Stretch Your Imagination

I’ve heard its good to do something that scares you every now and then and last night was that occasion for me. I was asked to speak to the young adults at Riverton Baptist… (Actually that doesn’t scare me half as much as speaking to lower high schoolers)

And the job was to slot into their mission series (based on GIA’s ‘Calling Charlie Program) and challenge them to think about the whole idea of contextualisation. Over the years I have discovered that its quite a stretch for us Baptists to think differently about mission and church, but for some reason my own journey has taken me right into the guts of this issue particularly as it relates to western culture.

The basic focus was to encourage them to be people who experiment, take risks and have courage when it comes to mission in the west. It is in our nature to play it safe, so giving permission or even pushing people ‘out of the nest’ is vital if we are going to do more than business as usual.

I presented a series of innovative mission endeavours and that I knew would gradually stretch people’s thinking and acceptance more and more, starting with our own story with Upstream and working thru to ‘Mission in Second Life’, a virtual online mission field / church. I’m pretty sure the noise in the room dropped a little and the temperature in the room rose a little each time I moved further and further into more unfamiliar territory, which probably means I was hitting the right issues.

At the end of the talk I was about to sit down and get ready to drive home when I felt one of those Holy Spirit nudges / elbows in the guts.

I sometimes find myself driving to churches or speaking events wondering ‘really – what’s the point?’ Some days I honestly feel like I am wasting my time because all that I feel happens is that people say ‘hmmm… interesting… nice for you, but we’ll just keep about business as usual’. Its a frustrating experience and one that I wanted to confront last night.

So I did. I finished by telling the crew of 150 or so that I was worried that I was wasting my time and that I had grown a bit cynical about whether anyone actually wanted to do anything with the ideas, or whether it would simply get filed in the ‘wacko’ basket. I didn’t want to come across rude, but I don’t want to be an entertainer either.

I invited people to stand up and be counted if they felt God stirring them on this and if they wanted to actually do something with it. About 10 people stood up, which was pretty encouraging, and the conversations afterwards showed that for a small number there a fire had been lit that would continue to encourage them in their own missionary journey.

Here’s hoping we will continue to unearth new missionaries to the western world, willing to do whatever it takes to share the love of God with a tough secular society.

8 thoughts on “Stretch Your Imagination

  1. Wow, you really took a risk at the end. Way to go, Hamo!

    Though I have not walked nearly as far as you, I have grown weary of trying. I came to terms with not trying to change my church, but just to try serving in any way I could. A week ago, I had a powerful experience of being freed from despising my church.

    But then last night, a fellow I don’t know left a comment on that post. It shook me awake. Now I am scared, because every time this has stirred in me, it has only led to frustration.

    But I guess I have to stand up and be counted. What else can I do?

    (If you made slides to go with your talk, could you share them?)

  2. hi Jon – no great notes I am afraid!

    TSK – I know, but sometimes I feel like people need to put something on the line. A response may actually lead to real action in the future… woohoo!

  3. Action makes it more likely that someone will reach out for guidance and discipleship.

    Have a good long weekend, peoples.


  4. Its a small world-wide-web world … I have been researching coffee machines in particular the Sunbeam EM 6910 and via Coffee snobs, to Cafe Grendel then to .

    I believe you picked up the machine for $300 in the quoakka and then sold it it …may I ask why? And do you have a coffee machine now?

  5. That’s weird – I thought Grendel blogged that she bought it from you…???

    have you got a good grinder as well? How regualrly do you use it…?

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