Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Exponential 09 Day One

Erwin McManus, Alan Hirsch, Larry Osborne. That's a pretty good day. Today was the first official day of the conference, though yesterday I attended an intensive on forming a launch team. But that's pretty specific and you probably don't care about it. I have tons I could talk about, but McManus was too good not to share. So here it is.

This guy is amazing. I have seen him a couple times before (though probably not for the last 10 years) and I've read two of his books, both of which were life changing (The Barbarian Way, Unstoppable Force). His talk centered on a passage from Acts 17, a pretty well known one in church world where Paul goes to a place called Mars Hill and begins to talk to people there about the living God. He talked about three "spaces" in which Christians interact with the culture around us. The first space is a space we know very well. It's a space in which we are quite comfortable. If you read the passage, you notice that after Paul sees the idol worship and all that is going on there he goes to this first "space" - the synagogue. He goes to speak to Jews and "God-fearing Greeks". If you are concerned about a culture, and want to affect change - why do you go to the synagogue first? Again, it's the place that is most comfortable for Paul. Most often in the church we choose to address the needs in our culture from within the church. We hope that people will come to us and we can address them in a "space" in which we are most comfortable.

Thankfully, Paul doesn't stop there. He goes on to the second "space". This is the marketplace. The place of business, of real life. It's where we live and do everything that we do. It's here that Paul begins to address the culture where they live. This is the place Erwin urged us to be. He called us as the church to be functioning from this second "space". We can't expect to impact culture from within the first "space." Many churches, many Christians for that matter, fail to live their faith here in the second space.

And then there's the third space. The third space is a place that we cannot go unless invited. After speaking in the marketplace people are interested in what they are hearing and invite him to the third space. It's their space, and Paul is invited in. It's here that Paul refers to their gods, quotes their poets, and basically speaks their language. We have to earn the right to be invited into the third space. We earn the right to be brought into the discussion. Many of us try and force our way into this third space, and end up being completely ineffective - or even counter productive.

Erwin was very transparent with us. He shared of how difficult it has been for him as a leader in living out these kinds of things. He told of the death threats, the heretic hunters that constantly bombard him and even his children. And yet he courageously dared us to risk life in the second space. He called us to be willing to trade in all of the Christian approval in the world for the chance to introduce people in the marketplace to Jesus.

I love it Erwin. I'm in.


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More