I want to spend several weeks exploring the idea of where we are right now in the CGGC, particularly as we anticipate looking forward into the future and discerning where the Lord wants us to go and what He wants us to do as His people. Some of what I share will be from a broader view – where the CGGC reflects what’s going on across the larger evangelical church in North America. At other times, the sense will be much more specific to the CGGC and where we find ourselves in this critical moment.
As we start I think it’s important to recognize that we, as evangelical Christians, as followers of Jesus, are experiencing a shift to the fringe. The church in North America is no longer the center of the community and less and less at the center of power and influence in our society. I think it’s important to recognize this shift and understand what this shift will require of us in the years to come.
We live in a pluralistic society now. Christianity is no longer the only faith expression or perhaps even the dominant faith expression in our culture. There was a time when we might assume that there was a basic, shared understanding about matters of the Christian faith; that’s not the case today. When you were a part of the dominant faith expression, you had the luxury of being able to disregard other faiths or viewpoints as irrelevant. Today, we do not have that luxury. The sad reality is that most of us are ill-equipped to have a
Herein lies the danger: we want to keep acting as though we’re still in the center or still in power. You hear that sentiment in phrases like “let’s take back America” or “there are more of us than there are of them.” I hear these kind of expression often around many of my evangelical friends. Our posture in times like these becomes incredibly important if we’re serious about doing the work of the Gospel. Jesus is our model here with the incarnation. He came into our world without power, position or prestige. The early church was a fringe group lacking political power or social respect.
The world that is unfolding around us places us in conditions that look more like the time of Peter and Paul and the first-century believers. We don’t need to be afraid but we do need to understand where we are in this important moment. The challenges of our culture require a genuine humility and the posture of missionaries in a culture that’s not our own. This is a radically different posture than the position of privilege pleading with people to get back into line and follow the rules in order to give us the respect we’re rightfully due. Throughout history, we’ve watched the church of Jesus Christ thrive when it’s had to work from the fringes of society. We don’t need to be afraid of this moment, but we do need to understand the moment we’re in and how to faithfully follow Christ from the fringe.
CGGC eNews—Vol. 13, No. 3