David Fuller's blog

Commitment in a Noncommittal World

I’m continuing my series of posts looking at InFaith’s Ministry Essentials . A couple weeks ago I talked about relevance ; before that, community . Today I want to talk about commitment. We are a group of Christ-followers who intentionally live out what it means to be the family of God, submitting to each other, willingly accountable, and genuinely caring for those who are called to our common work. At the root of any relationship is commitment. Commitment defines a relationship. My commitment to the stranger in the Volvo that cut me off on my way to work this morning is pretty low. That’s why I just ignored him. Or I sped past him the next chance I got; I don’t remember. But my commitment to the members of my church is much higher. I stood before them and said that I wanted to join them on this crazy walk after Jesus. So I’m going to stick with these people. I want to know them; I want them to know me. I take time to listen. I go out of my way to help. One of the reasons we struggle to find happiness in our relationships is because we enter into them with low levels of commitment. We live in a noncommittal world. We updgrade whenever we get the chance. We take a job even while planning our next departure. We move around from place to place, sometimes on a whim. I’m guilty myself. I’m not really committed to my neighborhood and I don’t know my neighbors, either. It wouldn’t take much to see me move out of the community or the area. In contrast, I’m very committed to the intentional community I live with. There are nine of us...

Story, Mission, & the God Who Makes All Things New

I just got back from a really great time at Multnomah University’s Global Ministries Conference . This was a three-day mission conference for the 500 or so students at Multnomah. The theme of this year’s conference was Story. The whole conference had this really nice artsy feel to it. Almost as if to say, “Artists, we see you and love you. We think you’re an integral part of the church and God’s mission.” Actually, one of my favorite quotes from the conference was from Micah Bournes who said, “Artists should be the primary evangelists and missionaries of the church.” (You can follow him on Twitter @micahbournes .) The combination of creativity and story came together in a really beautiful way for me. Though I was there to tell people InFaith’s story and encourage students in their individual stories, I found myself coming back again and again to my own story. I found myself in this weird spot of feeling well-placed and happy with where I am and yet uneasy and frustrated with my dreams undone. I look back on my story so far and I see an incredible journey. My story can be weaved seamlessly up to this point. As I look back, so many things make sense, so many things come together in a beautiful way. My background, my experiences, my education, even my personality and my quirks all seem to come together to this really great space where I find myself. I am so blessed. Yet I also look back on my story so far and see frustration, anger, and fear. My story is broken and disjointed. As I look back, so many things bring such shame and pain. Missed opportunities, failed attempts, repeated offenses,...

The Relevant Generation

What is it about our generation that makes us so consumed with relevance? We grow up rolling our eyes at our parents because they are so out of touch. In college we relentlessly chase after making sense of our experience in light of others’ (or at least some of us do…). We even have our own magazine – RELEVANT ! I would be ignorant, of course, to claim my generation to be first to roll their eyes at their parents or to seek to make sense of our experience, or even have a magazine. I can image many a Babylonian boy and medieval maiden frustrated that their parents, “just don’t get it.” But I do wonder if there is something within the collective conscience of the millennial generation that especially yearns for relevance. Perhaps it is the radical changes that have taken place within our lifetimes. We are the generation of instant communication with anyone in the world. We carry around in our pockets the power to look up any information in the flash of an eye (for some reason we choose to use that incredible power on cat videos, but that’s something for another post…). We have travelled more than our parents, seen more diversity in our schools and our media. We live in a more pluralistic, relative, postmodern culture than ever before. And we are connected to all that difference more than ever. There’s nothing like being exposed to radical difference that makes one ask “what’s the point?” That sort of existential and epistemological angst is, I think, common among my “Relevant” generation. This is why relevance is so important to us. As I described in my post last week about community , one of the things that first attracted me...

Catalyst for Community

“We are a people who value the church. We seek to bring people together for worship, community, teaching, learning, and ministry.” This is the first of InFaith’s Ministry Essentials that stood out to me. Catalyst for Community. Prior to finding the job announcement for InFaith’s Expansion Coach, I had never heard about InFaith. This was partly because they had changed their name just three years before, but I had never heard of American Missionary Fellowship either… But regardless of all that, one of the things that attracted me to the organization were the ministry essentials. In fact, seeing them was an important reason why I applied. In this series of blog posts, I’m going to share why I think these ministry essentials are so important and how they drew me to InFaith. Catalyst for Community Community is a tough word. It is riddled with ambiguity. It is a deep desire that we want to see in our churches, with our neighbors, among our friends, and in our lives, yet we struggle to experience it. When we find ourselves in the midst of community, we sometimes get sick of it and just want to be alone or retreat back to some safe place where it doesn’t exist. The word has come into renewed focus both inside and outside the church. In the context of a secular, media-saturated, “me” culture that idolizes unfettered individual expression and personal freedom as the ultimate experience of reality, we are beginning to realize that there is more to life than me. We realize it’s true that “no man is an island.” No woman, either. In the halls of many seminaries and Bible schools it’s conventional faire to emphasize that God’s very self is community (though like many things,...

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