In 1804, in an effort to find a water passage across the Louisiana Territory to the Pacific Ocean Thomas Jefferson commissioned the Corps of Discovery Expedition lead by Meriwether Lewis and his Second Lieutenant, William Clark. This expedition took most of two years, but they found their way to the Pacific Ocean. They brought back detailed writings of the territory and people as well as maps to further exploration. These maps opened the door for others to explore this strange new world.
Today, the church finds itself facing another “new world,” a world in which access to information is instantaneous and learning has changed, but with the great changes in our technology, we find great dangers around every corner. Because as knowledge has increased, wisdom seems to be on the decline. We need people who are willing to make the trek into the unknown and bring back maps and understanding (however limited) so that we might expand into these new territories and safely discover the beauty and wonder there.
We need pioneers and cartographers.
We need pioneers, those willing to go into the unknown, but as with Lewis and Clark, we will find it is not unknown but only unmapped. Therefore, we need cartographers to help us bring others along with us.
The rising generations are, as described by Tim Elmore in his book Marching off the Map, EPIC: Experiential, Participatory, Image driven, and Connected. This changes the way they learn and the way they interact with the world. It also means that the church will need to dramatically change its methods if we truly desire to teach them the life-changing truth of Jesus Christ.
For too long, we have slowly adjusted the way we “do church”. Many have even claimed that these changes are just “letting the world determine who we are.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The church has a mission, it has never faded or died, but each generation is responsible to carry that mission in their own time.
The message, the good news, that God’s kingdom with all its rights and responsibilities is now available by the sacrifice of Jesus and the proclamation following His resurrection from the dead is too valuable for us to not find whatever ways we can to communicate it to a new generation that learns differently from our own.
Those who find a way through this new territory will not only set the stage for the next growth of the church, they will set the stage to save thousands if not millions and even billions of souls.
We need those willing to face the dangers, try the unprecedented and chart the course for the church to follow, so that the gospel will continue to increase.
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