We’ve been talking about the vision of our church for 2014 – to be outward-facing. Another way to say this is that we seek to be a missional church. This term has gained popularity of late but is not well understood. To be missional means to understand that modern culture has shifted. America used to be a “Christianized” nation, meaning most people had a general but vague understanding and appreciation of Christianity. So that evangelism was merely stirring up people to believe what they already knew. But we now increasingly live in a “post-Christian” world, in which most people have no idea about even the basic elements of the gospel, and moreover, are suspicious of, if not hostile to, Christianity. In other words, American Christians now find themselves in the same position that Christians in India or Japan face. All of us live in a mission field. And therefore, this changes the way we do church, so that our gospel presentation has to be theologically deeper and provide cogent answers to the objections our culture raises. If we’re going to effectively reach our secular neighbors, we have to adopt a new posture of being “in mission” in every aspect of our lives. This is an age full of promise, for our situation is more like the early church than in any other period of Western history. It is an age full of opportunity but with many challenges.
Image: Paul preaching at Mars Hill by Raphael.