Thursday, April 29, 2010

Theology vs. Mission

I really enjoy the youth Bible Study that has been meeting this year on Wednesday nights. Recently we have gathered at Smokey Row, a locally owned coffee shop and soda fountain near downtown Des Moines. There is a church building across the street with beautiful stained glass windows that was abandoned in 2004. Recently, a religious group purchased the decaying building to fix it up and "do church" there. For the first time last night, we noticed lights on inside the church and people walking in and out. After about five minutes of speculating, we decided to go over and see what was happening.

The people at the church were very friendly. We were invited inside for a tour. The church folk had just concluded a worship service which had involved over 50 kids from the neighborhood (mostly Sudanese refugees). One of the people, Erin, spoke about the church's passion for missions, indicating that "If money weren't an issue, all of us would be overseas doing mission work." The old sanctuary space is now used as a warehouse for donations that are being sent to Haiti. Erin said they had sent 40 pallets of water, clothing, and computer equipment last month and are preparing for a similar shipment next week.

After a tour of the church and a delightful conversation with several of the people there, it was time to go. Our young people were very excited by this church's passion for local and global outreach. They also soon became aware that this church's theology was very different from ours. As we departed, I asked the young people to spend time thinking about this question:

Would you rather be at a church that is theologically rancid but does amazing mission work...or, would you prefer to be at a church that is theologically solid but apathetic about missions?

I pose this question to the people of koinonia as well. What do you think and why?

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