Gabe Lyons – Catalyst 2010

We started this Catalyst thing 11 years ago. The first Catalyst took place in 2010. In the last decade, our culture has produced dramatic sea change. It’s nothing short of enormous. The first Catalyst happened pre-9/11. We must look forward and start to look at the things that are creating this change, if we are going to be on mission.

What is happening in this next generation and know how to equip and empower the next generation.

You have to understand this idea of postmodern. It’s a skepticism toward certainty. How can you possible know the way, the truth, and the life. When we approach that way, the walls start to go up.

You complicated that as your culture has become post-Christian. The church is no longer at the center of culture/life. The church is now on the sidelines trying to get in.

The last element is the idea of a pluralistic setting. Our country was founded on the idea of religious liberty, but the Judeo-Christian way of thinking has dominated the public square until recently. Today all faiths are celebrated, not just tolerated. Everyone is in the discussion about the future of our communities and cities. We have two choices. To react out of fear and try to win the culture war or understand that this is the new normal and understand how the Gospel can gain traction in this circumstance.

We’ve interacted with culture in a couple of key ways recently. To separate and just hang out with people like me. To fight the enemy when confronted. The other approach is to be cultural. To just become like the world. The label of Christian is just a cultural identity to get them through.

There’s a new story about how Christians are interacting with the world. We don’t really have language for this. It takes us all over the place. How does the Gospel go forward when we’re just running around doing good deeds. We’re not going to separate, although we need to be holy and pure. We’re not going to conform regardless of what the Gospel says. We’re going to come along and restore. One of the biggest questions we’re going to have to answer is to figure how the Gospel enters the world we’re in.

As we look back over the last century, our interaction has been understood only by fall and redemption.  We’ve missed creation and restoration.

Creation -> Fall -> Redemption -> Restoration

Our good deeds have largely disconnected from the work for Christ, but the restorers have led us to understand that once we’ve been redeemed our role is to bring about restoration.  The Gospel is something that can be embodied and lived out.  Paul says that God gave to us the ministry of reconciliation.  This is the call of the restorer.  He doesn’t give up on the Gospel.  The restorer understands that first things are first things.  It’s because of the good news, because of the Gospel of Christ that we’re called to launch out into the world and restore.

These people aren’t offended by sin.  They roll up their sleeves and engaged.  They actually do something about it.  They don’t just critique.  They create.  They create culture, organizations, magazines, churches, schools.  They get involved.  The use their talent combined with the burden in their heart to be about the work of restoration.

The Next Christians are really recovering this idea of calling. That Christ might actually want to work through them to bring the Kingdom of Christ to come. As pastors there are tons of people coming to us struggling with meaning and purpose. They’re working their 9-5 to fund things that they feel like really matter. They can’t wait to plug in to do what they feel like Christ really wants to do through them.

We have to understand that every single person in our churches are out working in the world. No matter what they’re doing.  The people who are sitting in your church have felt like they’re showing up to serve the church.  The church must recognize that when we look out at the church, we’re looking at people who are already on mission.  You probably haven’t pulled them up on stage like the missions team.  You haven’t pulled up the teacher to pray for her because you’ve realized she’s on mission.

The heart of God is for everyone to understand their calling and mission in the world.  As we look back, we can see seven channels of influence.

William Wilberforce worked with politicians and artists to end slavery.  In the last 20 years the gay movement has had strategically placed leaders in media, business, etc.  But as you look at these seven channels, the only one bringing together the other six every week is the church.

Can we invert the model of the pastor looking out at the congregation that feels jobless, like they have nothing to do in the church, but inspire people to go fill the mission that God has for us.

We learned that our unborn daughter likely had Down syndrome. 90% of our unborn children who are determined might have Down syndrome are terminated because they’re unwanted. I grew up in a group with a separatist mentality, but when I wanted to address this issue, we raised some money and got a photographer to come in and photograph kids with Down syndrome so that people could see how wonderful these children are. We gave them to Ob/Gyns to give to their patients so they could show them to parents so that they could see what the lives of these children are like. This one little booklet we put together has been approved by the Ob/Gyn Association of America as the only thing to be given to parents. Sometimes you’re deep in the work of your calling and your calling finds you. We’ll find that part of our calling as Christians isn’t just to state the Good News but to embody it.

Isaiah 58:9 – You shall be called repairer of broken walls, restorer of streets to dwell in.

The next generation of Christians isn’t leaving your church because they don’t want to be Christians but because they want someone to come alongside them to help them understand what it is to be Christians in this world.

Posted at 11:01 AM on October 8th, 2010
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Perry Noble – Catalyst 2010

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