Thursday, April 6, 2017
You Lost Me, by David Kinnaman
1. The picture Chris painted that day was an aha moment for me.
Original assumption: The church exists to prepare the next generation to fulfill God’s purposes.
New thinking: The church is a partnership of generations fulfilling God’s purposes in their time.
What does this mean? The Christian community is one of the few places on earth where those who represent the full scope of human life, literally from the cradle to the grave, come together with a singular motive and mission. The church is (or should be) a place of racial, gender, socioeconomic, and cultural reconciliation— because Jesus commanded that our love would be the telltale sign of our devotion to him (see John 13: 35)— as well as a community where various age demographics genuinely love each other and work together with unity and respect.
- How do current practices of segregation inhibit this?
- Where is the Spirit building intergenerational unity?
2. The second thing I have learned through the process of our research is that the Christian community needs to rediscover the theology of vocation. Vocation is a clear mental picture of our role as Christ-followers in the world, of what we were put on earth to do as individuals and as a community. It is a centuries-old concept that has, for the most part, been lost in our modern expressions of Christianity. For me, frankly, the most heartbreaking aspect of our findings is the utter lack of clarity that many young people have regarding what God is asking them to do with their lives. It is a modern tragedy. Despite years of church-based experiences and countless hours of Bible-centered teaching, millions of next-generation Christians have no idea that their faith connects to their life’s work. They have access to information, ideas, and people from around the world, but no clear vision for a life of meaning that makes sense of all that input. I believe God is calling the church to cultivate a larger, grander, more historic sense of our purpose as a body and as individuals.
- What might our roles look like as mentors of faith?
3. Finally, I have learned that the Christian community needs to reprioritize wisdom in order to live faithfully in a discontinuously different culture. Submerged as we are in a society that values fairness over justice, consuming over creating, fame over accomplishment, glamour over character, image over holiness, and entertainment over discernment, we need a blueprint for what life is meant to be. How can we live in-but-not-of lives in the world that surrounds us? In a culture skeptical of every kind of earthly authority, where information is dirt cheap and where institutions and leaders so often disappoint, we need God-given wisdom. Wisdom is the spiritual, mental, and emotional ability to relate rightly to God, to others, and to our culture. We become wise as we seek Christ in the Scriptures, in the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, in the practices and traditions of the church, and in our service to others. As we come to know and revere God— which, according to Proverbs 9: 10, is the beginning of wisdom— he will make us wise. But this is often a painful process…
- How does Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son grant you wisdom?