Duet with Erwin McManus

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Thanks Subvergence for this interview with Erwin McManus. I’ll try to duet with his thoughts and maybe make some harmony 🙂 (Erwins gems in bold, my pebbles in italics)

“World views are far more important than generations. You have to understand the material from which a person is shaping his or her world view and how to speak to this emerging world view that is formed from multiple, conflicting views of reality.”

I’m attracted this proposal especially here in Malaysia. I found few really aware of the nuances of the modern/postmodern discussion and though using generational catergories might be helpful, I find it can also easily distract us from a more holistic approach. So, while being aware of the premodern/modern/postmodern lens, and also the generational lens … trying on the worldview lens I think will move the conversation forward and across borders better.

“Every human has God placed evidences within their soul. Postmodern evangelism is extracting those evidences from the soul and show them to them. I say, ‘Inside you is a craving you need to listen to.'”

I’m still intrigued why many Malaysian Christians and churches are locked into the idea of Evangelism that’s actually “trapped” in modernistic-rationalistic-enlightenment bound ideas and we’ve never really passed through that phase (in depth at least). So, something like what Erwin says here though actually resonates with many of us, some might fight it strange or “New Age”? A dose of Paul in Athens (cf. Book of Acts) might relief that fear! For the more adventurous, extra nourishment in Missions history or MIssion theology will do lots of good too!

“Its not about structures, strategies, programs or patterns. If you don’t rediscover the apostolic, you’ll die!”

Now, I’m a little jumpy when the word “Apostolic” is used here … I love it’s Missional sense, faithfulness to the original call of Jesus sense, and of course the link with the best of “Apostolic” spirituality and history since the early church. But, the realist in me is also aware of the more “restorationist” view point when the word “Apostle” is used here in the side of the world. … and most of the people who claim to be “Apostolic” or wear the title “Apostles” aren’t people I’d be comfortable being “authentic” to, and “trust” their theological or missional leadership. I admit I’m reacting aganst the worst of evangelical-charismatic-pentecostal abuse. But, when it’s rightly and faithfully used within a “generous orthodoxy” (grin) and a missional agenda that’s not human centred as mentioned (i.e. preoccupation with structures, programs, etc) … I love the ring of that!

“The most revolutionary thing you can do is call people to pray. Pray for the emerging church and young pastors and the churches in the future that make you uncomfortable.”

Thanks Erwin, for knocking that nail on the right spot. I think this is a most needed call. In the midst of great conversations emerging, and converging … as well as mutual partnerships and friendships. This call may have been neglected (as long as prayer doesn’t become another programme again!).

“First, The sermons that are changing the world are the ones where the pastor is real–sharing his journey with the congregation. Second, stop preaching sermons and start telling stories. Third, Break though the pressure to be a great preacher and become a great leader.”

I like the “real–sharing his journey” bit. I must admit this may not be what some are looking for. The perceived security of “know all the answers” kind of sermons is still popular or at least seen as the right way to “semonize”. As for telling stories … many here tell lots of stories in the form of testimonies .. what’s amiss in some scenarios is when it becomes more of stories about us rather than the story of God working in us and in history. And on the third aspect, I too agree especially for younger pastors or may I say even older pastors? that being a great preacher is still seen as an ideal. For me, my weekly sermon/message preparation process is part of my own discipleship and leadership. And I believe in the process of being a great-good-servant-leader one needs to learn how to communicate God’s truth working in my personal journey as well as the corporate journey of the church. Maybe it’s more like blogging but in the pulpit?!

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