As a child, we were taught that the church was the building. While we intellectually understand that the church is the people, a congregation often makes decisions that lead us to believe that perhaps this is not the case. As we evert the church model for the postmodern, post-Christian world, we need to evert-turn inside out-many of our thoughts and beliefs about how we go about “doing” church. This is NOT about changing our beliefs but about changing how we engage in ministry.
There is urgent kingdom work that needs to be done. The postmodern, post-Christian world is suffering. People are more connected digitally than any prior generation but find themselves lonelier than ever before. Our neighbors seek hope, meaning, and a sense of community and belonging. Mental health is in crisis with staggering levels of depression and anxiety. While our neighbors struggle and need help, so many churches are ill-equipped for this work-the kind of work the church should be the very best at providing. After all, we have the Good News. Sadly, though, our methods of sharing this Good News and reaching others outside our congregations are no longer relevant, so it is as though the church is mute and the community culture is deaf or vice versa.
In Inside Out, authors Kay Kotan and Michael Scott unpacks resources for the ever-emerging church in the American culture. If the church is to be relevant, compelling, and faithful in its commission to reach new people, we must embrace these trends and plot a new course to navigate them in our local contexts. The need for this navigation and course correction is critical, and the timing is urgent. We have no time to waste. The church has remained hesitant for too long as culture has charged forward by leaps and bounds. There is no more waiting. The time is now. The mission is too important to delay any longer.