Bosch has an interesting section in his chapter on “The Missionary Paradigm of the Eastern Church”, where he discusses the relation between the church and mission in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. In understanding missional paradigms, it’s important to understand the “why” behind the “what”. This becomes very important during the medieval paradigm. The Orthodox paradigm may seem rather inert compared to present day enterprises, but I think they deserve credit for stressing the oneness of the church so much in their understanding of mission. Sometimes it’s easy (dizzying really) to look at all the missional endeavors, justifications, and causes today and forget that there is a unified, organic, concrete whole that functions as the container of God’s blessing and the expression of His grace. When that corporate vessel is endangered, maybe it’s time to reevaluate what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
In a sense we’re all Timothys. We learn from those who are ahead of us- our spiritual fathers and pioneers in the journey we’re on. We are inheritors, and we have a debt of gratitude to pay off. I am especially indebted to the people from Christians on Campus at the University of Texas for the experiences that have shaped my faith and guided me in my pursuit of Christ and the church.
Christians on Campus is a startlingly vibrant and eclectic group of Jesus lovers who truly believe “what starts here changes the world.” They present diverse and dynamic opportunities for students to grow spiritually through eye-opening Bible study, daily fellowship, engaging outreach, and living in community. This certainly was my first impression of them as a freshman.
However, the survival of the Christian faith and believers living a society-impacting church life, historically, has not depended on professional marketing or hip adaptations of Christ’s teachings to make them more relevant. These have hurt more than helped.
God’s word has prevailed during the last 2,000 years because of its essence- spirit (John 6:63). God doesn’t need us to breathe fresh life into a failing institutional system. He wants us to breathe God in as the Spirit through His word. God gives the Spirit without measure.