Yesterday the city of Calgary held its' municipal elections. I made several observations about this experience that I believe are key for the Christian church to understand in terms of discipleship and spiritual transformation.
1. Diversity - Diversity is our friend, not our enemy. When you think about how to engage people in the pursuit and relationship with Jesus Christ, diversity is the key. As someone who seeks to communicate God's truth in a relevant and inspiring fashion, I must be willing to change up my methodology in order to reflect the emerging culture that I am seeking to engage. There are times when we can view diversity as a negative thing. My family is ethnically diverse. My son is adopted and is of African-American background. What we as a family have learned is that the diversity we enjoy as a family unit is more enriching and powerful when we focus on how we are similar more than how we are different. While it is important to celebrate our uniqueness, we must also seek to build bridges where we are similar. As we continue to try and engage youth and disciple them in the way of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to embrace diversity in our methodology (teaching, leading, experiencing, etc.). Diversity helps to keep things fresh and brings the mystery of God back to the forefront of the Christian way of life.
2. Digital Jesus - If the church (and youth ministry in particular) is unwilling to represent an accurate image of Jesus Christ in the digital world, the image of Jesus may become distorted. This emerging generation communicates online. We share product reviews, stories, thoughts, feelings and a whole lot more digitally. As the body of Christ, we must understand that it is as important to demonstrate who Jesus is online as it is to demonstrate who He is offline. We need to embrace technological advances and see them as additional resources to aide us in our mission to share the gospel of Christ with the world at large. The scary thing is that if the church isn't leading the way in regards to shaping the digital image of Christ, it will be done by others...and the picture they create may mar the image of Christ and create more room for negativity in the realm of Christianity.
3. Authority - All authority that is given on earth comes from God. Whether or not we fully agree with another person's set of values, we must remember that God is in control, and His sovereignty is supreme. I'm learning more and more that authority and leadership test one's character. When we are responsible for not only ourselves, but a group of others (family, friends, etc.), it is our character that will lead us to success or failure. As followers of Christ, our character formation (our identity) must be rooted in our personal relationship with Him. Often times when we experience a failure of character, it is because we have rooted our worth and identity in something other than Christ.
Together can we lead the charge for change and become champions for the cause of Christ in the process of discipleship?