Guest Blog by Dr. Randy Rowland of Christian Reformed Home Missions
North America has gone to the world in Mission and the world has come to North America. Call it globalization if you like. The reality is that with decreasing spiritual zeal, evangelistic fervor, and shrinking congregations, North America has become one of the largest mission fields on the planet. Outside of a handful of geographic colonies highly populated by Christians, Reformed or other traditions, we are situated in a profoundly neo-pagan setting.
Acknowledging this cultural shift in North America is difficult for many highly churched people. But, the fact is that we have vast regions that are so un-churched, under-churched (occasional visits) and de-churched that we will only win souls, transform lives and transform communities through missionary enterprise which entails some ministry shifts.
A shift from pastor as shepherd/chaplain to pastor as missionary in community.
A shift from pastor as theologian to pastor as theologically informed cultural anthropologist
A shift from Christian communicator to Christian apologist and worldview articulator
A shift from congregation as community to congregation with larger community.
A massive re-focusing of energy on developing indigenous leaders to serve the many ministries of Christ’s church.
A shift from church programs to strategic partnerships for the Kingdom of God within local communities.
A shift from consumers of religion to bearers of the image of God in a godless marketplace.
Books are being written on these shifts. They are all serious considerations. At the same time, we must remain resolute in keeping our biblical/theological center and we must continue to engage the faithful to prevent church shrinkage. A large task? Not at all. It’s a huge and daunting task! And, this is the task to which we are privileged to be called.