Sunday, December 14, 2008

reverse mission opportunities

On my last post I wrote about what we could / should we consider doing differently regarding missionaries from North America. I work in Europe. Many people describe Europe as being post Christian. This is not to say that there are no believers here. This is not to say there are not churches here. Both exist but in smaller numbers. It is saying that many people believe that Christianity was tried here and does not work. Others may simply reject it or dismiss it or say it can be one of many choices.

Ministering in this context is quite a challenge. I must admit that my previous experience in the states focused more on attracting people to church. Now when I hear of people coming to Europe to “teach” us the latest attractional model I know I can sometimes be skeptical of such. For the attractional model assumes that people actually are looking for a church. This is not the case here.

BUT... what if…

I had a conversation with a worker yesterday and he gave me a neat idea. Part of my role is helping churches in North America connect with Europe. What do you think of when I say that? I know for me I use to always think that this means that we need a church in the states to come and HELP a church in Europe.

What if we reversed that? What if we had a church in America partner with a church in Europe not to be the great hope but to actually be a “learner”?

What if the church here in Europe could help you? Here is the idea on this. If North America is following the path of post Christian Europe could we not learn from some expressions of faith and community in Europe? How are they thriving or not amidst the world they are living in? What are they learning about the attractional model in a post Christian context? What can we learn from them that would better prepare our churches here in North America to reach our communities?

Anyone looking for such a partnership?


tto said...

Larry or the Great Networking Strategy Guy:
Great idea about learning from one another. For many of our churches, this type of 'give and take' is an issue of respect. They feel like the poor, ignorant, 3rd world natives when partnerships don't involve learning from one another. And they have plenty to offer.



Anonymous said...

If you know any one in Europe who is willing and feels called to come to TN as a "missionary" send them my way.

Larry said...

I will keep a look out for someone who would be interested in that. I do know of a church who brought on an intern from abroad who studied with them. I think he was brought there to learn about church planting in the states but ended up helping them understand the post Christian culture. If you like send me an email and we can talk more about some places to look.