:16) Madison is mostly affluent and comfortable. With an average two-thousand-two-hundred-square-foot single-family home in Madison costing over two hundred thousand dollars, Madison was rated “One of the Most Secure Places in the Country.” (Farmers Insurance Group, June 2004) That security and comfort may have negative effects, a population averse to risk-taking and entrepreneurism.
Global business is salivating over the millions of potential consumers in India and China. Not surprising, those two nations have been the top two in numbers of foreign students studying in the USA, and the UW has been among the top ten hosts for international students. Since early in the 1970s, the Chinese government has been sending their future leaders to prepare for a consumer focused market economy. Do citizens appreciate the comfort, security, and opportunity Madison, Wisconsin offers?
During his 1978 run for governor, the former UW-Stevens Point chancellor, Lee Dreyfus, was quoted saying Madison is “thirty square miles surrounded by reality.” (Moe 1999) There are major “gaps between gospel values and the practices of Christianity in ‘Christian’ Europe” and other formerly Christian territories. (Budde 1997:5) Equally true is the gap between the early gospel values and practices at the University of Wisconsin. A plaque on Bascom Hall reveals the commitment to “encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth may be found.” Etched in the stone of South Hall, is: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Class of 1955.”
The following posts will discuss four characteristics of globalization in the Madison context and how they affect the Church in Madison. They are post-modernism; materialism; secularism and pluralism; and individualism, environmentalism, and poverty.
This is the first of a series of posts from a study I performed in 2004 on how the Christian community can respond to the effects of globalization in the city of Madison, Wisconsin. In it I will describe the context and an appropriate missional response. As I review this study with you, I will also post some real time activities and ministries responding to globalization taking place in Madison.
Satellite television is broadcasting the notable influences of globalization as global culture industries seek ways to quicken the pace and broaden the demand for entertainment, variety, and convenience. The microchip has ushered Western civilization into a new age of ever more rapid development and information transfer. Modernism, and the “in-between” era of postmodernism, has guided individual participants toward the shared values of materialism, secularism, and individualism, with a vast array of interrelated characteristics of globalization.
Madison, the capitol of Wisconsin, is a city with over two hundred thousand residents and host to over forty thousand University of Wisconsin students. Sometimes called “Berkley of the Midwest,” the UW-Madison has a history of radical student activity. At the time of the Vietnam War, Madison was shaken by a series of student protests. Madison residents can buy organic smoothies at the Library Mall Juice cart run by Karl Armstrong, famed for his part in the 1970 bombing of Sterling Hall, which killed a graduate student of physics. Madison, proud of its progressive thinking and tolerance, powerfully influences state and national politics, philosophy, entertainment, and education. The “Wisconsin Idea” is described as the compelling need to carry “the beneficent influence of the university … to every home in the state.” (Stark 1995) With more than four thousand international students from one hundred and twenty nations, the UW impressively shapes more than Madison; it affects the world. (Bollag 2004)
The examination of how globalization has affected Madison, especially with respect to the influence of the University of Wisconsin, will help us to understand the context in which the Church in Madison is ministering. With that understanding in mind, we will discuss how the Church in Madison ought to respond and what the kingdom of God could look like in a major university community.
During his 1978 run for governor, the former UW-Stevens Point chancellor, Lee Dreyfus, was quoted saying Madison is “thirty square miles surrounded by reality.” There are major “gaps between gospel values and the practices of Christianity in ‘Christian’ Europe” and other formerly Christian territories. (See Michael Budde’s book, “The (Magic) Kingdom of God: Christianity and Global Culture Industries.” Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. 1997:5) Equally true is the gap between the early gospel values and practices at the University of Wisconsin. A plaque on Bascom Hall reveals the commitment to “encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth may be found.” Etched in the stone of South Hall, is: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Class of 1955.”
Today, the university community continues to seek truth, with the limitations of Modernism’s arrogant spirit. Finding truth requires humility and a willingness to learn from sources new and old, including learning from those who have been isolated and marginalized for their religious faith.
We all want to change the world. Perhaps I’m just too old AND too young, but I’ve always disliked the word “revolution.” I was born in ’58, just old enough to really dislike the impact of the 60′s Revolution. That period was probably really from ’68 to ’74.
I can’t say for sure if it was due to the radical ideas of the ’60s, but it was during that time my family ripped apart with divorce. I lived in Madison, Wisconsin then. I witnessed the student riots (another excuse to skip class?) and the bombing of Sterling Hall (killing an innocent person). I saw the “peace” marchers turn violent. What do you think? Did those Sixties radicals, the ones who wanted to change the world for the better, have any core beliefs? Where are they now? Some are journalists, some in government, and some are teaching the next generation of university students. We’re hearing those voices more and more.
The word revolution has made a comeback in recent years. Today’s students, many of them, are wanting to change the world again. That’s good. We all want to change the world. But why are Christians using the word revolution? I’m all for social justice as part of God’s mission to the world, but I’ve felt a huge disconnect with those who call for revolution today, those who march, sign petitions, and claim by doing so they can end poverty. The way Jesus taught his disciples to turn the world upside down was by dying to self with open-handed surrender. Perhaps, if we are going to use the word “revolution,” we should be clear in our definition. We should not promote the closed fist posture, demanding of rights, with marches on Washington.
The dictionary definition of “revolution” includes “forcible overthrow of government,” “class struggle,” and “political change through uprising.” If instead, today’s revolutionaries could re-interpret the word to mean reorientation, making Jesus the center of our reality, both spiritual and physical reality, then I could join in the call for a revolution. I want to see every person, every family, community, people group, and nation find their hope in Jesus. Some argue that Jesus is too exclusive, that Christians are too narrow in their beliefs. My reply is that Jesus is the most inclusive personality in the universe. Christians are not exclusive, their particular; they want everyone to meet the One who created everything and everyone with good intention.
What the Church often gets wrong, I think, is that they set up a “missions department,” as if the Church were the center of all things. This posture communicates to church-goers and the surrounding world that the task of reaching every person for Christ is just one of the many things the Church must do, a line item in their budget, a committee, something to remember at the annual missions conference.
Reformation, not revolution, is needed. I propose a different attitude and posture for the Church. The Church does not have a mission. God has a mission. The Church must once again apprehend the Misseo Dei, that God is on a mission. We should reorient the Church to join Christ’s mission. The Church is not the center, Jesus is the center. God has a mission and his mission has a Church. Now that is a revolutionary idea!