Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The Shaping of Things to Come
Rita and I just returned from a trip to California that included a Missio Intensive Event at Fuller Seminary. The conference featured the authors of
The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church. The authors are Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, both Aussies. Michael is a professor of evangelism and missions at a seminary in Australia and a church planter. He has a Baptist background and the gift of evangelism. Alan (pictured here) is a South African Jew (now a Christ-follower) who has lived in Australia but is now making the shift to the US. Michael is the apostle/prophet of the team; Alan is the strategist/conceptual person.
I will write more about this meeting later, but I just wanted to share a few initial observations. The theme of the conference was reaching people for Christ in a post-everything context. Michael and Alan have served in a part of the world that is de-Christianized. Being a Christian in Australia is not a matter of pride. Indeed, it may be a barrier to getting on in society! Their approach to sharing Christ is both missional and incarnational, but it assumes up front that the church has failed to reach people with its present strategies.
We aren't there yet in Tennessee, but the time may not be far away. While in California, I passed a church only two blocks from the seminary that was advertising "rental space of weddings, receptions, parties, and office." This is a sign of a church in trouble. I think we need to be alert to the fact that the context for "doing church" is changing, even in Tennessee. We already see it in some urban areas in our state. How will we respond?
Posted by Ircel Harrison