Last week I was hanging out with some of the smartest people on the planet kicking around how we can help fulfill the great commission by the end of this decade (I was there to keep the water glasses filled and to clean up spills). Out of that conversation came this simple phrase,
“A healthy, culturally-relevant church available to every person on earth by the end of 2020.”
I love this phrase. The simplicity and audacity remind me of some of the great rallying cries of the past century; “A man on the moon by the end of the decade”, “A computer on every desk”. If we accomplish this one thing we will have changed the course of history.
So let’s break this phrase down to see if it works. First, what is a healthy church? It begins with theology. A healthy church teaches a theology that does not veer far out of the mainstream of historic Christianity. Arminians are in, Calvanists are in, but unfortunately Mormons are out. A healthy church has a process which helps people become mature disciples of Christ. And finally a healthy church, like any healthy organism, reproduces.
What about that culturally-relevant phrase? Isn’t that just ooey-gooey rewarmed seeker speak? Not at all. Every effective organization is culturally relevant. If Toyota decided to print owners’ manuals only in Japanese they would be out of business. An effective church speaks the language, understands the customs and honors the traditions of the culture it is trying to impact.
“Available to every person on earth.” There are over 3500 people groups with no significant Christian influence. At some point we will have to decide we have enough mega-churches in Atlanta, Dallas and Orange County and get serious about planting new churches at the ends of the earth.
So how we will pull this off by the end of 2020? I have no idea, but I’m in good company. When President Kennedy promised a man on the moon and Bill Gates proposed a computer on every desk they idea how it would happen. But they created incredible teams that accomplished the impossible. And it doesn’t hurt to put a date on it.
So what do you think, can we do it? Are you in?