At Least One Thing I Learned At The World Domination Summit

My job title is Director of SojournBoston.

Other ways of describing what I do:
campus minister,
college pastor,
leadership developer,
counselor, etc.

I love college students and working within the world of the campus and learning and education. I am also passionate about neighborhoods and development and being a kingdom presence in the places we live.

But, if there’s a thing behind the thing for me, one thing that ultimately lights me up more than others it’s integration. It’s helping people develop the eyes to see and the ears to hear where God is at work.

And, he is at work all over the place. I see him at work in John Greene’s novel, The Fault in Our Stars, and in the music of Taylor Swift, and in the TV show Friday Night Lights.

And I see him at work in the student who gives up their summer to serve inner city kids…the student who gives up a prestigious internship to work with us instead…in the generosity of others…in friendship…in carrot cake.

I could go on and on. God is at work in all sorts of ways, all over this big world.

I found God at work this weekend at the World Domination Summit.

There were aspects of the conference that felt hollow…lots of people desperately searching for something transcendent. Lots of people trying really hard to “make a name for themselves.” Lots of people just trying to figure it out.

In other words, people.

Two observations.

First, they were honest about the search.
I meet a lot of people, especially in the church, who have a hard time being honest about who they are and the struggle to find meaning, even in the midst of a christian worldview. I deeply appreciated the honesty I encountered this weekend.

Second, in our increasingly post-christian world there are interesting spaces to preach the gospel.
My favorite scene in the book of Acts occurs across chapters 13 and 14. In chapter 13 Paul speaks to a Jewish audience and does the classic theological, historical telling of the story. He uses the name of Jesus, and he shows how Jesus is the answer to the messiah question the Jews had been asking for years.

Acts 13:32-33: ““We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.”

The good news: Jesus, resurrection.

In chapter 14, Paul is in Lystra and Derbe and people think he is a God (Zeus), and as he attempts to correct them Paul takes the opportunity to share the gospel (good news) with them.

Acts 14:15-17 “We are bringing you good news,telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

The good news: there is a living God, he made everything, he has shown you kindness.

No mention of Jesus, no mention of resurrection. Both statements, according to Luke, are good news.

Paul understands integration, and his mission is to help people see…to see good news whatever their perspective, background, theology, politics, etc…there is good news in the world and it has to do with what this living God is up to.

All weekend long I heard speakers talk about doing great things and helping the world and living a great life. One speaker, apologetically, used Jesus as an example of great orator. Another, one of the foremost bloggers in the world, talked about his church background. Another, slyly mentioned that CS Lewis was his favorite author. And on and on it went all weekend, these subversive moments of pointing to good news.

The weekend closed with Donald Miller. I’m a huge fanboy and I was looking forward to this moment, but I was interested to see how he would be received.

After a weekend of “go do something great,” Don spent most of his time talking about finding a redemptive perspective on failure and suffering.

Don realized he was not in the synagogue, he was in Lystra. And he nailed the opportunity. People who took every opportunity to boo Fox News and anything remotely smelling of a conventional, organized, religious perspective gave Don the loudest, longest ovation of the weekend. People had tears in their eyes.

There is a tremendous space in our culture to share good news with people. To point out this living God who is at work all around us, taking care of us, and bringing us joy.

However, I think it looks more like Acts 14, than Acts 13.

I think the church has a lot to learn from a gathering like the World Domination Summit, and I know we need more people like Donald Miller.

I’m sure he would never call himself a missionary, but Don is a missionary, doing missional work, pointing out this living God, and it was beautiful to watch the impact that had on people.

Whatever my title, whatever my role, this is what I do best and what I get to do all the time in my work with students, and I love it, and it was inspiring to see someone do it so well as Don did last night.

Where do you see this living God at work? And, how can you help others see and experience good news?

SojournBU Being Awesome

As college students recover and discover the good news of Jesus we hope that they begin to shape their whole lives in response. This looks like everything from inviting friends to events, to stepping into roles of servanthood and leadership, to investing in neighborhoods and causes that help increase shalom in the world.

One of our students at BU, Stefi, has been responding to good news in this very way this semester. I had the opportunity to brag on her a bit in my last teaching at REUNION. The short story is that she read the book Half the Sky (also hugely influential on Amy and her decision to practice to women’s health physical therapy), and wanted to get more involved in efforts to combat the trafficking of women (especially for sexual exploitation). She has become an ambassador for Amirah Boston (you can also hear more about this in my REUNION teaching).

Stefi invited the BU crew to Amirah’s celebration dinner and it was a privilege to be included in this night of hearing stories of how God is at work bringing rescue and restoration to women through Amirah’s work (and the work of volunteers like Stefi). Good stuff!