I've been reading James Emery White's latest book, 'Rise of the Nones.' His provocative attempt to shape churches and lives in order to reach the irreligious who state 'none' to the religion question on their census forms.
Quite simply, to reach an increasingly post Christian generation, authentic Christians are needed to grow up as quickly as possible.
In our local church, we are learning that the emphasis on creating a discipling culture is with this real Missional purpose - It is in order to create genuine followers of Jesus in community, that make his message very real and attractive to those who currently consider him irrelevant to their lives.
This fabulous quote from James Emery White summarises so well what we are aiming at. It contains a quote within a quote, a Bill Hybels bonus from his book,'Courageous Leadership.'
"Hybel's gathers his final thoughts:
'There is nothing like the local church when it's working right. It's beauty is indescribable. It's power is breathtaking. It's potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens it's arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the disillusioned. It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed, and offers belonging to the marginalised of this world. Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness.'
This is what we have been called to give our lives to, and in order to change the world, we must give our lives to it. Until we have this vision coursing through our veins, we will never be able to cast it before a watching world of 'nones' who dismiss it as irrelevant at best and harmful at worst."