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adventure or die

I've been reading a book this week called, "Canoeing in the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory," by Tod Bolsinger. It is a fascinating look at the explorations of Lewis and Clark juxtaposed with a look at the church in America.

One of the things that's really been sticking with me as I'm sitting with the principles from this book is how we have to be honest with where we are if we are going to get to where we want to go. It's no surprise, that oftentimes churches continue to do things that they've always done, precisely because those things have worked in the past. The author notes that, "In the moment of crisis, you will not rise to the occasion; you will default to your training." People don't think rationally in moments of crisis, they rely on instinct, muscle memory, and what has been successful in the past. But this will further exacerbate a problem if the solutions you go with today, are simply solutions that worked for problems of the past.

When Lewis and Clark made their way west, all of their training told them that they would find gentle slopes of water, like those found on the east coast. In addition, they would be able to maneuver over the terrain by canoe. Imagine their surprise when they found the snow capped peaks of the enormous Rocky Mountains.

If they were going to be successful in their mission to reach the Pacific Ocean, they were going to have to ditch their canoes. They were going to have to adapt to a new terrain and learn from indigenous people living in the land, how best to navigate it.

Bolsinger contends that we must renew the spirit of adventure in the church if we are going to face the challenges of the 21st century in America. We have to be open to experimenting with how best to communicate the gospel to a hurting and broken world. It is going to take a team effort, unified with one mission. And I, for one, am glad that out of all the times when I could've been born, I was born in this century. With all of the challenges that present themselves, it is also a time of great opportunity.

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