The Seminary Chronicles #1: Missiology

John Lynn,church planting

Welcome to The Seminary Chronicles, where I journal the seminary experience as Courtney advised me to.

Today in missiology we learned about a man named Donald McGavran. His contribution to missiology was a book entitled "The Bridges of God." I haven't had the opportunity to read the book, but apparently he made some interesting observations about Indian converts to Christianity.

He observed that Christianity brought together members of different castes into diverse "aggregate" churches. Normally these people wouldn't have associated with each other due to the caste system, but now the kingdom of God had brought them together (typically in cities). However, they didn't seem to be effective in evangelizing their local villages and communities because they had become part of this new aggregate church community instead. We may not have a caste system, but I wonder if we could find some parallels with American churches.

It's really easy to live life in a church bubble (nevermind the seminary bubble)- especially for the "engaged" church members who are trying to be involved. There's the Sunday service, the Tuesday night Bible Study, youth group on Wednesday, and Thursday you're grabbing coffee with that teenager you're discipling. If you work from home, you probably don't have a lot of meaningful relationships with your coworkers either. Without intentionality it's possible to live life without spending time with non-Christians.

I don't want to say that this is just laziness either- I'd like to be intentional and evangelize in my neighborhood, but if I'm the only Christian there, that's a really intimidating task. Plus, in a commuting culture we really don't spend that much time there.

Back in Seattle I had to drive 30 minutes to church. My church was never located in the same city (let alone the same neighborhood) where I lived or worked. There were reasons for this- there aren't sound churches on every corner, the apartment culture didn't encourage knowing your neighbor- but it makes me wonder what Christianity would be like if churches were more local.