Last week I had the opportunity to spend three days with about 50 small group point people (and one guy from Arkansas) at The Lobby, Canada, an event sponsored by and for people involved in the Small Group Network. This was an amazing experience, one that will linger in my heart and mind for months to come.
These amazing people serve churches of all sizes and their passion for Jesus is unwavering. They aided me in understanding what it means to pastor in a truly post-Christian culture. One of these wonderful people described the culture by making a statement something like this, “If you were sitting around a table with a group of Canadians and a discussion concerning a life issue came up and someone stated, “The Bible says…,” that person would be considered by those around the table as less than intelligent, even ignorant of the reality of thinking people. While many of you who are reading this are thinking, “That’s no different than the culture I pastor in.”, I would beg to differ with you. In most parts of the Continental United States, there is still a strong leaning toward Judeo Christian values and thus, the average person wouldn’t consider you completely out of sync with real life although you might be considered a fanatical Christian.
Some of the things I learned from these incredible church leaders would include:
- Joy in Christ is possible no matter how difficult the culture you minister in.
- Living a counter-cultural lifestyle isn’t martyrdom, it’s a believers obligation and an opportunity to bear one’s cross for the cause of Christ.
- When going against the cultural grain, it’s important to be in Christian community with other believers who are also living counter-culturally.
- Having an unwavering faith isn’t an intellectual pursuit, it demands knowing Jesus personally, not just logically.
- Everyone, even a short, overweight church consultant, is an instant brother when you are an outsider in an insider world.
LOVED every minute of my experience with my incredible brothers and sisters in Canada… eh!?