Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Seminoles, Road Trips and Missionality

This weekend, I did something I have never done before: I went on a mission trip without ever leaving the United States. Depending on where you live, you may feel like you leave the United States every time you pull into your own neighborhood, but my trip left me deeply contemplative.

Over the weekend, a group of 12 young adults and I drove down to Tallahassee, FL. to help launch a new church plant, The Well. This is a fast-growing church that is culturally relevant, but preaches the revealed truth of God's word without apology. The pastor, Dean Inserra, has become one of my best friends, and I cannot stress enough the potential he and his young church have.

They are one of the few churches I have been with that "get it." Unlike many "contemporary" churches, they don't believe sitting on a stool and singing "Shout to the Lord" make you culturally-relevant. When I say they "get it," I mean they understand that Americans are now living in - not approaching - a post-Christian culture and if we don't transform our thinking they church will continue to lose it's legitimacy.

This truth is as evident in Tallahassee as it is anywhere in the country. Tallahassee is not only the capital of Florida, it is a college town (FSU, Florida A&M, and TCC). Just take FSU, for example. Among the thousands of incoming freshman seminoles, 77% claim "no religious affiliation." In addition, only about 20% of Tallahassee residents will attend a religious service in a given week. But you wouldn't know this from driving through because the streets are littered with massive churches and massive, empty parking lots. I am convinced that churches must transform their thinking, and not just in Tallahassee.

One of the appealing things about the emergent church movement to me is that they grasp this concepts. They tell us that the United States is a mission field much like other countries in other continents. After all, how many of us even used the word "missional" before the gestation of emergent and emerging leaders?

The difference between evangelism and missions in American gets smaller and smaller. Like Dean and The Well, we must transform our minds and start being the church where we live, eat, work and play.

Does your church "get it?"

Tell me about your own mission field.


donnie said...

i can proudly say that i go to this church, also that this past weekend i got a better understanding that i dont need to leave my town to go on a mission trip, and that my mission field is right here in Tallahassee,FL. A big party town that needs to here about Jesus. I also would like to thank the singles from cross pointe who came down this weekend to help

Albert said...

Great article. It is eye opening to see that a mission field is not always overseas in some remote village with naked people carrying spears but can be at your local grocery store with broken hearted people.

Over the past 5 years I can say that I have been on at least 15 overseas missions trips. My trip to fl this past weekend caused me to open my eyes and a mission field here in my own backyard.

I miss you all in Tallahassee.

Steven said...

Going on this mission trip made me realize how little I do for God in my hometown. On this mission trip, we got the opportunity to serve God by serving others. Simply put, all we did was help freshmen move into their dooms. This simple act of serving gave us the opportunity to talk about Christ with our actions and if they would allow, even with our words. After helping so many people, I thought to myself how easy this was to step out of my comfort zone and help perfect strangers. After I came back to my hometown, I could not help but feel guilty for how little I actually do here for Christ. There are people hurting just around the corner and we as Christians need to take a step back from our busy lives and hear God nudging us to help.

Dean Inserra said...

I strongly believe that kingdom minded christians will change the world. Our good friends at Cross Pointe left a lasting impression of that great truth on The Well. We must change the way we think by refusing to go beyond what is written (legalism) and falling in love with our cities. Thank you Cross Pointe for loving our city and engaging it in a way that is very foreign to the traditional methods of Tallahassee Church culture. The Well is off to a great start and we are very grateful to our partner Church in metro Atlanta. May other churches follow Cross Pointe's example as a missional Church!

James said...

I have never been to the well (YET) but I am confident that there will be an impact on Tallahassee because of Dean Inserra's leadership and passion. And as for Cross Pointe, it has been completely refreshing to see my Dad's vision grow into a mission-focused church like few others in the Atlanta area. It is humbling to me to realize how little I do for the kingdom at all. If our greatest deeds are "filthy rags", I would have to admit that I wouldn't even have that many rags to offer at God's feet if I had to meet Him right now. That is something I really want to change.