I had a wonderful experience yesterday. I met with 25 emerging pastors and church leaders and Christians from South Africa who are here to learn how they can become more missional as Christians and churches in South Africa.
Dr Nelus Niemandt was my host and he seemed to be one of the prime organizers of this tour of the Midwest. They attended Willow Creek Saturday night, met with Tomas Bandy and then with me yesterday morning and with two others in the afternoon — and then they are off to Grand Rapids where they will be at a Calvin worship conference, spend some time with Rob Bell and Ron Martoia, and then they go to Washington, DC, to meet with Len Sweet. (TSK would have a link for each of these; sorry, brother.)
We had a good time together. The theme of my talk was to answer this question: What kind of gospel gives rise to the kind of spiritual formation we believe in? In other words, our “theory” of the Christian life is shaped by our “theory” of the gospel. In fact, the latter determines the former. I see lots of Christian leaders today trying to get Christians to be more active or more holy or more loving, but the gospel they preach does not lead to that kind of Christian life. I then tied together Embracing Grace (how I think we can shape the gospel in a more completely biblical way) and Jesus Creed (our theory of the Christian life).
We then had a good conversation about Jesus’ missionally-shaped kingdom and lifestyle.
I believe the essential missional question is this — and it needs to be asked by Christians, by families, and by local churches in their own particular context: How can I help?
And, I also gave a video-taped interview for a Christian TV station.
Dr. Stephan Joubert made a final comment, and then out of the kindness of their hearts, they presented to Kris and me two of these lovely pieces of cloth artwork.