?> who will speak into their narrative? | almost an M

who will speak into their narrative?


They have their own narrative. Regardless of which narrative they’re in…Hybels, Warren, Piper, Bell, Driscoll, Hirsch, Frost…they’re all being shaped by someone.  Over the years I’ve noticed that there are very few if any missionaries speaking into their narratives.  In the past this was largely impossible because those of us living overseas rarely spend time in the US.  Conferences would he held, events attended and we were never to be seen.  But all of this has changed….sort of.

Over the last few years more and more of us living overseas have started blogging….and a new tribe has been born.  In many ways we’ve started our own narrative.  Most of the overseas bloggers are more forward thinking and missional in practice.  The great thing has been our ability to connect with each other.  I for one usually feel like a misfit in my organization due to my relational/missional approach to life and ministry but among this tribe I feel at home….I experience community in this new tribe.  I’ve not only learned alot from reading the blogs but also received alot of encouragement. But could we do more…could we build our tribe and influence the US narrative at the same time?

Some would say it’s not our role to influence the US church.  They would argue that it’s the job of the seminaries, the conferences, denominational leadership.  I would say this argument is flawed because it reduces mission to a theory…one not being practiced by those teaching about mission.  So if we believe that the US church being on mission is necessary for our work…and if we believe that what we do on a daily basis can actually help the US church engage their world better as well….then it’s up to us to not only engage our local narratives with the gospel…but it’s also up to us to engage the US narrative with missional living.

We’re writing our blogs…but are they reading them.? We’re reading our blogs….but are we reading theirs?  Are our blogs too focused on missions….too branded for them to see the connection?  How else can we help shape the narrative?  We can’t complain that we’re left out of the conversation if we’re not actively trying to participate in theirs. On the field we leave our comfort zones, learn the language and enter into their 3rd places in order to have a voice and exercise influence.  The same goes for the US pastoral narrative….we need to leave our comfort zones, learn their language and enter their 3rd places …only then will we have a voice and will be able to influence.  So the big question is…how do speak into their narrative?

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Categories : leadership, missiology


  1. Kevin Tuttle says:

    Well said!

    After reading this post a slight variation on a popular song of the 80’s comes to mind…(and no it’s not a Christian song)
    “Shot through the heart…and we’re to blame…we give Love a bad name”. I pray that this isn’t true…but the mirror says it is. It’s time to become intentional where we are in this “post-Christian” America that we live in.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kyle Goen says:

    Good post.

    I think the tone and volume of any argument is almost as important as the content of the argument.

    Good stuff to think about here. I look forward to hearing and learning from you and others on how this is fleshed out. Thanks for writing on this topic.

  3. Kyle Goen says:

    Sorry, I really didn’t address the “who” but more along the lines of “how.”

  4. rastis says:

    “I for one usually feel like a misfit in my organization due to my relational/missional approach to life and ministry but among this tribe I feel at home….”
    That really resonates with me. I have the same feeling.

    I think part of the problem for people who are good at contextualization, cross cultural work, etc, is that we fail to use the same tools to talk to people who are not as far out as we are. We use contextualization to bridge linguistic and cultural gaps between the kingdom and our host cultures but not between our methods and our home culture. I think this is particularly true for those who work in Muslim and postmodern contexts since both of these are typically viewed as both spiritual and political enemies of the evangelical south.

  5. Kim Tacheny says:

    Great Post! Going to ponder this and think a bit. Thanks for getting the thought process going. I agree your right, but how do we do it? hmmmmmmmm….

  6. almost says:

    Grady – Thanks so much for posting this. Good stuff. And yes, I agree. While I have typed out and deleted so many sentences / paragraphs on this comment already, I will just state that the mission guys need to keep writing their blogs and in time look at publishing. Over time the tribe is and will grow.

    Thanks all for commenting. As we lend our “voices” to the conversation, others will take notice. It is good for us to converse on these things. And Rastis – I can empathize.

  7. Grady Bauer says:

    Good comments from everyone. Rastis, your second paragraph said it well. Not only do we struggle with connecting but THEY struggle with hearing and understanding because for so many in the South both the message AND the method are sacred. I think if we were promoting attractional, church in a box methodologies in Europe than we would find an easier time finding an audience.

    And I agree with AlmostM….the more we keep talking, interacting….and proving that this works we will eventually find a voice among the US church narratives.

  8. Renee Sims says:

    I’m in the USA, missional and reading your post! Thanks for your words. Blessings. Keep writing .

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