A friend just posted a post about the results from some really important work done on growth in the church, which concludes that where people are taking risks, investing in the future and being willing to change things about how the church operates, increasing numbers of people are coming to faith, coming to find out more about faith and having more positive engagement with Christians. Which is good. Its very good.
What’s harder to commend is that these ideas are still on the very fringe of many peoples perceptions, and while they might be ‘ok for them’, they are less likely to ‘ok for us’. There’s a verses somewhere about a prophet being accepted in his home town… its harder to hear these things when they are directed to ourselves.
Yesterday I was involved in a session where we were considering how those who follow Christ are called to live in a way that embodies the values of the kingdom, the central concepts of the Gospel and the truths of the Bible in a way that acts as a signpost. We’re able to point people towards a life with God and to highlight what it means to live without God. The shorthand term for this is ‘a prophetic life’, and it sounds really cool. Its a privilege and a responsibility, but it also keeps one grounded- its never about looking at me, but at looking at where I’m pointing.
The problem is that living in that way runs across or even counter to many of the things we’re used to valuing in our society- its anti-materialistic, anti-capitalistic, and anti-a whole lot more things. Although, its not, in case you are wondering, post-millienial nihilism… it doesn’t replace those things with nothing, but with the values of the kingdom of God. And if you’re wondering what those are… watch this space.