One would think that after more than 2000 years of existence, we as the church of Christ would have a good handle on who we are and what we are here to do; in other words, our mission. But alas, it would appear we have managed to demonstrate and annoying and monotonous capacity for generating confusion and certainly a lack of consensus, particularly when it comes to issues such as the mission, missions, or what it means to be missional. It seems that John Stott’s assessment of the church back in the mid ‘70’s remains applicable almost 45 years later. He suggested back then that we are strung out somewhere between two extreme views regarding the mission of the church: one that focuses mainly, if not exclusively on evangelism and the other, to the same degree on social action. We seem to be still there.
The unfortunate reality is that we have allowed discussion on the mission of the church to devolve into a dichotomy of polar opposites in which “nary the twain shall meet”! And it appears to me that we tend to exacerbate this unnecessary great divide by comparing ourselves with one another. The answer in my mind is to resist our navel-gazing tendencies, take our focus off ourselves and others and do as the author to Hebrews directed – “looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” The essence of ‘mission’ is to be ‘sent.’ Jesus was sent by the Father and declares that in the same way he is sending us. He lived his life on the rhythm of the missio dei and invites as to simply do the same as he builds his church. The church’s mission: is it evangelism or social action? The answer? YES! Jesus’ life leaves no other option.
The Canadian Millennials Choosing God in a Secular World
A study by the Pew Research Forum on religiosity in the United States shows that millennials, those between the ages of 18 and 35, are becoming less and less religious. A Pew Research analysis of Canadian trends shows a similar pattern here. More millennials are choosing to abandon religion and become “religious nones,” meaning being either atheist or agnostic.
Christian Mission in the Modern World
Perhaps it is the stage of life I find myself in (4 months to retirement), but my reading these days has taken me back to some of the great reads I have enjoyed over the past four and a half decades. One such work that is a current and meaningful as when originally published in 1975, is John Stott’s book, Christian Mission in the Modern World. This remains an excellent aid in navigating through the confusion fostered by our use of terms such as missions, mission and missional. Back to the basics!.
March 15- Joel Thiessen will be giving this year’s Wahl Lectures at Taylor Seminary. The lectureship will be presented both online and in person. You can register for the lectureship here.
April 13- Joel Thiessen will be one of the presenters for the New Leaf Church Planting Initiative on the topic of The Nones: An Evolving Story of Secularity in Canada in Kingston, ON. More information and registration.
May 7 - 8, 2019 - Flourishing Congregations Institute is partnering with the Ambrose Pastors Conference to share our research on Discipleship at Ambrose University. The Theme: Life Together: Discipleship in an Age of Distraction. Stay tuned for more details.
October 22-24- Register now for Church Planting Canada Congress 2019.
City Movement has worked behind the scenes with key national ministries, large churches, and denominations to wrestle with our rapidly changing world and how we can be more effective in our cities. They will be doing a Canada-wide tour promoting ways to foster collaboration in cities for greater Innovation and Impact. Find out more at: citymovement.org/tour
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Missed our National Gathering in November at Ambrose University? Watch videos from many of the presentations here.
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