Message from the President
Message from the President
Have you noticed? Things are quite different!
Some people say that we are living in a Post-Christendom mindset, others use a similar phrase: ‘After Christendom.’ Whatever you call it, we are living in a cultural time in which the church no longer plays the role it once did at the centre of society.
More and more Canadians have less and less Christian memory. They have, in many cases, decided we are irrelevant. Worse, they may simply be unaware that we even exist.
That is why the discussion and material in this issue of Tyndale: The Magazine is critical. This is the world God has placed us in and how we live and engage with it as people of faith is crucial. The word ‘missional’ and the frameworks behind that word may appear faddish—just another way to do church and be Christian. In fact, it is much more than that.
In many ways it is a recovery of the incarnational energy that enabled the early church to turn its world upside down. The early church believed that knowing Christ also meant taking on the redemptive mission of God to the whole world—to find identity not in some kind of holy huddle but in the marketplace, neighbourhoods, and the places they lived their lives. They realized that to do so they would have to become a ‘sent’ people.
This mission for the early church shaped an imagination in which its first inclination was not to form committees and constitutions but to be a people of the good news both in word and deed. The hope of the gospel in the New Testament was a church that lived this out with missional imagination and courage. That is the challenge for us today—to reimagine and rediscover the reckless abandon and costly discipleship of our roots; to find out where God is at work and join with God’s activity.
In this rediscovery, churches and people of faith are finding new passions. Young adults are moving into marginal neighbourhoods seeking to be incarnational in their witness of Christ. Others are discovering God’s concern for justice and still others have moved to a new way of introducing people to the possibilities of faith in Jesus Christ. To have a missional imagination is to have the heart of God who longs for people to come to Him, and for justice and righteousness to reign in this world. The times we live in, however, dictate that we may be spending a lot of time introducing ourselves to people and communities that do not know who we are.
To the exiles in Babylon the Prophet Jeremiah wrote words from God (Jeremiah 29:4-9) that speak to these times. He states clearly that it is He that brought them here and He calls them to settle down and live into the world he has placed before them. This is a great time to be the church. The challenge is found in whether or not we will engage the world to which God has placed us or hide from it. The challenge is to become missional.