Thursday, January 10, 2008

Calling for Reformission

I have begun reading "The Radical Reformission" by Mark Driscoll. Mark Driscoll says,

I am presenting this book as a contribution toward the furtherance of the emerging church in the emerging culture.
He says, "The reformission is a rdical call to reform the church's traditionally flawed view of missions as something carried out only in foreign lands and to focus instead of the urgent need in our own neighborhoods, which as filled with diverse cultures of Americans who desperately need the gospel of Jesus and life in his church. Most significant, they need a gospel and a church that are faithful both to the scriptural texts and to the cultural contexts of America."

I think Driscoll has alot to say here. We think of missions as something where we go on a trip to another place, but rather, there is an urgent need for missions right across the street, or across town, from where we live. Even in small towns, there are various subcultures within each community, and I don't believe we really do a good job at engaging and understanding those various cultures and subcultures in our community that may be different than hours. While the gospel is unchanging, perhaps the words we use and the methods we use to communicate the gospel may be different in within various cultures and subcultures.

Driscoll points to the passage of Jesus speaking to the Samaritan Woman at the well as a passage the speaks to cross cultural ministry. Jesus spoke to this woman, and asked for her to give him a drink. Driscoll points out that this was not a violation of scripture but it trampled religious moral dogma. That wasn't something that good Jewish man should do. So Jesus crossed cultural barriers, going to a place that the "religious" people would have condemned him for, spoke kindly to the woman, but then named her sin and spoke to her about living water.

This is a perfect example to us. Ministry is about going to the places that may be taboo in our culture and calling sinners out from their sin to a Savior who wants to saved them and make them new creatures. Driscoll poses 11 questions regarding this text and our ministry that I believe would do each of us good to answer honestly:

  1. Who do some Christians in your town, or the larger area in which you live, consider to be Samaritans? Why do you think some Christians dislike them?
  2. What parts of your town or area are like Samaria to you- the places you avoid because you do not like the people who live there?
  3. What were the Samaritan woman's sins? What do you think might be soe of the common sins among the Samaritans in your town?
  4. What pains must the woman's sins have caused her? What pains are your Samaritians' sins causing them?
  5. In your area, where are the Jacob's wells and pagan temples where the Samaritans hang out?
  6. What barriers did Jesus need to cross to evangelize the Samaritan woman? What barriers would you need to cross to connect with the Samaritans in your culture?
  7. What changes took place in the woman's lifestyle? What might change in the lives of the Samaritans in your town or are if they met Jesus and repented of their sinful lifestyles?
  8. Why do you think Jesus' disciples did not say anything when they saw him speaking with the Samaritan woman? What do you think some of your Christian friends my say if you befriended a Samaritan?
  9. Why was the woman at the well best suited to do mission to Sychar? Which people, if converted, would be best suited for mission in your town?
  10. What was Jesus' sense of urgency for harvesting souls, and do you and your Christian friends share his sense of urgency? Why or Why not?
  11. In what ways is your salvation story (or perhaps the story of someone you know) similar to the story of the woman at the well?
If we answer these questions honestly, I believe we will see that we are not crossing the cultural barriers in the same way that our Lord Jesus did, primarly because we care more about our reputation and image. Jesus was more concerned with saving souls than his reputation, that is why people wanted to kill him. I believe Mark Driscoll is onto something. While we need not abandon world missions, we need a reformission right here in our communities, speaking the gospel into the lives of the people in our culture, and in various subcultures within our community, calling them from darkness to light, and from death to life in our glorious savior Jesus Christ!


Exist-Dissolve said...

LoL, I was hoping this was going to be an article about missions work amongst defenders of the Reformation.

Oh well!

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Hey buddy!! Long time no see! How are you!?

gordan said...

Thanks for posting this, Joshua. I'd be lying if I said some of those questions didn't seem like volleys across my bow.

Josh said...

Hey Guys,
I apologize, this is off topic - sorry Josh, I enjoyed the article. I have become increasingly impressed with Driscoll - but I was interested in hearing how you would answer this question - what are the major differences between what Calvin and Wesley thought and taught?

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Josh...youll have to give me an email address to contact you...getting into Wesley vs. Calvin cant be done in just a post comment. Obviously, Calvin was Calvinistic, Wesley of the Arminian tradition, but there are other areas of disagreement as well. Email me, or send me an email adress, and we can chat about that.

Josh said...

rpavich said...

I agree with Driscoll...there is a lot of missionary work to do in our back yard.

I disagree however, with the reason that it's not being done...todays Christian is lazy and complacent. They care more about what man thinks of them than what Jesus does. They really don't believe the reality that preaching God's word is's now optional...