Back Home in Scotland

Finally . .. we made it back to Orkney on the ferry. Kids are in school today and we are trying to get organized in our new apartment  – no internet connection yet and no broadband for 10 days.

Dublin was a blast and a much needed halfway house on the way home. Things are really converging in Ireland with various groups coming together and good things in store for next year.

USA was a fast and wild trip. It was encouraging to see many of our friends find their place but also disheartening to see the general loss of vision that has plagued the American church. Many groups and ministries have given up on the Great Commission and have turned instead to beefing themselves up to prevent further loss of resources. This can only have a negative impact down the road.

Must get sorted out up here – internet, paperwork, fitting into our temporary home which is smaller than we remember it. Talk later when i get to the Stromness library.

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

16 Comments

  • The American Church

    From New Zealander/American/British/Scottish missionary An drew Jones: USA was a fast and wild trip. It was encouraging to see many of our friends find their place but also disheartening to see the general loss of vision that has plagued the American c…

  • andrew what made you come to the conclusion that their has been a loss of vision in America? I am only assuming you will blog on that… hopefully.
    so sad u didnt come to Nashvegas.
    shalom
    daniel

  • Andrew,
    I understand where you are coming from with regards to the loss of vision. I think it could be stated more correctly that the mainstream churches in America never lost their vision, they are just reaping the consequences of a vision that is off base. It saddens me to see a country whose churches talk about Christ and not to him. Who worship buildings and numbers. Where is the passion for Christ. I left a large community of apathy that was considered by many to be the cutting edge of the postmodern front, to join a small ragtag community that is so on fire for God and desires nothing but to worship and server him. I will take the 6 over the thousands any day. The world will only change when I decide that I am going to pursue Christ. I can’t set back and say Andrew will get them, my pastor will get them. That is the apathy that has crept into the church. The American church has excepted and embraced a mediocre relationship with Christ. Last time I checked that was called Lukewarm. So if you are looking for a spark of vision. Look to how Christ-like you are and go from there.
    e

  • I would love to hear more about what you observed in churches who have lost their vision of the Great Commision and look inward. Were these emerging churches you are talking about?

  • Well you certainly have our attention with your comment about the American church losing its vision for the great commission. The “come to us” disease is rampant in the American church for sure.
    However, I have found that a number of Christians and faith communities are trying to rediscover the great commission, but that’s just a small sampling of my circle. My friend Todd and his community at http://www.thewellpa.com is a good example of one group of Americans trying to figure out the great commission for today, but they are the exception more than the rule.
    I look forward to reading your thoughts on the American church. We’re glad that you made it back home safely and will be praying while you get settled in your new pad.

  • hi
    sorry i dont have time to expand (only have 5 mins at an internet cafe)
    yes – lots of great churches with masssive vision and capabilities . . . and i am proud to be associated with them . . but i continually came up against “theologies of being called to stay”, stragegies of pulling out of overseas missions to beef up the home base, loss of funding for new initiatives cross culturally and much more.
    nothing new, i know, but it kinda hit me when i wasnt expecting it.
    sorry to be negative. there is much to write home about regarding the american church and it still carries much of the weight for what God is doing all over.
    peace on america

  • Andrew, I think I understand what you are trying to say, so I provide a counterpoint:
    Theologies of being called to stay: Paul never left the political boundaries of the Roman Empire on any of his mission trips; therefore, from his example, an American Christian could live his or her entire life within the boundaries of the United States and be considered a missionary to the nations. Every nation is here, and more and more from every nation are coming.
    Why does this matter? Because many Christians may be “guilted” into going on overseas missions when they have nothing to contribute on the mission field. Indeed, some who go may be taking up resources that could better be allocated elsewhere so more could come to Christ.
    I think it is troublesome, though, when churches are pulling out of their overseas missions. But if the money is not being given, or the people in the pews are not willing to go, what other option is there? Perhaps offerings could be set aside and the church building could be sold, the proceeds placed in a trust fund, and the interest could pay for overseas missions after the church has closed its doors.
    Perhaps funding is being lost because older Christians are dying off, and Generation X Christians are tired of being considered cash cows. I do not know how many times I have perceived this kind of scenario: I am told I do not give enough money to a ministry, but I am told I work too much (to earn that money) to give my time to the ministry! Well, in many cases, you can have one or the other: my money or my time. I also like to DO things. Giving my money may pay the bills, but if there is nothing for me to do in the ministry, then I quickly lose interest.

  • yes – nice to be back home
    michael – thanks for your thoughts. i dont want to say too much right now because i am asking myself if there is something else going on that I dont see and God does.
    From my standpoint overseas, as someone involved in missions for the past 20 years, i see a lot of my peers packing up and going home because the mission boards have died or the denomination is re-strategizing . . . and i dont see them being replaced.
    but maybe God has something else up his sleeve. i need to think more on this before i speak critically. perhaps God is shifting the resources to other countries (yes) and using other organizations (including governmental) to acheive what the churches used to do, or maybe there are other reasons.
    but if USA does not throw out (ekballo) its key players then there will be no vision for those who send. but then, maybe i am just conditioned by my background and react that way out of knee-jerk response rather than prayerful searching . . . which is why i need more time.
    but thanks.

  • i can only guess what andrew is intimating to. but with respect to “theologies of staying,” i wonder if a perfect example of this is a recent step the baptist general convention of texas recently took regarding local church planting efforts.
    in short, the bgct decided to cut funding for its church planting arm in order to focus more on congregational growth. several of my friends, who work for and receive funding from a network in austin connected to the bgct and who consider themselves missionaries to the local culture, are casualties of the bgct’s decision to look inward and grow larger.
    i would consider this an example of a loss of vision, or a misguided vision, and certainly a “theology of being called to stay” (in the controllable familiarity of a growing congregational setting) rather than being called to incarnate the life of jesus in a cross-cultural situation (in the unpredictable landscape of post-christendom). so goes the bgct mindset at least…
    it also seems more accurate to say that u.s. missionaries to far away places have traditionally been lauded while those setting up shop right here in states tend to be misunderstood. hmm…
    looking forward to your thoughts, andrew.

  • in this neck of the woods, people are far more likely to give money to overseas missions than to invest in the mission within the neighborhood. so we have churches unwilling, unable to stretch and reach in MEANINGFUL ways to the communities around them. Hit-n-run ministry is much more comfortable…the neighborhood BBQ with school supplies, the VBS, things that don’t entail lasting commitments. I think we’re just seeing a (necessary) pendulum swing back to recognizing our own homes as a vital and viable mission front–where everyone can serve. Petroleum costs and social system cutbacks are making the needs in our communities even greater. That’s not to say cross-cultural missions aren’t valuable; but when resources are tight, choices must be made. Above all, I’d love to see less commitment to buildings and church-holdings …and free that money up for the real work.

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