From the Pastor…
A month or so ago I was part of a group of Lutheran pastors who got together to talk about a new book that has come out entitled, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory. In this book, author Tod Bolsinger states that the culture is changing, the world is changing rapidly, and churches are facing change on an unprecedented scale. Churches and church leaders are becoming increasingly irrelevant, even marginalized. Shared corporate faith is viewed with cynicism at best, and hostility at worst. The cultural advantage we experience during the seventeen centuries of Christendom has almost completely dissipated. Seminary training for the Christendom world is inadequate to this immensely challenging, and transformation demanding, moment in history. In other words, we have to learn to lead and minister all over again.
In his book, Tod Bolsinger uses the illustration of Lewis and Clark’s expedition to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. The problem was that the expedition was built on a completely false expectation. They believed, like everyone before them, that the unexplored west was exactly the same geography as the familiar east. For example, they didn’t expect to run into the Rocky Mountains, which meant that their canoes, which worked for the first part of their journey, were now useless. The book is the story of what they did when they discovered that they- and everyone else before them, had been wrong. And how instructive and inspiring that story can be to us today.
The point is that the church is also at an exciting crossroads. We are entering a new day, new terrain and a new adventure. We are not alone. The spirit of God goes before us. The mission of Christ will not fail.
A day will come when the “Kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). The steps ahead are going to be demanding. More than anything, this moment requires those of us who are ministers and members to embrace an “adventure-or-die” mindset, and find the courage to develop the capacity for a new day. We are heading into uncharted territory and are given the charge and challenge to lead a mission where the future is nothing like the past.
Looking Forward to the Future,