Touché November 6, 2015
Posted on November 6, 2015 by under Touché,

 

The Next Christians

“I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”  (Jesus)

This week I have invited Ben Harrington, a young father and a new member, to share a vision of his hopes for this church that his daughter, Elly, was baptized into a couple of weeks ago.  It will be the conclusion of a series within the Sermon on the Mount on “The Next Christians.”  There are exciting things happening in American Christianity that respond to the end of Christian America with a sense of hope, a sense of light and a sense of life.  I am seeing it in so many new and unexpected ways. It finds its roots in the recovery of the gospel and the healing of creation.  I had the joy of meeting with three young church planters who are moving into the Northeast. They represent the Next Christians to me.  It is a great time to celebrate the Gospel.

Gabe Lyons in his book: “The Next Christians” outlines six themes taking shape in American Christianity that reflect the work of God’s restoration.  He says that these restorers are:

  • Provoked, not offended: Restorers see the evil and the lostness of our world in some of the darkest places, but choose to light a candle instead of curing the darkness.  Many people have felt cursed by Christians; restorers are provoked to work for healing and blessing.
  • Creators, not critics: Restorers work within mainstream culture to see the transforming work of God celebrated in the arts, in music and in science.  Instead of being defined for what they are against, they are defined by what they are for.
  • Called, not employed: For too long the church has seen “professional” ministry as the highest calling and those who work in “secular” employment as those who work to pay the bills of ministry.  The restorers are those who see their calling in the market place and the community and not just the church.
  • Grounded, not distracted: A recovery of the ancient spiritual practices which center our lives in Christ needs to be foundational for everything we do.
  • In community, not alone: We live into this together.
  • Countercultural, not relevant: The contrast of Christianity is an attraction reflecting conviction to a different way of living that brings blessing to life.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is laying the foundations for a community of restorers that live on this earth with the kingdom of heaven as a guide.  It is exciting to hear this message; it is even more exciting to see this message lived out in church planters and young Christians.  It is morning in America for the Christian Church.

In Hope,

Taylor