The margins of any movement are an exciting place to be. This is often where entrepreneurship and creativity thrive, and where people are wrestling with new questions in new contexts. The margins are the R&D department of the global Church.
Steve Addison, in his book Movements that Change the World, wrote:
“In the renewal and expansion of the church, the breakthroughs always occur on the fringe of ecclesiastical power-never at the centre. In every generation, in some obscure place, God is beginning something new. That’s where we need to be.”
Our global movement is blessed to have many such trailblazers in numerous pioneering spaces across the world. They are the newest frontiers, if you like, of Newfrontiers!
Listen to them.
As Father Joshtrom Kureethadam says, “hope comes from below!” Andy Crouch said it slightly differently; “If you really want to understand the future of Christianity, go and see what is happening in Asia, Africa, Latin America… that’s where the action is.”
Listening is an art.
- Position yourself to be challenged. Invite challenge. Many of us are so used to reading books or listening to sermons by people like us, reinforcing the narrative that we have come to love and trust, that we are not always good at listening to people say something that challenges our view of the world.
- Tune in past difficult accents or unfamiliar ways of structuring a talk, or a focus on issues that may not seem important to you.
- Employ empathy. Surely, if it matters to my sister, then it should matter to me! After all, we are one body.
- Trust family. These are Newfrontiers people through and through, from different apostolic spheres and in different nations, but part of one Church, and, more specifically, part of our part of the Church.
Listen to them.
Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through these brothers and sisters in Christ. Like a course of antibiotics, we recommend that you tune in to the whole course of eight talks. We believe that the cumulative effect on your view of the world will be significant.
I can’t articulate this need for listening better than Alison Phipps does.
“To have a platform from which to speak as a teacher and as an understander of things, often of difficult things, is no small thing. In my work I try to share this space with those who are equally alert to and able to hold an audience but, by dint of their own migrations, have found themselves in contexts where their voices have not been heard, their accents have been shunned, their creative, skilful retelling of experiences in stories dismissed, their skin seen as too dark to suit the oh-so-white platforms of established power, except perhaps as a token embellishment. In these spaces we work to interrupt my own confident, rehearsed and experienced voice with other destabilising tonalities.”
This summer, starting on Friday 10th July, we will drop one new talk per week here. We will hear from friends in Serbia, South Africa, Dubai, Armenia, Turkey and New Zealand, as well as the UK. They will speak on issues that are dear to them, issues of justice, mission, contextualisation, gender and race. The talks are about twenty minutes long.
Listen to them.
Watch the trailer here:
Andy McCullough is the author of Global Humility: Attitudes for Mission, and Teaching Pastor at Reading Family Church, UK.