Mission: Intimacy “What are opportunities to grow in intimacy with our community?” We continue to address this important topic with our contributor Ryan Sanders. He brings out several points that I believe are very significant in how we live out our Christianity. Thank you, Ryan, for this great reminder!
Opportunities by Ryan Sanders
Our culture is becoming increasingly secular and, in more and more instances, even hostile to faith. This isn’t news. The decline of cultural Christianity is a dour and well-worn story. But the demise of our cultural clout might also bring the rise of our greatest opportunity. After all, throughout the ages, the church has grown fastest when she faced the longest odds. Even today, the fastest-growing Christian populations are in countries where our faith is discouraged or outlawed. The importance of our opportunity grows as its rarity increases. The more our community looks strange to our neighbors, the more opportunity we have to proclaim the gospel of love and grace.
This, I think, is one of the most important drivers behind the growing trend of community mission in the church now. Community gardens, missional communities, and bar churches are not successful only because they’re small and local. In many cases, they are also successful because they present a way of living — a deeper personal connectedness — that is strange to the communities they serve.
In all of Christianity’s current infatuation with relevance, I wonder if we might be missing the biggest opportunity for growth: irrelevance. I wonder if our unbelieving neighbors would respond better to an intimate community that doesn’t need to be cutting-edge, than to culturally adroit community that doesn’t need to be intimate. I wonder if our flat screens and smoke machines might be shrouding the more simple truth that Jesus promised: they will know us by our love. Jesus promised: they will know us by our love. Click To Tweet
Thank you, Ryan, for joining with us at Mission: Intimacy, helping us to get a better understanding of God’s design for relationships.