The message of this book and its “bottom line” might spell the difference between the Christian church in our nation slowly fading into isolation and irrelevance or a Christian presence more present and dynamic than at any time in this country’s history … not the book itself but its message and the movement it can inspire.
“The book is “Joining Jesus on His Mission” and the simple message is: Jesus’ 21st Century disciples must stop trying to get hurting people into the church so He can love them and start bringing Jesus to the hurting neighbor so He can love and heal them where they are! As of this writing the “church” is often neither well aware nor well prepared for this emerging reality; this dawning spiritual truth. We tend to keep focusing on the “church” while Jesus keeps focusing on the neighbor.
Zion Lutheran Church has been, by God’s grace, a source and center of Jesus’ mission to love and heal hurting people for 117 years. But like much institutional Christianity in this country Zion either is or soon will be viewed by a fast growing number of unChurched in our nation (especially younger persons) as judgmental, naïve, political, exclusive and empty. Not only do these descriptions fail to understand the mission and ministry of Zion, but what is infinitely worse they absolutely fail to encounter or comprehend the presence, power and peace of Jesus Christ and the life He offers. Increasingly citizens of this nation do not seek real life in Christ and find it wanting, but perceive Christianity as worthless and never seek or try it.
A study, discussion and action on this growing new religious reality is critical to the future of not simply the somewhat academic reality of a failing mission for Christianity in our nation but the future of Zion congregation and our mission to those who do not know, do not care or do not trust either Jesus or His Church. This growing reality calls us to some rather significant and perhaps even major transformations in our lives as Christians. We want to begin to understand not only this new face of religion in America, but also our personal spiritual growth at Zion and the changing nature of our mission.
Beginning Sunday April 12th – the first Sunday after Easter – the congregation will gather each Sunday morning at 9:15 in the auditorium for 6 weeks to study the book which we have read, discuss in small groups around tables the material we have digested (or questioned) and together both seek the future in our own personal lives to which Jesus calls us and seek the Holy Spirit’s direction as Zion for our mission to join Jesus on His mission.
To say this is a watershed moment for Jesus’ mission and consequently for the church’s mission in the U.S. is not hyperbole. If anything it may be an understatement. Please set your clocks, your minds and your hearts for 9:15 Sundays April 12 – May 17 to “Join Jesus on His mission”.
This post is also available in: Spanish