Chapter 4: God’s Story as the Context for Our Participation in God’s Mission

Chapter four opens up by exploring the concept of revelation. General Revelation and Specific Revelation areboth here, and Chris takes a brief amount of time to differentiate between the two and to share how it is important to view revelation as an integral part of understanding who God is. He also makes the point that while God does reveal Himself to us in different ways, there is no Revelation more important than what we find in Scripture.

From there, Chris goes on to talk about the idea that what we present is competing in our students’ minds for a foothold. He calls this competition Conceptual Noise, and shares that there is a limit to how much teens (and adults) can take in and truly work out, so we need to be careful and concise in what we present our students with. We need to present them with a way through the noise rather than add to it (which I am sure a lot of us are guilty of doing).

The rest of the chapter is Chris’ exploration of the one thing he desires to teach students that would allow them to remain in the faith when life gets chaotic. The Kingdom of God as outlined and comprised by three parts: The Missio Dei (the mission of God), The Imago Dei (the image of God) and The Opus Dei (the work of God). Each one of these things works hand in hand with the others, and I find it to be a very simple and understandable (read: teachable) proposal. When we boil it all down, what is Christianity outside of understanding who God is and partnering with Him wherever and however He may be working? Would we be wise to follow someone we do not know, or should we seek to understand who they are and what they are all about? Chris breaks down all three parts beautifully and explains the finer points of all three, though he may be splitting hairs by speaking about conversion and transformation being totally separate items (there are slight differences, but we are in a chapter that is discussing simplicity and directness to help students wade through the Conceptual Noise).

Some quotes that stuck with me after I was done reading:

  • The bottom line is that God has revealed Himself to us through a variety of forms, but none is more important than God’s narrative – the Bible. (page 66)
  • This means that students’ minds (and ultimately their hearts) are filled with a wide range of competing thoughts and ideas; and therefore, they sometimes lack the necessary clarity to sort out God as He’s understood through the Bible. (page 67)
  • The mission of God is a take-all-or-nothing kind of mission. (page 72)
  • Change just happens; it’s inevitable. Transformation is what we hope for, what we pray for, and what we expect the Holy Spirit will do in the lives of our students and in the life of our community. (pages 76-77)