Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I Used To Be...Until...
I was particularly impacted by a talk given by Bryant Myers, now a professor at Fuller Seminary who worked with World Vision for many years. His question Do we point people towards our organization, towards money, towards, power or toward Christ? really had me thinking. He talked about how the effectiveness of World Vision projects often pointed people towards World Vision as the saviour rather than towards Christ and it made me aware of how subtle the difference can be.It may have been a "joke," but it was not necessarily funny. Much of the root of the problem lies in the necessity and realities of fund-raising. We have to promote the organization to fund it - that is certainly true with ministries like Young Life.
But the post looked at some other issues:
Bryant talked about the fact that the go and tell evangelism we so often practice is deeply flawed because the power of conversion and of discipleship remains outside the community. It is people outside the community who bring the message and hold the answers. It is often even the people outside the community who ask the questions – the community members themselves are often seen as passive receptors of our message rather than active participants in itThat's a challenge for the church - the church is not just called to preach, but to LIVE in the community and to be something different.
The challenge of the gospel is not in what we say but in how we live. To be truly spiritual people we must live our lives and do our work so that we bear witness to the spirit of God that dwells within us and not to ourselves and our own ambitions. We must live in a way that can only be interpreted in the light of the spirit that is within us. It is only then that we will find people respond with questions that point them not to us and our organizations but to God and the reality of Christ. Only then will we authentically bear witness to Christ and draw people into a living relationship with God.
I for one see that as the calling for the church in America, to learn how to live the message in the greater cultural community. We are outsiders in this culture. The message comes later.