Today, fearless readers, we are continuing along in our mini-series about what a few of our motivations are in launching Burning Bush Communities. However, before diving back into that conversation I do want to make you aware of one thing: there are many statistics we could cite to back up our claims in the previous post and in this post, yet we will not be citing these statistics. Frankly, as a society we are inundated by statistics and data that are taken out of context or not explained, and as good as statistics can look they rarely convince people who believe otherwise. So, you'll just have to trust us that there is evidence to back us up, or if you are truly desperate to get to the bottom of things you can always email us through the website and we'll take care of it!
And now we can move forward!
In our last post we shared that God gave us a heart for the people (our people!) of our generation, who are largely not connected in any significant way to mainstream (both traditional and contemporary) churches. I also made the comment that we had not always had a heart for our generation, and indeed it came as something of a surprise to us. Both Amy and I (John) served full-time in cross-cultural ministries for several years; Amy served with Youth With a Mission all over the world, and I served with Faithful Servant Missions in Costa Rica. Both of our journeys and faiths were significantly impacted by serving children, the poor and the forgotten in the corners of the world. As such, we felt that there were plenty of great people serving in the US and God could do more with us elsewhere.
Clearly, based on the last post, God changed our thinking! However, God did not change our desire to serve those who are not a priority in our society or world. As we spent time considering our work in the church in America and researching church realities we recognized a significant issue: a great many churches have programs that benefit marginalized and poor neighbors, but these neighbors rarely are the target audience of the church. The hard truth is that because churches use modern marketing techniques and strategies (no judgment intended here), and base their programming on those strategies, they tend to aim at the "median" sections of the population around them. In many parts of our country, and certainly in SWFL, that means they are aiming at bringing white, middle-class, cultural Christians into church. Again, this is not to pass judgment, but just a demographic reality. Furthermore, because churches have an eye on stable members for the future, they typically target stable families.
One of our core motivations in launching BBC is to create a ministry dedicated to serving and making disciples who are not around the "median" or on the "beaten path" culturally. The same motivation that sent across foreign borders is now sending us across domestic borders. Specifically, we want to go be with and love on the groups who are not on the radar of other local churches, but who are unseen or always slipping through the cracks. These people come in all shapes and sizes and colors and backgrounds, and they are people who God created for a purpose and who Christ gave His life for. Our prayer is that as God grows us we will see all kinds of crazy ministries birthed to love these neighbors and share the Kingdom with them... and that you, fearless reader, will stick around to enjoy the ride with us!