Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The 21st Century

What the 21st century needs, particularly in our American context, are not better policies, programs, and governmental support and funding...though all that can be good. What the 21st century needs is the church. Not the church as an institution and not the church as a place where people go. But the 21st century needs a group of Christ-followers will come together in the name of Jesus to say:
--We refuse to follow the gods and powers of this world. We will not bow to them. We will not be controlled by them. Jesus is our Lord.
--We will live as people committed to pray. Not just the phrases that have stuck with us, "Guideguarddirect" or "Forgive us our many sins" or "please be with Sister Tori's sister whose friend from the beauty salon is going to the dentist this week." What we need are people who will come together to get on their hands and knees in order to pray for the Kingdom of God to come. We need people who will pray for Christ to be formed in every heart and mind.
--We need people who will be people of justice--Pray for justice. Work for justice. Fight for justice.
--We need people who will refuse to be defined by American values and principles. There is an enormous difference between people who see themselves as American Christians and people who see themselves as Christians who just happen to be American. (more on this in a few days)
--We need people who will refuse to be pew-Christians. Christianity cannot be lived within the 4 walls of the church. The church must exist in the community. We need to follow Jesus as the one who "became flesh and moved in among us."

What would you add?


Topher said...

--We need people who will sacrifice the safety of suburbia to live within the urban poor.
--We need Christian businessman who seek fair wages for their lower-level employees.
--We need fewer campaigns to build new worship halls and fancy new buildings and more campaigns to develop infrastructure for our local communities, schools, homeless, orphans, widows, and single-moms.
--We need professionals who will use their skills to serve all those in need rather than just those who can afford to pay.

Anonymous said...

Strong words Josh and you as well Topher. Equally challenging and blessing.

--we need dreamers to emerge in the church. People who do not only see what is but what can be.

--we need churches willing to model the neighborhoods they live in. Groups that are not content to be white and middle class with poverty and diversity all around them.

--we need a place during worship for people, ALL people, to come and share their journey, struggles, triumphs, frustrations, hopes, and fears.

--we need to be a people that are close and real enough to have genuine community which will almost always breed accountability and growth.

--we need people willing to stand up for the least of these.

--we need churches that aren't scared away by people that don't look, talk, and act like them.

--we need people who are not just willing to *believe* in Jesus but to actually *follow* him.

Anonymous said...

First of all I want to say that your post just made the front page of our bulletin this week. Thanks!
You've reminded me of the Casting Crowns song, "What This World Needs".
And of course, the message of that song is that above all else, the world needs a Savior.

Great blog!

Josh Ross said...

Chris Thompson,
Great thoughts. Your words come from a heart that has been touched by the mercy and compassion of God.

Chris Fields,
Your words speak directly to the heart of the church. You are living it.

Haven't heard the song from Casting Crowns, but I'm going to now. Thanks for the call this morning. I'll give you a call in the next day or two.

Luke said...

Good list-

I would add we need people who will forgive.

I would also add something about being people who dream of what could be...but I think someone already took that one.

Kim Chapman said...

We need people who have compassion for others.

We need people who will meet others where they are and love them as Jesus would.

Karen said...

- We need Christians who are honest (even transparent) and do not appear to "have it all together". Many seekers feel out of place when they visit - like they don't belong... like no one there would accept them.