“Every generation gets a chance to change the world. Pity the nation that won’t listen to your boys and girls’. Cause the sweetest melody is the one we haven’t heard. Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear? The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear. Oh, but a change of heart comes slow…” “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t go Crazy Tonight” by U2.
The more I’m around emerging generation church leaders, the more I’m hearing a new “melody”- especially regarding what the missional church should really look like. Over the past year I’ve had the privilege of spending some quality time with this new breed and they are definitely singing some melodies I hadn’t heard before. When discussing the possibilities of creating missional spaces where people could interact, some very clear “lyrics” began to emerge! Here’s a few to consider:
- Great coffee and a café setting is a great space for missionally intersecting and interacting with the lives of people. Of course, there are other possibilities for missional spaces, but one form of postmodern church planting could be a Cafe combined with a Co-Working Space. Each could have their own brand of coffee, provide work opportunities for people, offer memberships to small companies, produce revenue for the ministry, be a missional space for community and multi-site venues. Of course, many churches, in trying to be “relevant”, have a café; but we’re talking about the café and co-working space actually being the church- new “melody” I know, but it’s got a good sound in my opinion!
- Worship services don’t make a church a church; it’s far more about serving than services! This isn’t necessarily the first time this song has been sung, but emerging generation leaders have the potential to give these lyrics an entirely new tune. Almost all of churchdom emphasizes, promotes, and “sings” the Sunday morning “come to church” melody; which is essentially the very identity and substance of the church. Sure, Jesus showed up at Synagogues, but he spent the majority of his time as a servant leader in the marketplace, Paul too! What would a “church” look like if it was defined more by its “serving” than it’s “services?” I believe church planting teams, with a missional marketplace orientation and intentionality, equipped with a capacity for servant leadership, could create something very amazing.
- We need a ton of credibility in order for people in the marketplace to be willing to trust us enough to open the door to their personal lives- their dreams, goals, hurts, fears, pains, hopes… When, in the minds of the postmodern culture, the existing church has sung the same old song, over and over, and only with our mouths and not with our lives; or “singing” some song that doesn’t even make any sense, well, it’s no longer believable. Credibility is everything in the marketplace and in the postmodern context. Most people are now skeptical, if not critical, of just about everything, especially, the church. The only way we can restore credibility is to fully live out the character of Christ, display real compassion, and deliver on what we say we’re all about. These young leaders are cultivating credibility in the marketplace as they relationally connect with, and engage people in open, honest, non-judgmental conversation; where tough questions can be met head on and answered with proper attitudes and follow through actions.
Those are just a few “lines” of the “new song” I’m hearing these Mosaics and others like them, sing! And without question, there are more melodies stirring in their hearts that they’ve yet to sing- but once “sung”, they will create new paradigms of ministry and become the “theme songs” for a potential missional revolution! Imagine the possibilities if some of us “old guys” that represent previous generation church leaders would intentionally hand the mic over to these emerging adults, and crank up the sound so their unique melody have the opportunity to be loudly heard. That’s exactly what I’ve endeavored to do with XA Network, and what I hope to accomplish, along with our leadership, at Grace Community Church!
The fact is, the church in America is in dire straits (not the old rock band, but the challenging situation)! To me, the only hope any society, culture, or nation really has, is the “melody” of the next generation that is abandoned to the cause of Christ! When given the opportunity, these emerging generation leaders bring a fresh, energetic, creative, sometimes crazy, yet Spirit-inspired ideology to the church that is so desperately needed. When the emerging generation is not only embraced, but encouraged to “go for it”, it not only empowers them to truly live, but gives the transitional generation the satisfaction of setting them up for success! Consider Saul, he wanted to “slay” David (1 Sam. 18). Consider David later on, as he made the decision to “set” Solomon up for success (2 Sam. 7)! “Every generation gets a chance to change the world. Pity the nation that won’t listen to your boys and girls’. Cause the sweetest melody is the one we haven’t heard. Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear? The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear. Oh, but a change of heart comes slow…”
A “change of heart may be slow” for the established church, but one thing I’m counting on, along with many other leaders like myself that I know, is the courage to set the stage so the emerging generation can sing their song loud and clear!