I Could Use Your Advice

I have a friend who has planted a church in France.

He has told me that one of the things many French people struggle with, from a Christian perspective, is anti-supernaturalism. That is to say, faith of any kind is a struggle because of a tendency only to believe in what can be seen or rationalized.

If you were a Christian trying to make a difference there, what would you advise him? Could you even make a difference and create a life-giving church culture if you weren’t trying to shape people differently than the predominant cultural narrative?

I have another friend who has planted churches in Japan.

He has told me that one of the things some Japanese people struggle with, from a Christian perspective, is ancestor worship. That is to say, not just an honor and veneration of ancestors happens (which we in the West tend to undervalue), but in some cases, a belief in ancestors as divine beings to whom offerings are made has taken root, and that makes Christian faith a struggle.

If you were a Christian trying to make a difference there, what would you advise him? Could you even make a difference if you weren’t trying to shape people differently than the predominant cultural narrative?

I have another friend who has planted churches throughout Africa.

He has told me that one of the things some cultures there struggle with, from a Christian perspective, is the utilization of witches and witchcraft. Especially in times of crisis and fear, some people will turn to witchcraft, seeking a source of power to meet their needs and heal their bodies.

If you were a Christian trying to make a difference there, what would you advise him? Could you even make a difference if you weren’t trying to shape people differently than the predominant cultural narrative?

Now, let’s move over to the United States.

As a person who has helped plant a number of churches and currently leads one myself, I can tell you that perhaps the main cultural struggle Americans have is with a false narrative around freedom (see philosophers Charles Taylor and Francis Fukuyama, among many others). This shows up both in a consumeristic lens we overlay onto relationships, and a deepening tribalism whereby we define relational reality in purely self-expressive terms: everyone should think and believe like I do.

If you were a pastor trying to make a difference in the United States, with people laboring under false freedom narratives, what could you, would you, do to make a difference, to call the people of God to move upstream?

Here’s my answer:

You would call them to commit, not just to God, but to one another.

And that’s what, and that’s why, we believe in offering (and calling people into) a path towards membership within a local church.

We know Americans struggle with commitment, just like those people over there, or there, or there, struggle with that.

We don’t want to be consumers or leave people as consumers, or leave people pursuing the types of freedom for which Christ did not set them free–our heart, my heart, as a pastor, is for us to grow into people who can both give and receive–the marks of a mature soul.

In light of this, calling people into membership within a church body really is a way we can shape people into disciples of Christ.

To that end, our next membership course begins this Sunday! It’s a five-week process where people learn our mission, history (it’s kind of spicy, by the way!), vision and values, and it’s full of amazing teaching around foundational Christian doctrine from some of our very best teachers. While it seems like a lot, you should know that some of the consistently best feedback we get about anything at Mosaic are these classes.

I hope, if you haven’t already, you would consider, yes, joining.

And for those of you who are members, let me take a moment to remind you of the spiritual significance of the step you have already taken, and how much it really matters that all of us, myself and family included, do our part to ensure our community remains vibrant, healthy and welcoming for all those Christ would add to our body, in the way that he sees fit (1 Cor 12). In short, membership matters.

Blessings to you, and much love as we endeavor to follow Christ together as a community.

Morgan



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